Accessible Sport Committee, London & Area
News & Updates

Ontario “Thunder” Win Silver

October 8, 2010

On a beautiful spring weekend in May in Ottawa, wheelchair rugby teams from across Canada were competing in the Canadian National Wheelchair Rugby Tournament. London’s Annihilators wheelchair rugby team sent their top 4 athletes to join 2 athletes from the Ottawa team to form the Ontario’s Division “A” team, “The Thunder”. The Thunder was lead by the fast and tough playing of Canada’s National Wheelchair Rugby Team co-captain Dave Willsie. Other key Annihilators players on the Thunder were Frank Groenestege, Jason Crone and Mike Whitehead. Ben Perkins and Patrice Dagenais from the Ottawa team contributed their speed and ball handling skills to the Thunder’s success. London Annihilator Coach Harry DeBoer and Equipment Manager Christine Cattrysse were chosen to support and inspire the Thunder and were kept challenged as the team qualified for the final match facing a strong team from British Columbia.

In the first quarter of the final match, the Thunder asserted their dominance. They forced crucial turnovers early on in the match and leaped out to a 4-1 lead. Team B.C. slowly battled back and overtook the lead by 3 points in the fourth quarter. The Thunder would not sacrifice the game that easily, however! With only moments to go, they mounted strong offensive plays, capitalizing on some B.C. turnovers, and tied the game with just 11 seconds on the clock! Just as the fans were preparing for an overtime period, B.C. athlete Say Luangkhamdeng broke free, sprinted towards the goal line and scored with 0.1 seconds left. Team B.C. had won the championship, leaving Ontario’s “A” Team with an impressive silver medal finish.

The London Annihilators continue to practice regularly throughout the summer and anticipate tough competition in this fall’s “Crash for the Cash” tournament. Last year’s event was attended by Rick Mercer who filmed a segment that can be viewed on YouTube (search: RMR-wheelchair rugby). Teams from England, Arizona and B.C. are expected to attend again this year. Look for more details about the date and location of this international tournament in October.

The Annihilators will also be hosting their annual fundraising golf tournament on Saturday July 10 at Pleasant Valley Golf and Country Club (Hwy 3 between St.Thomas and Aylmer). Eighteen holes of golf (with a cart), a multi-course dinner and many prizes are included with $100 entry fee. New players and teams, as well as sponsors, are welcome! To register contact: Steve Kelly (519) 851-9608.