June 23, 2016
Top Wheelchair Rugby Teams Meet in Canada Cup
Photo: USA Wheelchair Rugby
Information for this article was selected from the Paralympics, International Wheelchair Rugby Federation and the International Wheelchair Rugby Canada Cup 2016.
The Canada Cup 2016 will be the last tournament prior to September’s Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The tournament will feature the world’s top six ranked nations, along with European wildcard. It begins today, June 23 and ends Sunday June 26 at Richmond Olympic Oval, British Colombia, Canada.
Canada, USA, Japan, Australia, Great Britain, Sweden, and Switzerland ill meet in this tournament. Instead of the usual playoff format, all teams will play each other in a round robin. The tournament will culminate with a marquee game between wheelchair rugby’s biggest rivals: Canada and the USA.
Canada Cup Tournament Chair Gail Hamamoto said “In this new format, no one can hide. Everyone has to play every other team. “The results will impact world rankings, so there’s a lot on the line. We can expect to see some amazing wheelchair rugby.
James Gumbert, USA Head Coach said about the round robin format that “I think it is fabulous. The more games that we can get for our youngsters really plays to our benefit because it allows us the opportunity to get good looks at them before we select this team. Also, you can’t recreate court time. For us to get the young guys out there in the mix early and going against competition in a meaningful tournament means that the lights are on and we want to see what they can do.”
Gumbert continued saying that “It’s an excellent opportunity for us to be able to see the top six that will be in Rio. We are looking at a situation where they have just drawn the pools, and for us to be able to get glimpses of those not just in our pool, but potential crossovers, is valuable to us.”
Team International Wheelchair Rugby Federation rankings:
• Canada – #1
• USA #2
• Japan #3
• Australia #4
• Great Britain #5
• Sweden #6
• Switzerland #14
The host nation and world No. 1 will have the home court advantage. The Canadians were runners-up to Australia the last time out and will be looking to win the tournament for the first time. Canada has managed to maintain the bulk of their squad from 2014, which has allowed them to develop and push their game to the next level.
Paralympic medals: Silver (1996, 2004, 2012); bronze (2008)
Head coach: Kevin Orr
Team: Zak Madell, Byron Green, Trevor Hirschfield, Patrice Dagenais, Miranda Biletski, Patrice Simard, Cody Caldwell, David Willsie, Travis Murao, Ian Chan, Fabien Lavoie, Mike Whitehead
Australia are going into this year’s Canada Cup much lower ranked at No. 4 compared to the No.1 ranking they held in 2014, the year they won the Cup. The defending champions should not be written off and have a talented and experienced squad at their disposal to go back-to-back and take some good form into Rio.
Paralympic medals: Gold (2012); silver (2008, 2000)
Head coach: Brad Dubberley
Team: Ryley Batt, Chris Bond, Cameron Carr, Andrew Edmondson, Nazim Erdem, Ben Fawcett, Andrew Harrison, Josh Hose, Jason Lees, Matt Lewis, Ryan Scott, Jayden Warn
Great Britain have arguably been one of the biggest improvers in wheelchair rugby in recent years. The team has continued to develop their young talent around a number of veterans to find the perfect balance of youth and experience. Great Britain narrowly missed the medals at the 2014 Canada Cup, but have had a very solid two years on the tournament front and might cause an upset against a higher-ranked nation.
Paralympic medals: None
Head coach: Paul Shaw
Team: Alan Ash, Coral Batey, Ayaz Bhuta, Jonathan Coggan, Ryan Cowling, Bulbul Hussain, Michael Kerr, James Roberts, Christopher Ryan, Mandip Sehmi, Jamie Stead, Gavin Walker
Japan continue to fly under the radar in the wheelchair rugby world, but usually seem to find themselves at the business end of most major tournaments. This year’s Canada Cup should be no exception, with a few changes to their squad over the past two seasons adding more depth to their balanced line-up.
Paralympic medals: None
Head coach: Koichi Ogino
Team: Masayuki Haga, Yukinobu Ike, Daisuke Ikezaki, Tomoaki Imai, Kazuhiko Kanno, Kotaro Kishi, Shin Nakazato, Seiya Norimatsu, Shinichi Shimakawa, Takeshi Shoji, Hidefumi Wakayama, Takahisa Yamaguchi.
Europe’s No. 2 ranked team will be tough competition for the rest of the Canada Cup field in 2016. The team has continued to build since London 2012 and has a lot more experience in big matches than they did in 2014. Sweden will look to get plenty of court time into their improving squad throughout the Canada Cup.
Paralympic medals: None
Head coach: Benoit Labrecque
Team: Glenn Adaszak, Claes Bertilsson, Andreas Collin, Thomas Eriksson, Tomas Hjert, Stefan Jansson, Roger Lindberg, Mikael Norlin, Loa Rissmar, Tobias Sandberg, Lars Vernerud
The Swiss side will start the event as underdogs but will relish the opportunity to play against the world’s top-ranked nations. After finishing seventh at the 2014 Canada Cup, Switzerland will be aiming to improve with each game they play and continue to develop their wheelchair rugby programme for future years.
Switzerland will have to wait until day two of the tournament to get on the court, where they will face Sweden.
Paralympic medals: None
Assistant coach: Christian Haerdi
Team: Andreas Braendli, Christian Haehnel, Silvania Hegglin, Adrian Moser, David Mzee, Anton Schillig.
After missing the tournament in 2014, USA will be eager to bounce back and play at the level that saw them win the Canada Cup in 2012. The world’s No. 2 ranked side will need to be at their best to qualify for the semi-finals and have a shot at the title. A number of new faces make up the USA squad so it will be interesting to see how they perform.
Paralympic medals: Gold (1996, 2000, 2008); bronze (2004, 2012)
Head coach: James Gumbert
Team: Chuck Aoki, Joshua Brewer, Jeffrey Butler, Chad Cohn, Lee Fredette, Seth McBride, Anthony McDaniel, Charles Melton, Eric Newby, Kory Puderbaugh, Jason Regier, Joshua Wheeler
Game Schedule: Click here for schedule and results. Match times are Pacific Time.
June 23 Thursday
- Game 1: 5pm USA 50-48 Great Britain
- Game 2: 7pm Canada 54-44 Sweden
- Game 3: 9pm Australia 63-58 Japan
June 24 Friday
- Game 4: 10am USA 60-56 Australia
- Game 5: Noon Switzerland 38-53 Sweden
- Game 6: Noon Canada 47-44 Great Britain
- Game 7: 2:30pm USA 58-53 Japan
- Game 8: 5pm Great Britain 48-47 Sweden
- Game 9: 7pm Canada 55-57 Japan
- Game 10: 7pm Australia 61-42 Switzerland
June 25 Saturday
- Game 11: 10am USA 60-37 Switzerland
- Game 12: Noon Australia 53-47 Great Britain
- Game 13: Noon Japan 58-49 Sweden
- Game 14: 2:30pm Canada 58-34 Switzerland
- Game 15: 5pm Great Britain 43-49 Japan
- Game 16: 7pm Canada 43-54 Australia
- Game 17: 7pm USA 56-46 Sweden
June 26 Sunday
- Game 18: 9am Australia 63-60 Sweden
- Game 19: 9am Great Britain 51-28 Switzerland
- Game 20: 12:30pm Switzerland 34-56 Japan
- Game 21: 2:30pm Canada 53-56 USA
Tickets: Click here.