February 8 was a great night of celebrating our volunteers and athletes as our Equipment Manager, Gary Crowe was the KOs second team volunteer in 3 years to receive the City of Kelowna’s Community Sport Hero Award. As friends and supporters of the KOs filled the front row of the Mary Irwin Theatre at Royal Centre for the Arts downtown, we enjoyed a great presentation organized by Pacific Sport Okanagan. Congrats Gary ! You make my life and the strain on my back so much easier. After the awards, we all headed to Boston Pizza to celebrate our own volunteers and our 5th Anniversary of Team KOs.
From our early beginnings of 4 athletes and myself as the only volunteer, we have come a long long way and now host practices with 12-15+ participants and 3-5 volunteers. This years’ 6th Okanagan hosted tournament will be at Okanagan Mission School on Glenmore, April 22 & 23rd…stay tuned for game times !
As part of Canada’s 150 Year Celebration, we are welcoming all of you to join us at practices. Come try our sport and invite your friends to form a team to knock the socks off the KOs !
The KOs annual demo in downtown Kelowna’s City Park was a great hit again mid-August with SHAW out interviewing our Coach, Randy LeBlanc. View the interview link at the right of each sub-menu on our website.
…Followed by another annual event hosted by Parkinson Rec Centre, we work together to expose children and families with developmental disabilities to new sports, health, and community opportunities.
The KOs practice venue, St.Joseph Elementary is under construction, so we had experienc a bit of a delay in our weekly practices startup. BUT NOW WE’RE BACK !! Beginning October 12, practices will commence again Wednesday from 5-8pm…check schedule menu for full details on Memberships and drop-in Fees… We would love to see you out on the court !
We will kick off practices with a new 19″ rugby sport chair, thanks to generous support of the Kelowna Kinsmen Club, and one of our most dedicated athletes, Paul Thomas will get some new wheels too, on his old clunker that was donated by Jubal Wright…helping him maneuver and increase his speed.
Everyone is welcome ! We have a fleet of chairs capable of accomodating all sizes of able-bodied or disabled persons with trained and certified Coaches and volunteers. Wheelchair rugby is a fantastic team sport and a great way to get in shape and have some fun !!
Come play with the KOs during this great family and community event ! Everyone welcome. All equipment provided. If you require assistance for transfers, please bring an attendant.
Since our RBC Sports Day in Canada demo – huge thanks to the media for coming out and all the community interest !! About 50 people showed up to try our sport with the team !!
Then the following week and 2 days before we left for the first BC League Tournament of the Season, Spotlight Productions came out to do an interview on our Head Coach and Team President. Check out their amazing stories in the link attached to any of our secondary menu pages…it really is a fantastic promotion by Telus Optik Community Programming. Thanks Telus !
So… at their first Tournament of the 2015-16 Season , the KOs enlisted one Vancouver athlete, Rod Bitz (previous National athlete), and combined with strong leadership by leading Defensive Provincial Athlete and KOs Head Coach, Randy LeBlanc, the team finished in second place with a first game win, second game loss by 7, and third game loss by only 2 points !! Yup ! They were on FIRE !!
Our new KOs sponsored athlete, Kenneth McEwen played a huge role in assisting our offensive lineup alongside Kamloops Coach in Training, Stu Wymer and C0-Captain, Scott James. The defensive lineup, Randy LeBlanc, Tyler Valstar, and Paul Thomas played effectively with improved transitions, guarding the goal line, and denying goals to pushing back for turnovers !! (Not the Pop-Tart kind )
COMING UP !!!! …
January 23 an February 27, Team Spokane will visit for development games with the KOs at St.Joseph Elementary – noon-5pm !! Come check it out !! If you can volunteer for this or any events below, let us know. 250-808-2955
On January 30 & 31, the KOs will host their 5th Annual Knock Out ! in the Okanagan ! Normally we host this tournament in April, but we have another ‘Open’ Tournament in the works for the summer !!! We are off to Victoria for the BC League finals May 13-15. May is always a crazy month training and readying teams for Nationals, held again in Montreal May 26-29, a month off, then back at it with Kamloops Legacy Games pushed to July 22-24 this year.
The KOs are hosting Try Our Sport Days in Kelowna and Kamloops through sponsorship of RBC Canada Sports Day Grant to encourage physical activity and learning new sports.
The value that programs such as the KOs contribute to the community really does become immeasureable when you consider all the opportunities it presents in a niche market. From making personal and team connections and positive growth, to challenging us to expand boundaries and remove barriers from our physical, mental, social ideals.
The building blocks of the KOs philosophy is one step (or one push) at a time and always to have fun doing it. Win or lose, our spirit remains intact and we do that as a group. Supporting each other, refusing to be anything but in healthy competition environments, and remembering to take care of and respect ourselves and each other.
This foundation is now providing us with the growth and progress to begin practices in Kamloops (in addition to our handcycle and workout crosstraining programs). In November, one of our founding athletes, Stu Wymer, will begin coaching and training new members in Kamloops at a local practice facility there. We currently have athletes travelling from all over the Okanagan region to practice in Kelowna.
