2010’s Brightest in BC Wheelchair Basketball Honoured at Annual Awards

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| Mar 07, 2011 |

March 6, 2011

BURNABY, BC – Outstanding contributions and achievements in the sport of wheelchair basketball in British Columbia were recognized Saturday evening at the BC Division of the Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League (CWBL) Awards Banquet. In attendance at the banquet, were over 75 members of the BC Wheelchair Basketball Society (BCWBS) including players, officials and partners.

Six awards were handed out at the BCWBS Annual Awards Presentation. The recipients include:

2010 Male Athlete of the Year
Ross MacDonald, Burnaby BC - BC Men’s Team, Team Canada, Douglas College Royals

2010 Female Athlete of the Year
Janet McLachlan, West Vancouver BC – BC Breakers Women’s Team, Team Canada

2010 Junior Athlete of the Year
Nathan Bragg, Maple Ridge BC – BC Junior Provincial Team

2010 Coach of the Year
Peter Taylor, formerly Surrey BC (currently resides in Australia) – BC Men’s Team

2010 Volunteer of the Year
Jean Luc Lagan, Victoria BC

2010 Official of the Year
Kevin Bowie, Vancouver BC

2010 Outstanding Community Support Award
Douglas College, New Westminster BC
Comox Recreation Centre


BCWBS is committed to creating awareness of disability issues and has provided support to wheelchair basketball programs throughout British Columbia. For over twenty-five years, BCWBS has delivered exceptional integrated and inclusive programs and experiences to people with and without physical disabilities and to all age groups. BCWBS promotes opportunities for participation, recreation, competition, and excellence in the sport of wheelchair basketball. Prestigious alumni include Eugene Reimer, Terry Fox, Rick Hansen and Marni Abbott-Peter.

To get involved or learn more about BCWBS events and programs check out www.bcwbs.ca

For more information, please contact:

Carrie Linegar
Managing Director, BCWBS
Tel: 604-333-3531 or cell: 604-833-0359

About BCWBS:

The BC Wheelchair Basketball Society (BCWBS) is a non-profit organization, formed in 1983 and registered with Revenue Canada as a charity since 1985. Since its inception, the society has been a catalyst in creating awareness about disability issues and has provided support to wheelchair basketball programs throughout British Columbia. Our programs are offered to people who have physical disabilities and people who do not, and to all age groups. Wheelchair basketball is for anyone who wishes to participate.

About the recipients:
Male Athlete of the Year: Ross MacDonald, Burnaby BC - Veteran Ross MacDonald has been playing wheelchair basketball since 1990. He started playing organized basketball in the local junior program in Richmond, BC and eventually progressed to competing in the BC-CWBL league. From there he competed at the Canada Games team in 1995 and 1999. In 1998 he joined the BC provincial team where he has medaled in 12 straight National Championships. Over the years Ross has been a key element of BC’s dominance on the national scene and was a major contributor to the BC men’s fourth consecutive gold medal at the 2010 National Championship. In 2010, Ross also played an instrumental role on the National Team.

Female Athlete of the Year: Janet McLachlan, West Vancouver BC - Janet McLachlan has already made her mark on the able-bodied sports world as an elite basketball and rugby player. After sustaining a knee injury in 2006, Janet was introduced to the world of wheelchair basketball and quickly fell in love with the sport. She made the National Team in 2008 and quickly established herself as one of the sports’ most dominant players. In April of 2010, Janet led the University of Alabama Crimson Tide to a second National Wheelchair Basketball Association women’s league National Championship where she was name tournament All Star and MVP. Next, she led the BC Breakers to their first-ever Canadian National Championship title in an upset over the Edmonton Inferno. In the summer of 2010, Janet turned her attention to the international scene and competed with the Canadian National Team at the 2010 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Birmingham, England. Her offensive firepower and height were crucial in Canada taking home the bronze medal. Janet is currently one of only a handful of women playing in the European professional league.

Junior Athlete of the Year: Nathan Bragg, Maple Ridge BC - 2010 was an incredible year for Nathan as hard work and commitment to training earned him a spot on the BC Junior Provincial Team. At Nationals, his intelligent playing style and on-court leadership were instrumental in helping the team take fourth place. When basketball season ended, Nathan carried on his athletic pursuits in wheelchair rugby while continuing to train in basketball. Nathan has been a regular participant at junior training camps, the Junior Challenge, the Tim Frick City League and more. Most recently, he was selected to the 2011 Canada Wheelchair Games Team which recently travelled and competed in Halifax.

