Sarah Maltby takes a shot during the Harbour City Slam at the Oliver Woods Community Centre on May 11. The play day was organized to try to attract new participants to the sport. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Wheelchair basketball in Nanaimo accessible to all abilities

Harbour City Slam play day introduced newcomers to the sport

Wheelchair basketball in Nanaimo could use a new wave of players.

The Nanaimo Tsunami partnered with B.C. Wheelchair Basketball, including Comox Valley and Victoria programs, to present the Harbour City Slam earlier this month.

The play day at Oliver Woods Community Centre on May 11 included instructions and games as the Tsunami look to build their numbers.

Jocelyn Maffin, a Tsunami player and one of the organizers of the Harbour City Slam, said it can be rare for smaller communities to be able to have wheelchair basketball programs, so it’s important to keep participation numbers healthy.

“Without those opportunities, there’s not a lot of adapted sport for people with disabilities like myself to play,” Maffin said. “So getting more people involved is a really crucial part of being able to offer wheelchair basketball.”

People with disabilites and able-bodied people play alongside one another. Maffin said about half the participants at this month’s event hadn’t played the sport, and some were using a wheelchair for the first time.

“You don’t need any experience – able bodies, disabled can all play. We have the wheelchairs, so we’ll show you how to use them. We’re a community team so we focus on everyone having fun and getting good exercise,” she said. “When we play in the league or go in tournaments, sure, we play to win, but there’s room for all levels.”

Michelle Stilwell, Parksville-Qualicum MLA and a former Paralympic gold medallist in wheelchair basketball and racing, was playing and helping out at the Harbour City Slam event and said it puts a smile on her face. She met her husband through wheelchair basketball – he was participating as an able-bodied player – and she said some people don’t know that it’s an integrated sport.

“So many of these people are brothers and sisters or friends, that are able-bodied that have a friend that live with a disability,” Stilwell said.

She said the sport can also appeal to people who are aging and may not be able to run, or run as fast, and wheelchair basketball can keep them in the game.

“It’s a great way to stay healthy and active no matter what your level of ability,” Stilwell said.

For more information about the Nanaimo Tsunami, visit

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Karen DeJong shoots toward the basket during the Harbour City Slam at the Oliver Woods Community Centre on May 11. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Just Posted

Nanaimo, Lantzville, Parksville, Qualicum partner on studying child care needs

Union of B.C. Municipalities provides $125,000 grant

June has been Nanaimo’s driest on record so far

Predictions for rain this week could bring temporary relief

RCMP make arrest following break-in at Parksville’s Log Cabin General Store

Police credit tips from public for helping with case

Foot ferry service in Nanaimo won’t happen this summer

Island Ferries says it still needs to secure funding

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Rec users are not entitled to access to range

DND land is excluded from local control, says letter writer

VIDEO: Tributes flow on 10th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death

Jackson received a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009. He died at age 50

Pedestrian struck by vehicle in Stz’uminus dies from injuries

A male pedestrian was struck in the early morning of June 25

Thieves steal tents meant for Nanaimo school’s Grade 7 camping trip

Businesses, staff and parents ensure trip goes on

Campers hailed heroes in rock face rescue at Vancouver Island provincial park

The campers quickly noticed the man in distress and jumped into the river to swim across.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Suggested street names bizarre

Letter writer would be mortified to live on any of Lantzville councillor’s bizarrely named streets

Island Health issues safer drug-use tips ahead of music festival season

Health authority aims to reduce overdose risks at festivals

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Most Read