If you are interested in volunteering or want to learn more about wheelchair rugby, come out and try our sport here in Kelowna on Nov. 15 from 2-5pm at St.Joseph Elementary (behind the church) as part of RBC Sports Day in Canada, and check back for more opportunities in Kamloops, plus demos in Penticton and Vernon during our regular partnership involvement with Pacific Sports’ XploreSportz Kids camps !
In the meantime check out this link !!
What a great beginning to the season ! Having a couple months off gave our athletes and volunteers time to reignite their passion for their sport and with that they brought some new guests ! Switching to longer weekly practices and complimenting that with cross-training and physio and massage therapy engages athletes in a balance of proper rest and recovery. Since practices started 4 weeks ago, we’ve had attendance up and full two team scrimmages !! This provides enhanced athlete development and gets us ready for the first tournament of the season coming up on November 21, 22, 2016 at Richmond Oval.
Way to KOs ! And welcome to all new members and guests !! Let’s keep the ball rollin’ !
Friday September 11, 5-7pm, the KOs will attend their 3rd year at the Parkinson Community Living event…come Try Our Sport in the courtyard and connect with us and many other Okanagan Community Programs for ALL Abilities – demonstrations, information, and super FUN activities !!
Join us with MLA Steve Thomson, Pacific Sport and Parkinson Rec Leaders, Okanagan Business owners and more at outdoors Parkinson Rec Centre Lacrosse Court!
On July 17-19 the KOs will have a booth and Community Challenge for anyone interested in joining us in 2 fun days of competition games. Teams will be formed with KOs Athlete Captains directing and coaching you and your friends, coworkers, family members to compete in this fantastic weekend ! Play one game or more !
Briefing & Game times :
Saturday : 10:00, 12:00. 3:00
Sunday : 10:00, 12:00
REGISTER NOW !
Entry Fee $25 per game. Adults and youths over 15 for this one please, except our experienced youth athletes ! Snacks, refreshments, gloves, straps, and chair use included ! (Max. 18″ chair width).
Contact us to register through our website or call Randy at 25o-808-2955
Teams and Individuals welcome !!
July 13, 2015 – The KOs Annual Roll n Bowl and Silent Auction Fundraiser and Free Try Our Sport scrimmages at St. Joseph Elementary was a great success ! With 30 Auction items to bid on and over 35 people participating, 7 new people tried wheelchair rugby. Mayor Colin Basran joined us and quickly picked up the game asking lots of questions and working hard to compete against our athletes. We are all looking forward to playing with him again !
Bowling at Capri Valley Lanes was super fun and K-Town pizza deeeelicious ! Somehow, our leader, Colleen got highest score and started out the games with a strike ! She was as surprised as anyone when she finished with 153
Check out photos in our Community Photos menu, along with the previous weekend event at Mount Boucherie Community Demo
In an afternoon of wheelchair rugby, the KOs will play two refereed games with our guests, The St. Luke’s Dukes QuadRugby team from Spokane !
Join us at Constable Neil Bruce from 1-5:30 pm !!
Over 150 people attended and participated at the KOs 3rd Annual ‘Knock Out in the Okanagan Tournament’ at Constable Neil Bruce Middle School in Westbank.
4 BC League Teams competed giving their all to gain standings and points prior to the Provincial Finals to be held in Victoria on May 16,17th.
On Saturday, MLA Steve Thomson visited to present a cheque to the KOs from ViaSport and the Province of BC’s Hosting Grant, while the KOs provided lunches and snacks for the Athletes and Volunteers, and Vancouver Career College practicum student program donated Massages for athletes between games to help raise $100 for the KOs Volunteer Appreciation Fund and the College Grad Fund. MLA Steve Thomson is an avid supporter of sports, active for life, and All-Abilities programs such as the KOs in awareness and community opportunities.
KELOWNA KOS WHEELCHAIR RUGBY ASSOCIATION would like to thank Hosting BC, the Province of BC and ViaSport for their support of this event and our development programs, along with CWSA Podium Club, Canadian Paralympic Committee, our Volunteers, Community Partners and Donors
See photo highlights from the KOs vs Squamish Game in the slides on our Home Page above
GO KOs GO !!
March 20 and 23, 2015 a few KOs Leaders and Volunteers load up their vehicles and head to Vernon and Rutland. 35-40 kids and adults in a gym crashing and laughing in 13 rugby sportchairs sometimes seems a bit chaotic, but with a couple short blasts of a whistle, everyone stops and listens ! The GOAL : have fun. The AWARENESS : be safe. The EDUCATION : immense… talks on how quads and paras function and the origin of wheelchair rugby and how it offers everyone an opportunity to compete equally in sport. And kids say the darndest things … when you ask a kid what is the most valuable thing you learned about being a good teammate, the answer is “Be Nice to each other because they are your friends and mates”…learning to rely on each other to play a good game, to share the glory, to keep focused, to encourage each other, win or lose, and understanding everyone has value on the team, whether they score the goals or defend the goal line.
Check out our Community Program Photos for more photos !
After the fantastic evening with the Brownies, we loaded up our vehicles with 12 rugby chairs and all our tools and bags and balls and spare wheels to do a demo for Miss Leanne’s classroom and guests at Glenrosa Elementary School.
