(Ottawa, Ont.) Rising stars in Canada’s women’s high performance wheelchair basketball program will benefit from having a charismatic leader with a wealth of personal experience and success in the sport when they compete in the upcoming Women’s U25 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.
Ross Norton’s trophy case as a player includes gold medals from back-to-back Paralympic Games and a World Championship, as well as the Canada Games, Canadian Wheelchair Basketball League Finals, and numerous National Wheelchair Basketball Championships as a stalwart of the Alberta Northern Lights. Since retiring as a player in 2008, the resident of Edmonton, Alta. has leveraged his technical knowledge and passion for the game as a builder and coach within the provincial sport system. Now Wheelchair Basketball Canada is looking for some of Norton’s winning ways to rub-off on his contemporaries as he takes over as head coach of Canada’s U25 Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team.
“Ross is a proven winner, a tremendous leader on and off the court, and an individual with exceptional perspective and vision,” said Wheelchair Basketball Canada Executive Director Wendy Gittens. “Canada is focused on developing the very best wheelchair basketball athletes in the world and we are excited to have Ross steering our under 25 women toward success.”
“I’m excited by the opportunity to coach some of the finest young up-and-coming female wheelchair basketball players in the world. The support system and training opportunities here in Canada are second to none, which makes me all the more eager to begin working directly with the athletes and preparing the team to reach it’s potential starting with the national team selection camp in December,” said Norton.
As head coach, Norton will oversee all aspects of the U25 Women’s Team in their pursuit of podium finishes at major international competitions, up to and including the 2015 World Championship, while contributing to the physical, psychological and social development of each athlete. In his role, he will work closely with Wheelchair Basketball Canada’s National Academy and Senior Women’s program.
“We are excited to have Ross leading our U25 women in this next year. He has been a key part of the excellence in our programs over the past two decades. His knowledge of what it takes to be the very best will serve as a great example for our U25 athletes,” said Wheelchair Basketball Canada High Performance Director Mike Frogley.
Norton is a member of both the Wheelchair Basketball Canada and Alberta Sports Hall of Fames (team, wheelchair basketball). He currently resides in Edmonton, where he remains deeply involved in the regional sports scene. As a local wheelchair basketball and sledge hockey coach, and as the community development coordinator with the Canadian Paraplegic Association of Alberta, he has worked tirelessly to create opportunities and foster the growth of numerous athletes.
Upon acceptance of the coaching position, Norton steps down as Athlete Representative on the Wheelchair Basketball Canada Board of Directors – a position he held since 2010.
Canada hosted the inaugural Women’s U25 World Wheelchair Basketball Championship in St. Catharines, Ontario in 2011, and finished fourth. The next edition of the tournament is expected to take place in the summer of 2015, but the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation has not yet set the specific dates and location.
About Wheelchair Basketball Canada
Wheelchair Basketball Canada is the national sports governing body responsible for the organization of the sport in Canada. It is a non-profit, charitable organization that is committed to excellence in the development, support and promotion of wheelchair basketball programs and services for all Canadians from grassroots to high performance. Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport in which Canada is held in high esteem around the world for winning a combined six gold, one silver, and one bronze medal in the last six Paralympic Games.