The first of two test events for the 2010 International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) World Wheelchair Rugby Championships took place from 27-29 March for the first time at the Richmond Olympic Oval in Canada.
The tenth annual Vancouver Invitational Wheelchair Rugby Tournament finished with the Division One match between Ontario and Quebec. The trophy went to Quebec, winning 58:30 over Ontario. Quebec coach Benoit Labrecque said that his team put more emphasis on technique and strategy at home, and that it subsequently helped them to win at the tournament.
The Division Two title went to Seattle, winning 56-37 against Alberta. The host British Columbia team failed to advance to Division One after losing a close match 50-49 against Ontario.
Teams competing at the test event included the Portland Pounders, Seattle Slam, Saskatchewan SaskSquash, Alberta Steel Wheels, Quebec Impact, Ontario Thunder and two other teams from British Columbia.
The second test event for the 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, the Coloplast Canadian Wheelchair Rugby Championships, will again take place at the Richmond Oval from 8-10 May 2009. The 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships will be from 17-26 September 2010.
At 47,526 square metres, the Richmond Olympic Oval is one of the most impressive indoor competition venues for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games (Speed Skating). Following the 2010 Games, the Richmond Oval will transform into a multi-sport and wellness complex to service sport organizations and provide the Greater Vancouver area with a facility for sport medicine, sport science, healthy living promotion and injury rehabilitation.
Also as a post-Games consideration, the Oval’s main activity area can be transformed into an indoor field house divided into ice, hard wood courts and turf sections for a wide variety of dry land activities and ice sports including Speed Skating and Short Track Speed Skating. The Richmond Oval also meets or exceeds national accessibility standards to enable adaptive programmes and Paralympic-calibre events to be held in the facility, including the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in 2010.
Wheelchair Rugby was developed in Canada during the 1970s by athletes with quadriplegia. As of 2008 the sport is practiced in 25 countries, and is under development in at least three others.