KOs President introduced the event with a discussion on Spinal Cord Injuries to the 8-12 year olds and how that affects physical function. Opening the floor to a Q&A, the next hour was full of curious questions and discussions about many things related to sports, health, lifestyle changes, and overcoming or dealing with an injury and a new way of life. As we watched Scott talk to the kids we listened again to why he makes such a wonderful spokesperson with his ability to keep an audience engaged.
Then we headed to the gym where 36 kids got to scrimmage against each with 3 of our athletes leading. These kids have learned more about sports in school and they are well on their way to becoming little rugby warriors providing some good challenges on the court and some quick goals !
Check out their photos on our Community Programs menu and check back for more kids highlights when we next head to Vernon and Kelowna to demo wheelchair rugby again with 2 Pacific Sports XploreSportz Kids Camps during spring break…
One of our Peers, Lauren English, introduced us to the Okanagan Pathfinders last year as they were working their way to achieving their Community Badges. This year we met her Brownies Club. Bringing in groups like this to meet the KOs maybe gives us a reason to goof off and play like kids ourselves again… But it also allows us to share our knowledge and support the growth of our sport for the future, while providing the minds of tomorrow an opportunity to understand how much we are all the same… and that wondering about a person’s abilities should not impair our interest in communication, our judgement or our goals. We encourage everyone to ask questions to better understand the difference between A-Bility and the ever-changing adjective known as ‘disabled person’.
From safety and chair maneuvering, ball skills to ‘British Bulldog’, the girls were gradually introduced to the contact part of our sport, and once we got to full on scrimmaging it would have seemed chaotic to anyone dropping into the middle of our demo with all the screaming and laughing and shouting out to teammates ! During a couple water breaks the girls learned, while they were still strapped into wheelchairs, just how hard that task is even using a lowered ‘child-height’ drinking fountain.
And later with a cool down, some granola snacks, more water, and a great group session of Q & A, everyone learned a little more about each other and what we can all do to collectively support each other for healthier and happier future generations.
Check out some of our photos in the Community Programs section of our website and LIKE our facebook Group and Page.
February 4th, 2015 marked a very special evening for 21 of our Community Volunteers and some of the athletes participating in local, provincial, and national sports teams. We are grateful for such a wonderful opportunity to support our Coach/Adminstrative Leader, Colleen Bryant presented great enthusiasm and appreciation of her award presented by Mayor Colin Basran, in her shout out on stage to cheer on everyone attending the night at Rotary Centre for The Arts ! Colleen does so much for us here in the Okanagan and Provincially, wearing a multitude of hats at any given time, with her contribution not only within the wheelchair sports world. Thanks again, Colleen !! We couldn’t have made it this far without you and your spirit is admirable !
Team Kelowna (KOs) – January 28, 2015
Knock Outs headed to Vancouver today for our first tournament of the season, as well as BC Provincial Prospects camp, and Provincial Team tryouts ! Wishing the Kelowna KOs Wheelchair Rugby team much luck !! Joining the KOs QuadSquad will be Tyler Tingle from Kamloops, Adam Frost & John-new-Vancouver-guy.
friend us on facebook on our Group and Page to keep up to date with what’sa happenin’ !
The KOs are a great team to be a part of, with athletes that play hard together, have a lot of fun and laughs together, travel to tournaments as a full team (nobody is left behind or left sitting on the bench), we have amazing volunteers that support the team in their physical needs, and an able-bodied/quadriplegic Coaching Duo that keeps the team organized and involved with their community. Our Coaches, Randy and Colleen, just finished their NCCP Competition B level and are on their way to Level 3 in January. The recent Pacific Sport Kelowna clinic, presented by Ms. Kim Whelpton, was a wealth of information with a total of 10 new and seasoned coaches. Building confidence, community, and connections…what better way to get to know other sports and share ideas !
The KOs mission includes development and opportunity for all abilities and all ages with a strong emphasis on annual youth awareness and educational support projects such as with Bankview Elementary students, Pacific Sport Okanagan Kids XploreSportz programs in Vernon, Kelowna, and Penticton, Kelowna City Park Open, UBCO and Okanagan College Health Sciences Students, Parkinson Rec Centre Family Days, PAART Kamloops, Pathfinders and Brownies, and this year we will present our 3rd Knock Out in The Okanagan Tournament.
Providing interactive demonstrations and positive involvement encourages Wholistic futures and an A-Bility focused community in which we all benefit in health, wellness, and active-for-life goals. When Win-Win is the outcome, the KOs are 100% involved !
We welcome other able-bodied and disability groups to attend practices to try out our sport and spread the word of wheelchair rugby right here in the Okanagan ! Check out our Schedules menu and contact us at email@example.com to attend
Friday October 31st
Laurel Packinghouse – 1304 Ellis Street
Costumes, Games, Prizes !!
A great time was had by all ! See our facebook page and group for photos !!
Busy with outdoor events by all our members and peer groups SCI-BC and CRIS Adaptive Adventures, Summer 2014 was a huge statement in the growth of activities for persons with disabilities. It proved again and again our A-BILITY ! From Kayaking to tennis, handcycling to watersking, trail riding to zipling, camping to bungee-jumping, campfires to fishing,,,and much more.
