Rosters Announced for 2022 Wheelchair Rugby National Championships

Team Ontario headed to Montréal to contend for national titles

The Ontario Para Network (ONPARA) is proud to formally announce the teams selected to represent Ontario at the 2022 Canadian Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Montréal, Québec.

Credit: Malcolm Bernstein

A total of 22 Ontario athletes were selected to compete in the event and have been divided amongst three teams – the Ontario Thunder and Lightning in Division 1 and the Ontario Storm in Division 2. This will be the first time in almost three years that these athletes will compete together on the national stage after the 2020 and 2021 championships were cancelled due to the pandemic. The athletes are eager and excited to compete and reconnect with members of the wheelchair rugby community from across the country.

In the 2019 edition of the tournament, hosted in Ottawa, the Ontario Thunder was narrowly defeated by the Alberta Roughnecks in a buzzer beater thriller. They will be looking for revenge and to reclaim their national title while the Ontario Lightning is aiming to join them on the podium after their 4th place finish in 2019. The Ontario Storm, three-time reigning National Champions in Division 2, will be working hard to make it a four-peat in what is sure to be a competitive field this year.

The athletes and staff named to Team Ontario are as follows:

Ontario Thunder Ontario Lightning Ontario Storm
Cody Caldwell  (Cavan) Ian Crowe (Ingersoll) Dwayne Besharah (North Gower)
Patrice Dagenais (Embrun) Matt Debly (Windsor) Faisal Burale (Toronto)
Rio Kanda Kovac (Toronto) Nick Kovac (Toronto) Garrett Dieleman (Wallacetown)
Travis Murao (Toronto) Peter Langenecker (London) Corey Jalbert (Spencerville)
Dave Willsie (London) Ben Perkins (North Augusta) Dylan Lamoureux (Trenton)
Mike Whitehead (Windsor) Eric Rodrigues (Mississauga) Kevin McEwen (North Gower)
Shayne Smith (Toronto) Reid Mulligan (Ottawa)
Erika Schmutz (Kingston)
Jamie Sopha (Toronto)
Team Ontario Staff
Garett Hickling – Provincial Coach
Dave Caldwell – Equipment
Jesse Kozma – Equipment
Ian Mayberry – Equipment
Liz Caldwell – Support
Tanya Crowe – Support
Gwen Debly – Support
Susana Lima – Support

Team Ontario will be led by Provincial Coach and wheelchair rugby legend Garett Hickling with assistance from player-coaches Dave Willsie, Patrice Dagenais, and Erika Schmutz throughout the tournament, in addition to an amazing equipment & support staff.

The Ontario wheelchair rugby program has historically had strong representation and results at the National Championships. A total of eight Paralympians will be representing the province at this year’s event in addition to a group of long-time veteran players. Current National Team Program athletes include Caldwell, Dagenais, Debly, Kanda Kovac, Murao, Perkins, Rodrigues, Smith, and Whitehead. Rookie Garrett Dieleman is the new kid on the block and the newest athlete to join Team Ontario, having recently taken up the sport over the past year with home club the London Annihilators.

The 2022 Canadian Wheelchair Rugby Championships run from April 28 to May 1 at the Patro Villeray in Montréal. The event is hosted as part of the greater Défi Sportif Altergo in partnership with Parasports Québec and Wheelchair Rugby Canada. For event information, schedules, and results, visit and be sure to follow @wcrugbycanada and @onparanetwork on social!

About the Ontario Para Network

Formerly known as the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association, our mission at the Ontario Para Network (ONPARA) is to grow opportunities for participation in adaptive sports across Ontario. As the governing body for wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and wheelchair tennis in the province, we strive to offer opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in recreational, competitive, and high performance programs. We lead, develop, support and advocate for athletes, coaches and volunteers to build strong and inclusive sport communities. We also deliver extensive outreach and education programs targeting schools as well as individuals and clinicians at rehabilitation hospitals and the broader health care sector.