It's better late than never for Fort St. John's new wheelchair basketball club. The FSJ Energizers Wheelchair Basketball Club launches with a drop-in session at Dr. Kearney, September 12.
Rob Stiles of Northern Adapted Sports, who's starting the club, had planned to launch a club soon after the 2020 B.C. Winter Games in Fort St. John, hoping to translate some of the Games momentum into regular wheelchair basketball games and competition in town. Unfortunately, public health restrictions prevented that happening until now.
"Obviously we were hoping to get things running sooner than that, but like most sports we weren't really sure when we could start. We have some interested, and we'll put it out there, see who comes and will move forward from there," Stiles said.
Stiles said it can take longer to drum up regular interest in para sports, but that it's a case where, "if you build it they will come. You need to have the equipment there to have any hope of having something in the future."
The Northern Adapted Sports Association received $3,550 in 2020 BC Winter Games legacy funds to start a club in Fort St. John. Fort St. John already had wheelchairs, thanks to Bo Hedges and the wheelchair basketball tournament he and his family usually put on.The tournament last took place in 2019. The funding will go toward storing the chairs and renting facilities.
"Especially with para sports in general, your target audience is for those individuals with disabilities, but it's inclusive and open to all," said Stiles, noting that players of all ages are welcome and will play in one group together.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org