Eight Ontario Wheelchair Rugby Athletes Move Closer to Their Dream of Making the 2015 Para-Pan Am Team

(Toronto, ON) – Eight Ontario athletes have been selected to represent Team Canada at the 2014 Japan Para Wheelchair Rugby Invitational, moving one step closer to achieving their dreams of being named to the 2015 Para Pan Am Games squad. The event will take place from Oct 10 – 12 in Chiba, Japan.

“This tournament is an important one for Team Canada because it will allow us to see some of up-and-coming athletes in action and give some of our current national team members leadership opportunities,” said Head Coach Kevin Orr. “The athletes who will be traveling to Japan represent the next generation of Canadian wheelchair rugby.”

Among the athletes selected are:

Kristen Cameron (Whitby, ON) – A year ago, Kristen Cameron was hit by a drunk driver while training for a triathlon and became a C5 quadriplegic. Though she started wheelchair rugby in November and is one of only a handful of women to play the aggressive sport, her background as a University golf, soccer and hockey athlete has allowed her to rise quickly. Cameron was recruited to wheelchair rugby by Team Canada staff member Melissa Lacroix, who she used to coach in hockey.

Shayne Smith (Toronto, ON) – After meningitis left him a quadruple amputee, Shayne Smith became involved in sledge hockey and wheelchair basketball and represented Canada at two Junior World Wheelchair Basketball Championships. Recently, he’s switched to wheelchair rugby and is earning a reputation for athleticism and speed. Smith works as a motivational speaker, spreading the message that “no matter what life throws at us, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”

Cody Caldwell (London, ON) – Caldwell is a long-time squad Team Canada squad member who acquired his spinal cord injury playing hockey. He is a representative of CIBC Team Next.

Zak Madell (Toronto, ON) – Zak Madell recently moved to Toronto from Alberta to train and attend Centennial College. Madell’s reputation as one of the best players in the game was cemented when he was named MVP at the 2014 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, where Canada won silver.

Other Ontario athletes who will be attending the event include:

  • Patrice Dagenais (Embrun, ON)
  • Ben Perkins (North Augusta, ON)
  • Joe Boudreau (Hamilton, ON)
  • Ian Crowe (London, ON).


For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Arley McNeney
Communications & Marketing Manager
Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association
Cell: 778-788-9091
Email: Arley@cwsa.ca