News Local

Wheelchair basketball coming back to Algonquin College

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

STEPHEN UHLER/DAILY OBSERVER
Sam Graham will be hosting the fourth annual Wheelchair Basketball tournament at Algonquin College Waterfront Campus on Saturday, April 2 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

STEPHEN UHLER/DAILY OBSERVER Sam Graham will be hosting the fourth annual Wheelchair Basketball tournament at Algonquin College Waterfront Campus on Saturday, April 2 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

An inter-squad wheelchair basketball game in support of a new accessibility recreational Centre will take place at the Algonquin College Waterfront Campus on Saturday, April 2.

This is the fourth year that such an event has been hosted by 2015 Canada Winter Games athlete Sam Graham. This year's recipient of the fundraiser is Abilities Centre Ottawa, a fully-integrated, inclusive, multi-purpose and accessible recreation facility designed to meet the needs of individuals and families.

“It's going to be a place where people can play sports or swim,” explained Graham.

The wheelchair basketball game will be held in the campus gymnasium from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is a $5 donation. Wheelchairs will be available for people to try and learn basic basketball skills while using a wheelchair. Then teams will be made up before a series of games will be held in a mini-tournament.

Graham, who graduated from the college, social service worker program and is currently taking his bachelor of social work at Carleton University. He originally got the idea for the local fundraiser after playing in a demonstration game at Carleton. Graham's past fundraisers have supported the MRI Image Matters campaign for the Pembroke Regional Hospital and the Algonquin Students’ Association Food Cupboard.

“Wev've tried to find a different cause and a different reason for doing the tournament,” said Graham. “It's a great way to provide exposure for the sport.”

As a resulto of a partnership with the Ottawa Senators, the Abilities Centre Ottawa is part of a redevelopment plan for the LeBreton Flats in Ottawa. The facility, intended to be part of the Sensplex at Lebreton Flats, will be a 250,000 square foot fully integrated, fully accessible, inclusive, multi-purpose recreation and community facility for people of all ages, able bodied and disabled.

“Everything you going to need the centre will have,” said Graham. “There is nothing like it in Canada.”

Graham is a member of the Ottawa-Carleton Wheelchair Sports Association. He has played with the AA Ottawa Jazz and AAA Ottawa Royals and currently coaches the game. He hopes the tournament at the college will not only showcase his sport and raise awareness about disabled sports.

SChase@postmedia.com