Coach of the Year: Peter Taylor, formerly Surrey BC – now Australia! - In 2010 the BC men's team won their fourth consecutive National Championship, their sixth national title under the leadership of Head Coach Peter Taylor. Peter is a truly a unique coach with an uncanny ability to motivate his players and get them prepared to perform at the best of their abilities in big games. His coaching talent grounded sincerity and loyalty for his team and players will be missed as the Taylor family makes a new and yet familiar home in Australia. BCWBS extends its sincerest gratitude to Peter and his family for their dedication and fondness for wheelchair basketball in BC.

Volunteer of the Year: Jean Luc Lagan, Victoria BC- Jean-Luc has been a driving force in wheelchair basketball for many years. Under his leadership, wheelchair basketball in Victoria is showing a great resurgence in all areas. Throughout 2010, Jean-Luc helped to organize weekly practices, spearheaded initiatives to increase member participation, applied for provincial and national grants and hosted a game day in Victoria. He continues to encourage players to participate in all levels of programming, often supplying his own vehicle and the logistical support (including chair setup) to make it happen. As a member of the board of Victoria Wheelchair Sports Club, Jean-Luc has made a huge difference to wheelchair basketball in the community.

Official of the Year: Kevin Bowie, Vancouver BC - Not only is Kevin Bowie an outstanding player on the basketball court, he is also one of BCWBS’s top officials. When Kevin is not playing, he can be found officiating. Whether it’s a BC-CWBL game, the Junior Challenge, with the Tim Frick League or other key BCWBS events, Kevin’s commitment to the role is evident. In 2010, Kevin travelled to Victoria for a BCWBS game and skills weekend and helped introduce and mentor a new official in Victoria, a role he gladly assumes with other officials in the lower mainland as well. He was also selected to officiate at the 2010 Junior National Championships where he found himself officiating the events’ Gold Medal game. To top off the year Kevin was also selected to officiate at the 2011 Canada Winter Games which just took place in February in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Outstanding Community Support Award: Douglas College, New Westminster BC - Douglas College has been a key partner with the BC Wheelchair Basketball Society since the late 1980s. A unique partnership created through the leadership of Coach Tim Frick, Douglas College supports the development of wheelchair basketball through its athletics programs with the Centre for Campus Life. In addition to programming support for high performance practices, camps and tournaments, Douglas College support athlete development initiatives for new and developing individuals and students on campus through the Tim Frick City league, intramurals programs and coach development courses. Of special note, Douglas College also co-hosted the 2010 Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League Finals with BCWBS by providing facility access, staffing and technical game support, as well as communications and marketing support of a very successful event which saw the Douglas College team take home the gold medal!

Outstanding Community Support Award: Comox Recreation Centre - In February of 2008, a small group of individuals got together and attended the 2008 Basketball Camp in Nanaimo. Out of this grew a desire to play wheelchair basketball in Comox. With enthusiasm, Mandy Johns, Program Director at the Comox Recreation Centre worked to make it possible. Since then, wheelchair basketball has been present in Comox Valley. Thanks to the support of the Centres’ Roger Smith and Glenn Ponsford, the little Comox team continues to grow. It is the visionary "can do" attitude of the staff at the Comox Recreation Centre that has enabled wheelchair basketball to thrive in the area. It is the consistent support of Mandy Johns, Roger Smith and Glenn Ponsford with the assistance of all the staff of the Comox Recreation Centre that give the Comox Club its ease of continuance, accessibility to the community and affordability for all.

First Photo: from the left, Kevin Bowie (Official of the Year), Jean Luc Lagan (Volunteer of the Year), Erik Hagreen (Awards Presenter from Adavanced Mobility), Nathan Bragg (Junior Athlete of the Year), Ross MacDonald (Maile Athlete of the Year) 

Second Photo: Comox Recreation Centre, Roger Smith and Mandy Johns  (Outstanding Community Support Award) with Karin Kraz of Comox Valley Wheelchair Sports