Back on the world stage

P.A.’s Erica Gavel, seen here competing at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, will join Team Canada at the Americas Cup next week in Colombia. (Photo courtesy Erica Gavel)

P.A. Paralympian to join Team Canada at wheelchair basketball world championship qualifier

The last time Erica Gavel had a chance to play for Canada at the World Wheelchair Basketball Championships a hand injury two weeks before the tournament kept her on the sidelines.

That was three years ago. Now the former Carlton Crusader and University of Saskatchewan Huskie is a veteran of the national women’s wheelchair basketball program with Paralympic experience and she’s getting another shot at worlds.

On Thursday Wheelchair Basketball Canada announced its rosters for the 2017 men and women’s national teams, and Gavel was once again chosen to wear the red and white. As one of the team’s senior players, she wasn’t surprised to get the nod.

“I’m a little bit of a veteran now. I’ve been around since 2013,” she said.

“We had a lot of retirements so I’m actually one of the older girls on the team so my role has definitely changed both on and off the court. I’m in more of a leadership, veteran role.”

The men and women’s teams will travel to Cali, Colombia from Aug. 23 to 30 to face the best competitors in the hemisphere at the Americas Cup. The Canadian women will face off against teams from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and the United States. The top four teams in each tournament qualify to advance to the 2018 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships, which will be held in Hamburg, Germany next August. The Canadian women are the defending champions.

“We’re going in to win for sure. We played the Americans a couple weeks ago three games and we won every game,” Gavel said of the Americas Cup.

“For us it’ll be more so focusing on the things we need to do well and the process and just the execution and readiness and even grit, because being in South America there are going to be challenges and we really just need to focus on the process, be solution-oriented and do everything we can to be mentally prepared.”

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