It never ceases to amaze me how much fun we have and how close our group is out here in the Okanagan.
The KOs took to cross training at 6 story parkades, on the indoor track at Capital News Centre, and 30 degree incline ramps over Highway 97, in our daychairs or handcycles along with rolls along the beach for 20k or more on beautiful sunny mornings, and sometimes in the hot hot heat, and of course our annual Rugby in the Park Demo at downtown City Park, competing in the Kamloops Legacy Games, connecting with the Kelowna RollerDerby Girls and planning the new season !!
During all this ‘relaxation’, we met with many, many political and sport and school and recreation representatives to try to find a permanent training facility for our team and storage for their equipment…through this uphill battle of 2 years, suddenly St. Joseph’s Elementary School came to the rescue !! That combined with our success in grant applications (many thanks for the support of MLA Steve Thomson, Podium Fund (CWSA), ViaSport, Canadian Paralympic Committee), membership fees, and individual and corporate donations along with regular fundraising, we are working hard on team, coach, community, and volunteer development. Check out days and times and watch for upcoming events in the Schedules menu. Come on out to play, to volunteer, or just to hang out !
Check out this link for Josh Dyck’s interview and stor
RICHMOND, BC — Eleven-year-old Josh Dyck is no stranger to setting Canadian records.
At age 3, a car accident left him a quadriplegic, making him the youngest person in Canadian history to survive a spinal cord injury of that level. This weekend, Josh will be recognized for setting a more positive record. At the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Canada Cup International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament, Josh will be formally named Canada’s youngest wheelchair rugby player.
“Josh has made an amazing recovery, and with some work, could have a promising future in this sport ,” said Kelowna wheelchair rugby athlete, Coach and community champion, Randy LeBlanc. “He absolutely loves wheelchair rugby, and it’s helping him become stronger and more independent. He’s very coachable, and the encouragement his parents, Wes and Berni, share has really brought a whole new level of support to our team.”
At the 2014 Canada Cup, Josh will have a chance to finally meet his hero: Canadian wheelchair rugby legend Garett Hickling, who is also from Kelowna. Garett has been on the national team for more than 20 years and was the Opening Ceremonies flag bearer at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The 2014 Canada Cup Wheelchair Rugby Tournament welcomes eight of the top wheelchair rugby teams in the World to the Richmond Olympic Oval, June 19-21. The Canada Cup, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, is the most prestigious wheelchair rugby tournament in the world besides the Paralympics and World Championships. For more info, visit www.canadacupwcrugby.com.
About Wheelchair Rugby: Wheelchair rugby is a team sport for male and female athletes with a mobility-related disability in at least three limbs. It is a unique sport created by athletes with a disability that combines elements of basketball, handball and ice hockey. Invented in 1977 in Winnipeg, it was originally known as ‘Murderball’. Today, wheelchair rugby is played in 26 countries and is under development in several more.
The end of the season for BC Wheelchair Rugby and the Kelowna KOs marked a super successful year !
The KOs Roll n Bowl and Silent Auction was a great success where we raised over $1100. Over 50 people shared in sport demos and Glo Bowling and K-Town Pizza…. a great day of sporting fun and mucho laughter – pretty good for only $25 !
2 weeks later, our 2 BC Provincial Teams and a total of 11 Canadian Wheelchair Rugby Division 1 and 2 Athletes competed in 3 pools in London, ON for the 2014 Coloplast Nationals Competition and our own athletes, Randy LeBlanc and Stu Wymer and Assistant Equipment Manager, Colleen Bryant, helped the BC B Team to win their first GOLD MEDALS and Trophy EVER !!!
We all had looked forward to a break, but funny thing is, most of us didn’t stop. We presented a demo at Bankhead Elementary on May 23 for over 100 kids and teachers (and got all of them into a chair to try out our sport)…so much Happy Noise from all those little tykes !!! And we are already into the second week of track training in our rugby chairs at Capital News Centre and gearing up for Handcycling to start in June.
Check back for updates on our PICS and VIDEOS and COMMUNITY menus for highlights of the Vancouver Invitational, the KOs Tournament Hosting here in Kelowna, Nationals, and Bankhead Elementary demo.
May marks the close of another student year and we offer many thanks and good wishes for our UBCO Practicum Students Krystle Carpenter and Blair Bosscher. Your smiles and friendship and assistance to the team will certainly be missed as you continue your career.
Above photo – Blair (back left), Krystle (2nd from left, front)
On Easter Weekend, the KOs travelled to beautiful Victoria for the Provincial Playoffs, where Kelowna battled for the Bronze Medal against Squamish !! The spirit of teamwork is so apparent with this great group of volunteers and athletes, that it is becoming contagious !! Where ever we go, you can be sure the KOs have the largest cheer squad and the biggest team. Our coaching philosophy enables every athlete to compete equally, giving everyone lots of court time ! The team continues to develop and grow with every practice and every tournament and as the season wraps up, we all look forward to seeing you at our Annual Roll n Bowl and Silent Auction !
