This year marks the 40th anniversary of the CanAm Rugby Tournament in Saranac Lake/Lake Placid, the largest rugby tournament in the western hemisphere. Beginning in 1973, the tourney has expanded to include over 100 teams annually, added brackets for women, college, social sides, and premier clubs, and provided age brackets for the most populated levels (including an over 60’s group!). However, as part of the 40th anniversary weekend, the CanAm Organizing Committee is proud to announce the debut of its Quad Rugby bracket.
Quad Rugby, or as it is known in Canada, Wheelchair Rugby, is a team sport for both male and female athletes with mobility-related disabilities in at least three limbs. It is a unisex sport with all players competing in manual wheelchairs. There are both offensive and defensive chairs depending on the player’s position and/or particular strengths. The game was invented in 1976 in Winnipeg, Canada, and began in the United States (US) in 1979. As the two most active countries in the sport, the rivalry between Canada and the US has reached legendary proportions as they are consistent medal round finalists and opponents in the quadrennial World Championships and Paralympic Games. Currently, out of the 25 nations participating, the US is ranked first and the Canadians third. The Wheelchair Rugby Federation has an annual circuit of matches and the hope is that with this inaugural match at the 40th anniversary of the CanAm Tourney, Saranac Lake/Lake Placid will become an annual fixture for the federation.
This year’s match features the Ottawa Stingers versus the Northeast Passage Wildcats. The US team, hailing from New Hampshire (NH), features Ryan Coy, Alexi Macias, Mike Wright, Alison Levine, and Ashley Perkins. The Canadian representatives are Reid Mulligan, Corey Jalbert, Dwayne Besharah, Steve Menard, and Carl Girard. The referees will be Chandler Bullard and Raymond Besharah, and the Equipment Manager (aka, the Mechanic) will be Marie-Claude Menard.
The game will be held Friday August 2nd at 7:00 pm at the North Country Community College (NCCC) gymnasium.
The event is being sponsored by the CanAm Organizing Committee, Paul Smith’s College, NCCC and St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation Center. Admission is free, however, donations will be contributed to spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury research. The match is being dubbed as the 1st annual CanAm Cup match between the US and Canada.
Quad Rugby was first showcased in the 2005 documentary “Murderball”. This is the North Country’s chance to see it live in our backyard. Please join us Rugby Weekend, August 2 through 4 in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, especially Friday night, August 3, at 7:00 pm at NCCC as we welcome the Ottawa and NH teams for the first ever Quad Rugby match in the 40 year history of the CanAm Rugby Tournament.
North Country Community College (NCCC)