Eleven of the best wheelchair basketball club teams in Canada will be in Charlottetown this weekend competing for a national title.
The Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre at UPEI will host the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League National Championships Friday to Sunday, featuring athletes with and without disabilities, including top Paralympians and Team Canada hopefuls competing alongside elite able-bodies athletes.
Participating teams will be divided into two divisions and will play in a round-robin format, followed by semifinals and medal games. The host P.E.I. Mustangs will be vying for the tier 2 division title.
“We are excited and ready to go,” said Adam Loo, of the P.E.I. squad. “We are looking forward to showcasing not just our own skills, but to show the people on P.E.I. that wheelchair basketball is a fast, action-packed sport that will keep spectators entertained from the first whistle to the last.”
The province last hosted the event in 2012, and the national body is delighted to be coming back to P.E.I.
“We are proud once again to work with ParaSport and Recreation P.E.I. and their partners to bring a national event of this calibre back to P.E.I. and welcome the people of Charlottetown to experience the absolute thrill of wheelchair basketball,” said Wheelchair Basketball Canada executive director Wendy Gittens.
“With the top club players in Canada on hand, we look forward to an exceptional weekend of highly competitive and inclusive basketball.”
Action will begin on Friday morning, with the Mustangs in action at 11 a.m., and again at 3 and 7 p.m. Medal and placing games will be played on Sunday, with the tier one gold medal game getting underway at noon.
As a part of the festivities, members of the Canadian wheelchair basketball community will be honoured at the Wheelchair Basketball Canada annual awards and Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday night.
Event passes, schedule and ticket information is available by contacting Parasport and Recreation PEI at 902-368-4540 or by visiting www.parasportpei.ca.
Chris Aalders (transfer player from New Brunswick)
• Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting sport played with the same rules and court dimensions as stand-up or able-bodied basketball.
• Players must remain seated in their chairs at all times. The chair is considered to be part of the player’s body.
• A player may move the ball down the court by dribbling or placing the ball in their lap for no more than two pushes, before dribbling, passing or shooting the ball.
• Play continues if a player falls from the chair, unless the referee feels there is a risk of injury.
• Able-bodied and players with physical disabilities play side by side, according to a classification scale of functioning ability, ranging from 1 to 4.5 points. No team can exceed 14 classification points on the floor at any one time.