To celebrate our year of success and display that competitive, family fun nature we are inviting you to attend our 2014 ANNUAL ROLL – n – BOWL and Silent Auction Fundraising Event. Along with the Silent Auction, this year includes GLO Bowling, Disco Music, and Laser Lights at Capri Valley Lanes (7:30-10pm) !! COME JOIN US and your $25 admission will include 2 games, shoes and adaptive ramps (if you need them), and PIZZA ! Because if you attend the ‘Roll’ portion of the event at Parkinson Rec Centre (4-7pm), you’re gonna need to eat after this workout !! CALL 250-808-2955 for info
COMING UP !!!
OUR VERY EXCITING AND SUPER-FUN-FANTASTIC Annual Roll n Bowl…
Spend an afternoon and evening with us at Parkinson Rec Centre 4-7pm and come try the sport of wheelchair rugby in an open scrimmage for ALL ages ! Wheelchair Rugby is also co-gender, so girls can come kick the guys butts . We’ll have our Silent Auction items on display where the bidding will begin !
Then we’ll head over to Capri Valley Lanes for some pizza and 2 games of GLO Bowling and more Auction Bidding….and the Lucky Winner Is…..’—-’ !
We already have some great auction sponsors, with more rolling in : CyclePath Gift Certificate, Nature’s Fare Gift Certificate, Lake Country Liquor Store Wine and Picnic Basket, Home Depot Gift Cards, Target Gift Card, Rona Gift Card and His n Hers Tool Pouch, Coopers Foods Keurig Coffee Maker, CycleShop Sport Apparel/ Ripzone Sunglasses, Health Point Laser Clinic Skin Rejeuvenation Treatment, Source Snowboard, Global Fitness Membership, H2O/YMCA Family Fun Passes, The Wellness Spa Massage, RiverCity Cycle Bike Apparel, Iris SPY McCoy Sunglasses, JB’s Samsonite 4 wheel Travel Briefcase, Petsmart Puppy Slippers, Okanagan Acupuncture Gift Card, Tropical Beaches Suntan Gift Card, Shannon Lakes Golf Package, Bylands Simon Chang Handbag, …
Admission for bowling is $25/person and includes shoes, pizza, games. Adaptive bowling ramps are available for those feeling shaky in their ball handling.
Contact us to register – if you don’t have a full team, we can help you build one !!
250-808-2955…drop ins on the day are also welcome, but getting numbers ahead of time will help us reserve lanes
KOs Coaches, Randy LeBlanc and Colleen Bryant, along with other Canadian development team Coaches , Cal (Quebec), Ian Chan (Vancouver), and Josh Tessier (Victoria) attended a very informative Coaching Clinic with Canada National Wheelchair Rugby Coaches, Kevin Orr and Patrick Cote prior to the Vancouver Invitational where 8 North American Teams will compete in a 3 day tournament. After 3 days of Team Canada tryouts, the professionalism and dedication of the entire team was obvious as we spent an afternoon with them.
The value added to local programs to assist Coaching Development in an environment such as this, provides huge positives towards the knowledge and motivation through open discussion and well organized presentation and demos with 17 team members.
Even the National Athletes commented on the value of getting back to basics through demonstrations and presentations they made to the Junior Coaches. Being able to verbalize their understanding of techniques and drills engaged their own leadership skills as Kevin empowered learning by all.
We are super excited to have hosted the BC Development & League’s Tournament #3 right here in Kelowna , April 4, 5, 6 !
Check out this link to coverage of the tournament by Global TV News
With great community support by Q103.1 to helping us advertise the event and tremendous dedication of our athletes and volunteers, we have grown from a handful of members and 1 volunteer to more than 2 dozen regular participants over the past 2 years ! Randy and I would like to thank everyone for your enthusiasm in helping us build this club to such a successful program in a short amount of time !!
Thanks to everyone who volunteered and the audience for attending the tournament and our sponsors, Coloplast, ViaSport and City of Kelowna, and Podium Fund for support funding enabling these amazing athletes in having fun and playing hard !
We proudly acknowledge the contributions of our Sponsors and look forward to continued partnerships with active living organizations and our wonderful volunteers !
- Colleen Bryant, Program Manager
- Head Coach, Randy LeBlanc
On Thursday, March 6, 1:30-4:00 pm, at UBC Okanagan South Gym,
The KOs athletes and organizers presented a Wheelchair Rugby demonstration with students and instructors to discuss and engage in this aggressive full contact team sport.
SHAW Cable Host, Doug Brown, and Cameraman, Chris, made the event especially exciting as Doug reported, on location, from the UBCO South Gym (KOs clips air on Shaw Okanagan for only a few days beginning Apr.13, and then on youtube).
Doug crashed and bashed around with us while our Official, Colleen, wore a microphone to describe the goals and fouls while refereeing the game.
Okanagan College students even attended as we all shared a fast paced afternoon of hard training and scrimmage. We had a full compliment of volunteers including Gary Crowe, Wes Quist, Blair Bosscher, Jason James, and Colleen Bryant. Thanks to all ! Without volunteers and organizers, valuable programs like this would not survive.
