Brian McPhate’s Family Donates Wheelchair Tennis Chair To Honour His Legacy

The legacy of multi-sport Paralympian Brian McPhate will live on in our equipment loan program. Brian’s family has donated a tennis wheelchair and two rackets to BC Wheelchair Sports Association. Thanks to their generosity, people with disabilities will have the opportunity to play without the financial barrier of purchasing a specialized sports wheelchair.

“Brian was an exceptional athlete and a great person,” said BCWSA Executive Director Gail Hamamoto. “It’s fitting that the equipment that helped him reach the Paralympic level will go on to assist the next generation of Paralympians.”

Brian McPhate was a junior hockey player who had NHL potential before he sustained a spinal cord injury. At the suggestion of his counselor in G.F. Strong, he tried wheelchair rugby. By 1996, he was the captain of the Canadian wheelchair rugby national team when wheelchair rugby made its debut as a demonstration sport at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. His performance helped Canada to earn a silver medal.

After retiring from wheelchair rugby, Brian took up wheelchair tennis. He placed fourth in doubles at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. At the height of his career, he was ranked 8th in quad singles and 4th in quad doubles. Sadly, Brian passed away in September, 2013.

“Brian was kind, generous, helpful and funny,” said his sister Kim Colville. “He always had a positive attitude, even when facing a terminal diagnosis. Brian’s life was not defined by his disability. He accomplished more in his life than I will ever dream of. It was very important to him to be independent.”

After Brian’s death, his family decided to donate his tennis wheelchair along with two rackets to BC Wheelchair Sports Association.

“Sports were a key part of Brian’s life before and after his injury,” said Kim. “Our family wanted to make sure that someone else would have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of participating in sport and maybe one day getting the opportunity to compete at the Paralympic level.”

Kim has a message for the next person to use Brian’s chair.

“Life is what you make it,” she said. “Dedication, hard work and determination are what we need to succeed in life and sports. Our hopes are that this chair will show you that through this motto, you can reach for the sky!”

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