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29 July 2014

Team Canada arrives in Denmark ahead of World Championship

By Laura Hale at www.para-sportnews.com


Last night, the Canada national wheelchair rugby team arrived in Denmark ahead of the IWRF World Championships, which get under way on August 4. While in the airport, the team saw and had the opportunity to meet fellow Canadian Pamela Anderson who coincidentally happened to be there.


The team in Denmark includes Travis Murao, Zak Madell, David Willsie, Byron Green, Ian Chan, Trevor Hirschfield, Garett Hickling, Michael Whitehead, Patrice Dagenais, Miranda Biletski, Fabien Lavoie and Patrice Simard.


Canada comes into the competition ranked third in the world, behind the United States and Australia.  They come off a recent second place finish at the Canada Cup played in June.  They lost in the gold medal match to Australia.  Three players were named to the all star team in the competition, including   Trevor Hirschfield as the best 1.0 player, Travis Murao as the best 2.0 player, and Zak Madell as the best 3.5 point player.


The Canadian squad should feel some degree of pressure to perform well at the competition, because the sport was invented in the country in 1977 as an alternative to wheelchair basketball.  The team played the sport’s first international, when they played against the United States in 1981.  The country has been one of the leaders in international development of the sport, and have been one of the best teams since then.


They won the second edition of world championships in 1995, won a silver medal at the 1996 Summer Paralympics, won a bronze at the 1998 world championships held in Canada, won the 2002 edition of the Swedish hosted world championships, won a silver at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, finished third at the 2006 world championships in New Zealand, won a bronze in Beijing at  2008 Summer Paralympics, and took home a silver at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London.


Canada opens their world championship run against Denmark, currently ranked sixth in the world, on August 5.  Their second game is against Finland, ranked eleventh, on August 6.  They play Great Britain on August 7.   Their final game in group play is against world number two, Australia.