This was a full afternoon of engaging hands on experience and knowledge of nurses, doctors, students, instructors to understand function and capabilities of quadriplegics and paraplegics. Guests were encouraged to investigate muscles that do and don’t fire and how much that can change on an individual basis. We demonstrated varying hand functions and use of different adaptive and safety products used for balancing and stabilization of the athletes, introduction to the custom made sport chairs, including the financial / comfort / performance values.
This awareness, along with realizing what it takes to keep up on the court, was quite an eyeopener for some !!
The KOs braved the storms of the Coquihalla to travel to Surrey Guildford Rec Centre March 1-2, 2014 to compete in the second BC WC Rugby League games weekend.
As always, it was a great weekend of bonding, team building, and fun times !! Andrew Davis joined us to complete our highpoint lineup and we traded Paul to compliment Vancouver and Victoria lowpoint lineups. Now, you might think Paul would try to help his fellow underdogs score a few points and make some mistakes, but there he was, so many times, jabbing a pick into our ballcarrier’s wheels and even scoring a few goals of his own !! Way to go Paul ! And thanks Andrew ! Always a pleasure to play with you as we learn to play with the BC pros !
OUR NEXT TOURNEY IS RIGHT HERE IN KELOWNA !!!
April 4-6, 2014 at Spring Valley Middle School on Ziprick Road beside Cosco
Visit us soon for highlights on more events and upcoming demos !!
Crazy !… it started out as just an average day but what turned out to be the highest attendance at a practice that we’ve ever had.
Although we’ve only had the program truly running for a year and a half, the Kelowna KOs are finding there is a growing interest in our sport program. Thanks to generous community, provincial, federal, and individual supporters and our Volunteers (take a look at our Community and Sponsors Page in the top menu), we have grown from an average of 4-5 people at practices, to what turned out to be 14 people in rugby chairs, 2 coaches, 1 official, an assisting official, and 4 sideline members and spectators, plus JacksonDog !
Due to the sheer numbers of people, sport chairs, and day chairs, we found ourselves at game speed from the moment we rolled into the building. So much fun !
We look forward to seeing more of you out there to fill the chairs we still have available !!
Coaches Attend Clinic in Penticton
Head Coach, Randy LeBlanc and Assistant Coach and Team Manager, Colleen Bryant, attended their third leg of their National Coaching Certification Program on January 24, 25 at the Penticton Community Rec Centre. With Canadian Sport Institute/ Pacific Sport Master Coach and Instructor, Marc Bowles presenting valuable learning tools and engaging conversation, Randy took the opportunity to demonstrate some wheelchair rugby skills to other coaches that otherwise may not have known what it takes to be a disabled athlete.
Coming Up : February 22, 23, 2014, the team and the Coaches of the Kelowna KOs will all get to learn from the Masters of Rugby as Provincial Head Coach, Adam Frost, National Athlete and Provincial Coach, Ian Chan, as well as Canadian Sport Institute Master Coach, Marc Bowles present an intensive 2 day workshop for everyone to advance their technique in drills, skills, and practicing the complex sport of Wheelchair Rugby ! All competition team athletes and guest members are welcome….Come help us work on our A-Bilities together !!
Then on March 13, additional Coach training will be hosted by BC Wheelchair Sports prior to the Vancouver Invitational at the Richmond Oval, and led by
Canadian National Team Coach, Kevin Orr !!
WOW ! ! Leaps and Bounds in all aspects of team building….. LET’S Go KOs !
The KOs were in Vancouver January 9-12 with a full roster of eager athletes that played hard and had so much fun !! Coaches and Provincial tryout members arrived Thursday night to use all the might of their fall training skills to compete against athletes from across BC to win a spot on the Provincial A & B teams. Congrats to Randy LeBlanc and Stu Wymer of the KOs !!
Friday the rest of the team arrived and pumped up their adrenaline at the Vancouver/St.Louis hockey game. Joining the team at this competition we had athletes Shawn Baxter, Stu Wymer, Randy LeBlanc, Scott James, Berni Quist, the youngest Canadian Wheelchair Rugby athlete our 10 year old Josh Dyck, and guest Dominic Shaw from Calgary, along with Colleen Bryant as Coach and Nicole Renkema as Equipment Manager.
We had a blast and were very thankful for the mentorship of the other teams’ players to help us in our progression as the newest WC Rugby team in Canada.
The KOs season really started in summer with our City Park Demo where we introduced some newbies to our sport (CHECK OUT our Pics and Vids Section).
Since then we’ve begun practices, training and testing for Provincial prospect athletes, and welcomed the efforts of our very knowledgeable and professional UBCO student Lana Finley (left).
With great enthusiasm in assisting the Coaches and Equipment Manager in demonstrating techniques for strengthening and conditioning and reminding us of proper breathing and nutrition and with a bright and encouraging smile, Lana is on her way to a promising new career in Athletics Rehabilitation !
She has adopted our Train to Win philosophy and quickly became a part of the team by volunteering through her busy courses and soccer schedules. Thanks, Lana !
