Ben Hagkull hits the court in Toronto this week as the Canadian senior men’s wheelchair basketball team takes on the Netherlands.
The action happens Saturday (July 2) at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Complex, with Hagkull’s crew playing a series of four games against their European foes. Prior to that, they’ll be running through five days of training camp activities (June 27 to July 1).
All of it is preparing the Canadians for the Americas Cup tournament, taking place July 13-18 in São Paulo, Brazil.
“The games against the Dutch will provide our team with excellent competition as we look to fine-tune aspects of our game before the tournament in Brazil,” said Jeff Dunbrack, Wheelchair Basketball Canada High Performance Director.
Hagkull is one of 13 athletes at the Canada camp. He and Bo Hedges are the lone representatives from B.C., with Hedges hailing from Wonowon.
The other players are Chad Jassman (Calgary), Reed De’Aeth (Sherwood Park, AB), Patrick Anderson (Edmonton), Garrett Ostepchuk (Regina), Nik Goncin (Regina), Tyler Miller (Kitchener, ON), Jesse Heubner (Kitchener), Blaise Mutware (Toronto), Lee Melymick (Toronto), Vincent Dallaire (Quebec City) and Colin Higgins (Rothesay, NB).
The Americas Cup tournament is an eight-team event which sees Hagkull’s team joining a field that includes the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The top four teams at the Americas Cup will move on to the 2022 International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) World Championships, taking place Nov. 16-27 in Dubai.
Canada is a world power in wheelchair basketball, with men’s and women’s teams combining to win six gold, one silver and one bronze at the last seven Paralympic Games.
For more information, please visit iwbf.org/event/2022-americas-cup/ or wheelchairbasketball.ca.