ONPARA Announces 2020 Junior Provincial Wheelchair Basketball Team

Junior provincial team selected for the 2019-2020 season championship

The Ontario Para Network (ONPARA) is proud to formally announce the team selected to represent Ontario at the 2020 Junior East Regional Championship in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Following a series of selection and training camps that look place between September 2019 – January 2020, ten of Ontario’s top junior-age athletes were chosen to represent the province. The team will be led by experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated coaches which include Head Coach Kathy Ludwig and Assistant Coaches Josh Davies and Andrea Foessel. Ludwig and Davies were both part of coaching staff for the 2019 Canada Games team that brought home a silver medal, while Foessel is a former Team Ontario Junior athlete and a new and very promising addition to the program.

The athletes named to Team Ontario are as follows:

Team Ontario

Adam Calovini (Brampton)
Laura Calovini (Brampton)
Himmat Dhillon (Brampton)
Vanessa Giancaterini (Woodbridge)
Kai Halawa (Ottawa)
Catherine Nelson (Aurora)
Desmond O’Shaughnessy (Kanata)
Grace Plumb (Brampton)
Travis Topping (Vienna)
Sana Worley (Brampton)

Alternates – Victoria Ross (Cambridge), Alexander Ross (Cambridge)

A young girl athlete smiles and claps her hands during a wheelchair basketball game
Vanessa Giancaterini
Credit: Tony Hansen

Team Ontario sees only one returning player from the 2019 Team Ontario squad in Vanessa Giancaterini. The majority of the athletes from the previous Junior cycle aged out of the program following the 2019 Canada Winter Games. She will be relied on for her leadership and guidance with this new team of young and promising athletes.

Recently, the Team Ontario Juniors had the opportunity to come together and prepare for the Junior East Championship by competing in the 2020 Ontario Winter Games in Orillia. The event was used as a preparatory tournament and featured all ten Team Ontario athletes in addition to ten other young athletes who were either part of the Team Ontario talent pool for the 2019-2020 season or who compete with their club teams in the Great Lakes Conference – the Ontario provincial wheelchair basketball league. The goal of the event was to best prepare the athletes by simulating the competitive environment and intensity expected in New Brunswick.

A young boy in a wheelchair prepares to shoot a basketball while two athletes, a boy and a girl, raise their hands to defend the shot
2020 Ontario Winter Games

The 2020 Junior East Regional Championship is the first national-level competition for the Junior athletes in the four-year cycle leading up to the 2023 Canada Winter Games. Participating provinces include Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia, and hosts New Brunswick. The tournament, overseen by Wheelchair Basketball Canada, will be played in a 3-on-3 format to further promote athlete development and participation. The event will be held from March 14-15 at the Richard J. Currie Center at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Admission is free for spectators and a live stream of the games will be available courtesy of Parasport NB. Further details will be published at a later date. The Junior East tournament schedule and results can be found on the Wheelchair Basketball Canada website.

About the Ontario Junior Provincial Wheelchair Basketball Program
The Ontario Junior Provincial Wheelchair Basketball Program provides high performance training & competition opportunities for the province’s Junior-age athletes. The program operates on a four-year competition cycle leading up to the Canada Winter Games in the final year of the quadrennial. Wheelchair basketball provincial teams in Canada are open to athletes of all genders, with and without physical disabilities, making the sport one the most inclusive in the country. “Junior-age” wheelchair basketball players for the 2023 Canada Games cycle must be born in or after 1999 (24 years or younger the year of Canada Games).

About the Ontario Para Network

Formerly known as the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association, our mission at the Ontario Para Network (ONPARA) is to grow adaptive sport opportunities across Ontario. As the governing body for wheelchair sports in the province, we strive to offer opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in wheelchair athletics, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis at recreational, competitive and high performance levels.