In every sport there are opportunities to learn and grow. And the Okanagan is the place to be to find a sport for you… Our youngest member, 10 year old Josh and his mom, Bernie joined our team together in January 2013. We are super excited to be a part of Josh’s mentorship ! Wheelchair Rugby isn’t just for adults, and it is co-gender, making it a great opportunity for families to play and train together.
What a fantastic afternoon playing WC Rugby in the middle of summer outdoors at the beach …. with the wind blowing and smiles and people everywhere checking out this smashing good time !! Many thanks to Simone Manfredi for helping out !!
Did you know Quadriplegics and Paraplegics generally don’t sweat above their injury level ?
Check out our newest Video in our Pics and Vids menu, created by James Hektner while at the City Park outdoor demo event …. and join us on Facebook where Coaches Randy LeBlanc and Colleen Bryant keep us up to date with practices and invitations !
June 27-30,2013 BCWSA and Kamloops Sport Council hosted the first Kamloops Legacy Games !! 6 Canadian Regional Performance Teams competed at TCC….Okanagan Team was there sporting the new jerseys sponsored by Hybrid Elevator (a custom elevator company that is right here in Kelowna)…although we didn’t know there were awards at the end of the tourney and we had taken our jerseys off…Ooops ! Missed photo op
KOs members: Randy LeBlanc and Stu Wymer combined a team with Victoria members: Calen McDougall, Jordan Dycke, Jeff Scott, Kaspar Shouldice, to form the Okanagan/Island Team where they played hard to win the Bronze, even against our man, Scott James, who joined Manitoba to build a team. Lots of fun seeing everyone learning to work with players they’ve never played with before !! But, hey, that’s the way we roll – Kelowna is a very open group of people that wanna have fun first
After a loss against Edmonton in the first game of the tourney, then a big win on Calgary, a win on Manitoba, and a loss against Seattle , our final game on Sunday was still in the balance. Many thanks to Kelowna’s guest Coach, Mark Sheppard. In the end, Okanagan/Island team proposed an unbeatable team strength and fierce presence to win our way to the Bronze Medal over Calgary and Manitoba !!
The Okanagan team was determined to prove their abilities, when they played all low-point lineups of 0.5-1.5 classifications (which are all defensive chairs BTW). When you notice a lineup like that on the court, you, go, ‘Wow ! Now, that’s teamwork !’
SCI-BC sponsored a couple really great trips for family and friends this summer !! On June 21-23 over 50 people attended a BBQ, Kayaking, Boating, Waterskiing, Camping weekend ! Some of us had never tried camping with a disability before and it turned out to be pretty easy (with our always wonderful helping hands). It was a fantastic adventure !! There are many great pics to see on Accessible Okanagan’s Facebook Page…Like us on Facebook to check it out
The weekend of Handcycling and Peak to Peak Gondola ride in Whistler July 15-18 at the Athlete’s Village Centre was amazing – the sights alone were something to see and the drive along the westcoast to or from this amazing part of the world is breathtaking…
Notably, the staff at the dorm style hotel of the Athlete’s Cnetre is absolutely great. Rooms vary in size and the accessibility and rates are primo for travelling athletes! We were able to bring food for everyone and Colleen and Nicole were up early each day to prepare a great breakfast and get our 6 participants on their way. There’s a bus right out front that took us to Whistler Village (a few times) for fun and other adventures and considering we were in the mountains, it was extremely accessible everywhere we went …
Big thanks to James and Shelley at SCI-BC for your sponsorship !!
On JUNE 8th, 2013 KOs hosted an afternoon of Wheelchair Rugby in a 3 hour scrimmage !! Amazingly, on this beautiful Kelowna day, everyone was still energized and enthusiastic about the Bowling afterward…a little sweaty, hungry, and thirsty, but nothing a beer and some pizza couldn’t quench… The eagerness of the player’s and volunteers was a wonderful sight of a busy group working together to play hard at rugby, then relax and enjoy some laughs and a whole different adventure in bowling !
The Silent Auction, our guests, and our many wonderful sponsors helped us raise just over $1300. Special thanks to Hybrid Elevator who sponsored our new jerseys, Capri Valley Lanes staff, the Hektner family, the Kannan family, the James family, the Quist family, friends, athletes : Randy, Josh, Bernie, Stu, Scott, Jubal, Tyler, Paul, Clayton, Shawn, plus volunteers : Nicole, Wes, Misty, Katlyn, Alan, Matt, Sam, Lorna, and of course, our Coordinator & Referee – Colleen, and Coach-Randy !
As well thanks to : H2O/YMCA, Parkinson Rec, The Greenery, Shannon Lake Golf, c3style, Creative Healing Chiropractic, Healthpoint Wellness Laser Clinic, The Wellness Spa, Global Fitness, Summerhill Winery, IRIS Eyewear, Prestige Inn, St.John Ambulance, StuArt, Nicole, ABC Hobbies, Sun City Physio, Kelowna Manual Therapy, Pyramid Brewery, Neuro Rehab, the Old Bike Shop Cafe, ViaSport/The Province of BC/City of Kelowna/Challenged Athletes Foundation/BC Rehab/Canadian Paralympic Committee/Own the Podium/Doek Shirreff/Gerry Bryant for sponsorship and support funding.
