Ontario Club Teams Head to 2019 CWBL National Championship

Team Ontario well represented at National Championship

ONPARA is wishing good luck to its two Ontario wheelchair basketball club teams competing this weekend at the 2019 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) National Championship. The event takes place every spring as competitive club teams from across Canada compete for the title of national champion. This year’s tournament is being hosted by ParaSport and Recreation PEI in partnership with national governing body Wheelchair Basketball Canada.
Variety Village Rolling Rebels veteran Jesse McNalley

The Variety Village Rolling Rebels will be competing in Tier 1 against 5 other club teams from various provinces including the BC Royals, Alberta Northern Lights, Saskatchewan, Centre d’intégration à la vie active (CIVA), and defending champions Gladiateurs de Laval. The Rebels will look to improve on their most recent 4th place finish in 2017. Leading the charge will be long-time veteran Jesse McNalley, who was named to the tournament All-Star team in 2017. He will be aided by a squad of versatile and talented athletes including but not limited to Senior Men’s National Team newcomer Lee Melymick, National Academy program athlete Darek Symonowicz, fresh off his NWBA DII Championship win with the Toronto Rollin’ Raptors, Team Ontario athletes Adel Akhmed and Sara Black, as well as long-distance teammate Jason Naval, who spent the 2018-2019 season playing for Club Sportif Meaux Handibasket in Meaux, France.

Rebels Roster:

Adel Akhmed (1.0)
Jamoi Anderson (4.5)
Sara Black (1.0*)
Lia Luis (2.5*)
Anthony McMillan (4.5)
Jesse McNalley (4.5)
Lee Melymick (1.0)
Jason Naval (4.5)
Darek Symonowicz (4.0)
Christoph Trachsel (1.0)

Head Coach: Steve Bialowas

2018 Tier 2 MVP Michael Kilonzo

The Cruisers Sports Rockets will once again be competing in Tier 2 and will face teams from PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Manitoba in the round robin. The Rockets placed 2nd in Tier 2 at last year’s 2018 CWBL Championship in Martensville, SK after a hotly contested game against home team Saskatchewan White. The team includes a well-balanced roster of veterans and rookies spanning all classifications. Ones to watch include Michael Kilonzo, the 2018 Tier 2 MVP, Senior Women’s National Team members Tamara Steeves and Puisand Lai, Team Ontario newcomer Erik Robeznieks, and multi-sport athlete Shawn Courchesne.

Rockets Roster:

Shawn Courchesne (1.0)
Himmat Dhillon (2.5)
Rebecca Greene (4.5*)
Vanessa Giancaterini (1.0*)
Zoë Hahn (3.0*)
Michael Kilonzo (3.5)
Puisand Lai (1.0*)
Erik Robeznieks (4.5)
Natalie Robinson (3.0*)
Tamara Steeves (1.5*)

Head Coach: Kathy Ludwig
Assistant Coach: Andrea Foessel
Team Manager: Rhiannon Davies
Athletic Therapist: Breanne Hyslop

Team Ontario is well represented at the 2019 championship as the combined club team’s rosters include a total of 14 current Ontario provincial program members from our Junior, Senior Women, and Development Women’s teams including Adel Akhmed, Sara Black, Vanessa Giancaterini, Rebecca Greene, Zoë Hahn, Michael Kilonzo, Puisand Lai, Lia Luis, Lee Melymick, Erik Robeznieks, Natalie Robinson, Tamara Steeves, and coaching staff Kathy Ludwig and Rhiannon Davies.

The 2019 CWBL National Championship will tip off on Friday, April 26 at the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown. To view the full schedule and stay up to date on tournament results, visit the Wheelchair Basketball Canada event website.

About the Ontario Para Network
The Ontario Para Network (ONPARA) is the new name of the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association (OWSA). ONPARA is the provincial governing body for three sports – wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis and is a programming partner for wheelchair athletics. Our mission is to grow wheelchair sports opportunities across Ontario. We strive to create opportunities for athletes with physical disabilities to participate in any of our sports at recreational, competitive, and high performance levels.

About Wheelchair Basketball Canada
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sport governing body responsible for the organization of the sport in Canada. It is a non-profit, charitable organization that is committed to excellence in the development, support and promotion of wheelchair basketball programs and services for all Canadians from grassroots to high performance. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem around the world for winning a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last seven Paralympic Games.