Sports

Kelowna's Hickling key with Team Canada's wheelchair rugby team

The veteran leadership of Kelowna native Garett Hickling was crucial to Canada's performance in day 1 of the 2012 Canada Cup International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament. Canada relied on Hickling's leadership and experience to power through a tough day of hard-hitting wheelchair rugby action that saw Canada finish 1-1. They must win tomorrow against Belgium to qualify for the medal rounds.

Canada began the day with a thrilling 47-46 victory over Sweden in a game that saw plenty of hits and fouls. Though Canada was down by two points with three minutes to play, the team staged an impressive comeback by forcing several turnovers. Though Sweden brought the game to within one point, Canada was spurred on by the energy of a sold-out crowd, including students from Gilmore Elementary School, to maintain the victory.

After the game, Head Coach Kevin Orr credited the leadership of Hickling and teammate David Willsie for keeping the Canadians calm under pressure.

“We have some great veteran leadership on this team and they really came together to win when it counted,” he said. “You can’t ask for better preparation for London than a one-point comeback win against such a great team.”

Next, Canada took on 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championship Silver Medalists Australia. The Australians boast superstar Ryley “The Battman” Batt, along with heavy-hitter Chris Bond, and this combination proved difficult for the Canadians.

“We had some great moments and some moments that needed improvement,” said Coach Orr. “Right now, we’ll focus on getting a win against Belgium and qualifying for the medal rounds.”

In other Canada Cup news the USA narrowly avoided an upset by Great Britain, and Japan finished pool play undefeated. Schedules, recaps and statistics are available at www.canadacupwcrugby.com. Action continues tomorrow at 9:30 am. Canada will play Belgium at noon in the final round-robin match, then will play in the evening depending on seeding.

 

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