April 6,7 was an exciting weekend for Calgary and for the KOs ! It was Calgary’s first time hosting a 5 team tournament and a huge hit thanks to their Program Coordinator, who is also the KOs Program Coordinator !! Thanks Miss Colleen Bryant ! You are truly amazing ! Colleen is also an IWRF training referee and a very speedy equipment manager – talent beyond just skill ….
Kelowna team members, Randy LeBlanc (coach and athlete), Stu Wymer (captain), Scott James, Paul Thomas, Tyler Valstar, and special guests Jordan Dycke from Victoria, Courtney On-Ur-Man Keenan, and Yanick Racicot from Quebec all competed in 3 games on Saturday and started strong, winning their first game against BC Pacific. In the second game against Edmonton they held their own and did really well in the 3rd game against Coach Randy’s almamator, Calgary (actually Randy also plays with Edmonton members on team Alberta….another very busy rugby player and committed athlete !!). Sunday started off with some very competitive scoring against Saskatchewan, but by then, Saskatchewan was playing to win the points tourney and their high performance athletes played nearly the entire game. Though Kelowna struggled this game, they kept their confidence and their cool and played hard and with some huge smiles on their faces and a win they never quite expected !!
By far, the positive attitudes of these players outshines anything else and being the newest team in Canada, they have made a tremendous progression and really enjoy working with other great players across Canada.
Really great teams at the invitational this year !! As a new Referee our own Coordinator has been able to meet more quads and more really amazing individuals in this sport. I have to say that, I was nervous, excited, and extremely busy all weekend, but not as busy as our organizer and Head Official , Kevin Bowie. Thanks for an extraordinary weekend of action Kevin. You and your staff put on an awesome event !!
The BC Provincial WC Rugby Tryouts were held here in Kelowna at St.Joseph’s Elementary, then 4 BC Teams competed at Constable Neil Bruce School on Saturday and Sunday … What a workout weekend !
The development of the Kelowna Okanagan Team and the other BC Development League Teams showed great improvement ! Coach/Player, Randy and Captain Stu lead the team confidently while under pressure. Newest member, Paul scored 3 goals, took his first penalty, and popped an opponent’s tire all in his first day ! Jubal, who never stops smiling, and our rock star, Tyler, worked closely to defend and make some great passes and catches to score goals when least expected for defensive players. Our Team Coordinator and Equipment Manager, Colleen has begun reffing and only got run over once…don’t be surprised – when you’re around wheelchairs all the time, you’re bound to get a foot run over once in awhile !! … Nicole took on a few roles changing flat tires, volunteering with shot/time clocks and assisting transfers…
Mustafa from Squamish and Pete from Vancouver took home the most improved player awards, donated by Kamloops Ice Racing !…..
…there were some exhilarating spills between the other teams and they helped teach us a thing or two with Ian Chan, from Canada National Team coaching the Squamish and Vancouver Teams to victory (we think)….actually, we were hardly worried about who was winning, since we’re all just there having fun and building a great bunch of players and athletes !
The Kelowna KOs and the BC Wheelchair Rugby League supports athlete and recreational development interests to include paraplegics in primarily a quadriplegic sport for both local tournaments and tournaments in BC. The tournament at Guilford Rec Centre on January 12, 13 was a huge confidence booster for our full team lineup including guest members Peter, Kaspar and Sarah. The team worked really hard (as always) to win the tournament weekend 2 and 1 and only lost the last game by one point !! Way to go KOs !!
Next, we will all gather again in Kelowna to compete on February 16,17 in West Kelowna !! Join your local team NOW !! New players and volunteers are always welcome, and thanks to BCWSA and the Calgary Inferno we have extra chairs on loan to assist our programming.
Team Canada is training in Leeds, London, UK for the upcoming Paralympics. Long-time team member and Kelowna local, Garrett Hickling has been announced as the flagbearer representing Canada. We hope to see Garrett back in Kelowna with his 5th Olympic Medal !!
4 BC Teams met in Kamloops July 7/8, 2012 at Sahali Secondary School to literally SMASHITUP ! in eight games of Wheelchair Rugby. Calgary team partnered with the Kelowna team, along with Vancouver, Victoria, and Squamish competing in this first Okanagan summer tournament !! It was a hit and it was hot !! In 37 degree weather, the athletes proved their abilities to conquer each other and the heat by playing hard and giving it their all ! This development tournament will be back through the year and will be hosted in each of the 4 team’s cities – watch for it !
Wheelchair Rugby is a team sport for male and female quadriplegic athletes. It is an invasion and evasion game, the object being to carry the ball across the opposing team’s goal line to score. Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that! Watch our videos to see all the thrills and spills of the sport. more
The Paralympic Games are the second largest sporting event in the world following the Olympics. In 2012, the Paralympics will be staged in London from August 29-September 9th. The Olympic Park has been developed in the Stratford area of London, and will host thousands of people throughout July, August and September. more
This June, wheelchair rugby returns to Richmond. From June 18th to 23rd, the Olympic Oval will once again welcome the top wheelchair rugby teams in the world, who will battle it out at the 2012 Canada Cup International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament. more