Team B.C. will look to continue its dominance when the 2012 National Wheelchair Basketball Championships get underway on Friday at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
The three-day event will feature 25 games played on two courts, culminating with the women and men's championship games at 12: 15 p.m. and 2: 15 p.m. respectively on Sunday. The tournament features elite players from across Canada, including members of the Canadian senior men's and women's teams national teams that will use the championships as an opportunity to hone their skills in advance of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Team B.C. is the five-time defending national championships in the men's division and will look to match a record of six consecutive championships won by by B.C. between 1979 and 1983.
The host province is the most successful squad in the tournament's 45-year history.
The 2012 Nationals will celebrate the theme of "Difference Makers" in honour of Rick Hansen and the 25th anniversary of the Man in Motion World Tour. The 25th anniversary relay will make its way to the Oval on Sunday for a special public celebration following the championship games.
Wheelchair basketball is a fastpaced hard-hitting competitive sport that has emerged as one of the most competitive and athletic sports played at the Paralympic Games. The Canadian teams are among the best in the world, having combined to win five gold and one silver medal over the past five Paralympic Games.
The sport has similar rules to stand up basketball with some exceptions. Among them is the player in possession of the ball is only allowed to push his chair twice without a dribble, pass or shot. Players are also classified depending on their functional skills - ranging from one to 4.5 points. The total number of points can not exceed 14 among the five players on the floor at one time.
To help kickoff the week of high level basketball, the Oval will also be hosting one of three exhibition games between Canada and China as the women's national basketball team prepares for next month's final Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Lyon, France. The game tips-off at 7 p.m. with tickets available at the door.