The recent NBA finals and the victory of the Toronto Raptors has Ontarians beyond excited about basketball. People of all ages and abilities across the province and the country stood behind the Raptors to watch them win #6ixin6, their first ever NBA Championship. Since the NBA Championship, more people might decide to try playing the game. The Wheelchair Basketball Great Lakes Conference League makes play possible for people of all abilities, ages, and skill levels. Players in clubs across Ontario have opportunities to compete or simply to enjoy playing a sport the country loves.
Wheelchair Basketball Great Lakes Conference League
The Wheelchair Basketball Great Lakes Conference League arranges games and skill development programming for three divisions. Therefore, athletes of all ages, abilities, and skill levels can play. Divisions 1 and 2 feature competitive teams while teams in Division 3 play recreationally. Teams of all ages can include female and male players, and players with a disability as well as non-disabled players. Players must be part of the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association (OWSA) in order to participate in league events.
The league hosts monthly tournaments from October to March for competitive players. Recreational players can also participate in monthly events. Some of these events are tournaments, while others are workshops where players can improve their skills. OWSA basketball coaches run the workshops. In addition, the league makes sport wheelchairs available for players who do not have them.
Wheelchair basketball largely follows the same rules as non-disabled basketball. However, the “double dribble” rule does not apply. Moreover, once a player has the ball, they can only push themselves twice before they need to dribble, pass, or shoot it.
Wheelchair basketball players can have different kinds of disability. Some players are full- or part-time wheelchair users, while others only use wheelchairs when they practice or play. Athletes who use their lower bodies during games receive fouls. Contact between wheelchairs is considered player-to-player contact.
Players are given classifications based on their level of physical function. For instance, players with more limited functioning are classified as 1 or 2, while players who can use most or all of their upper bodies during play have classifications of 4 or 4.5. Five-player teams must have total classifications of below 14.
The Wheelchair Basketball Great Lakes Conference League gives players throughout Ontario the chance to compete and develop their skill in the game and aspire to be like their new heroes, the Raptors.