Ontario Crowned Wheelchair Rugby National Champions

Ontario earns back-to-back championship wins in Division 1 and Division 2

For the 2nd year in a row, Ontario captured National titles at the Canadian Wheelchair Rugby Championship, which was held at the impressive Shane Homes YMCA in Calgary, Alberta last weekend. The event was hosted by Wheelchair Sports Alberta (WSA) and the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association (CWSA).

Ontario was represented by three teams at the event – ‘Ontario Thunder’ and ‘Ontario Lightning’ in Division 1 and ‘Ontario Storm’ in Division 2. A total of 11 teams representing 6 provinces participated in the tournament this year.

In Division 1 action, defending gold medalists Ontario Thunder posted an undefeated result of 4-0 in the Round Robin while Ontario Lightning placed 4th with a 1-3 record. Despite the slow start, the result was enough to qualify the team for the bronze medal game against Québec where they earned some redemption with a 61-57 victory and the bronze.

The championship game saw Ontario Thunder up against a strong Alberta Roughnecks team, which included a returning standout player and Paralympian Zak Madell. In what proved to be a close game, the Thunder’s total team effort allowed them to defeat the Roughnecks 61-56, successfully defending their gold medal and winning the Campbell Cup.

In Division 2, Ontario Storm proved their dominance by going undefeated throughout the tournament and earning gold medals, the Zbieranowski Cup, and the title of Division 2 National Champions. Québec B took home silver and the Alberta Bighorns won the bronze medal.

Final Standings

Division 1
1 – Ontario Thunder
2 – Alberta Roughnecks
3 – Ontario Lightning
4 – Québec

5 – British Columbia

Division 2
1 – Ontario Storm
2 – Québec B
3 – Alberta Bighorns
4 – BC Development

5 – Manitoba
6 – New Brunswick


A total of 7 Ontario athletes earned All-Star nods at the end of the tournament while the Most Valuable Player award in Division 1 & 2 went to much-deserving Ontario athletes Patrice (Pico) Dagenais and Frank Groenestege.

Most Valuable Player Div 1: Patrice Dagenais (ON)

Division 1 All Stars
0.5 Eric Rodrigues (ON)
1.0 Trevor Hirschfield (BC)
1.5 Erika Schmutz (ON)
2.0 Cody Caldwell (ON)
2.5 Shayne Smith (ON)
3.0 Mike Whitehead (ON)
3.5 Zak Madell (AB)

Most Valuable Player Div 2: Frank Groenestege (ON)

Division 2 All Stars
0.5 Byron Green (BC)

1.0 Melanie Labelle (QC)
1.5 Ashley Munro (AB)
2.0 Steve Mastine (QC)
2.5 Alexi Macias (QC)
3.0 Jamie Sophie (ON)
3.5 Reid Mulligan (ON)

Judith Zelman Memorial Award for Rookie of the Year:
Branden Perger (BC)

Team Rosters

Ontario Thunder Ontario Lightning Ontario Storm
Patrice Dagenais (1.0) Eric Rodrigues (0.5) Peter Langenecker (1.0*)
Faisal Burale (1.5) Erika Schmutz (1.5**) Frank Groenestege (1.5*)
Dave Willsie (2.0*) Ben Perkins (2.0) Ian Crowe (2.0)
Travis Murao (2.0) Shayne Smith (2.5) Dylan L’Amoureux (2.0)
Cody Caldwell (2.0) Matt Debly (3.0) Esnaider Cardenas (2.0)
Mike Whitehead (3.0) Brianna Hennessy (3.5**) Jamie Sopha (3.0)
Reid Mulligan (3.5)
Team Staff
Dave Willsie (coach), Dave Caldwell, Liz Caldwell, Heather Debly Garett Hickling (coach), Dave Caldwell, Susana Lima, Tony Debly Dave Willsie / Garett Hickling (coaches), Terry Bruxer