By Martin Boyce
Around 100 para-athletes charged up the Ravens Nest for the Aug. 4-7 Canadian Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association National Championships at Carleton University.
Coinciding with Canada 150, Ottawa welcomed 6 teams from across Canada for the event that turned the heads of many passers-by.
“I think it’s going to bring a lot of attention to the sport,” says Ottawa Power Wheelchair Hockey League communications director, and player, Tammy Culhane, highlighting the astonishing amount of people she saw walk into the venue asking, “What is this all about?” or exclaiming, “Oh my god, this is so cool!”
The Ottawa Capitals – a team consisting of players chosen by coaches of the 4 OPWHL teams – missed out on the national podium by one spot, falling 3-2 in overtime to the Toronto Lake Raiders in the bronze medal match. The Toronto Rock beat the Calgary Selects 1-0 in the final.
Because the tournament was hosted in Ottawa, the OPWHL decided to form a second team, the Ottawa Black Aces, to play three exhibition matches against ‘Team Canada’ – comprised of players from some of the other teams competing.
“That was just such a great team to develop,” signals Culhane, one of many volunteers powering the event, and a proud member of the Black Aces.
“Hopefully I don’t tear up, but this was really the first time that I looked at a roster and I made the team,” smiles the power hockey player of 4 years, underlining the sense of achievement players feel competing at the national level.