As you have probably guessed, we’ll have some Canadian teams too. With only a few days left before we start seeing some awesome wheelchair rugby, I’ve been handed a number of Canadian roster changes and even a trade! Below is the list of substitutions.
-Removed Zak “Canada’s Posterboy for Wheelchair Rugby” Madell.
– Removed Rob Macissac
– Removed Ken Hicks
– Removed Allan Chartrand
– Added Travis Murao
Ontario (Split into two teams last week)
Burlington Fighting Squirrels
– Removed Jason Crone
– Removed Joe Boudreau
– Picked up Ian Crowe from Burlington for conditional future considerations
(If London goes the distance, Dave Willsie needs to give Cody Caldwell his charizard.)
The Alberta Roughnecks will likely be playing a longer bench without Zak Madell. He’s not only a scoring threat for the Roughnecks, but he chews up a lot of minutes, often playing entire games. Keep an eye on relative newcomer Branden Troutman. He’s a 3.5 who, like Zak Madell, has a background in wheelchair basketball and often cites him as an influence.
Team BC has a long, long roster, and it’ll be interesting to see how they manage their lineup in front of the hometown crowd. The newest player to crack the squad is young Joel Ewert. He (also) has a wheelchair basketball background and has been playing wheelchair sports since he was 5 years old, often training in his hometown Prince George with Canada Winter Games teammate Avril Harris. Team BC also boasts 3 national team members in Travis Murao, Trevor Hirschfield, and “Mean Mean” Byron Green. Trevor Hirschfield missed last year’s Vancouver Invitational due to injury; and his absence sorely felt. He’s one of the strongest defensive players in the game, and outperforms his class when throwing and receiving. Who knows. We may even get another Trev and Trav Wheelchair Rugby Talk out of the tournament. It’s been too long.
The recently named Burlington Fighting Squirrels need a logo, because who doesn’t want a shirt with a fighting squirrel?
The Squirrels also have 3 national team veterans, including Mike Whitehead. Don’t sell him short on speed, but he can use his large frame to trouble would-be passers. He also hits notoriously hard, and is a common cause of trouble for opposing teams. The only weak point on this lineup; with only five players, they’ll be stacking up a lot of minutes over the course of the 3-day tournament.
The Annihalators may not score as highly on my list of wanted t-shirts, but that’s a terrible metric for this team anyhow. Veterans like Dave Willsie and Garrett Hickling have been playing well before the Murderball days, and they’ve got Olympic-hopeful Kristen Cameron along with them. She’s one of a handful of female players in the game, and she’s been working her tail off to find a way onto the deep Canadian roster for the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Look for a strong showing here – she’s turning as many heads as she can with only a few months to spare.
Last, but definitely not least, we have the Québec team. When you have Fabien Lavoie, Patrice Simard, and Yanick Racicot on your team, you’re in good hands. With Fabien being the only high-pointer (3.0) on the team, expect him to play entire games.
Looking forward to seeing you all there! Two days! Eek!