Children, Seniors and Social Development
January 10, 2018

Two Athletes from Newfoundland and Labrador Inducted into the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association Hall of Fame

The Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association (CWSA) has inducted two individuals from this province into its Hall of Fame. Joanne MacDonald and Mel Fitzgerald recently received the honours at a ceremony in Ottawa.

Raised in St. Mary’s, Joanne became involved in wheelchair sports in 1972, with her first national competition taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1973. Throughout 12 years of competition, she won countless medals, representing Canada at three Pan American Games, two super challenges, three international wheelchair basketball competitions and the International Stoke Manville Games. She was a member of the women’s wheelchair national basketball team from 1975 to 1984 and is a three-time Paralympian.

Born in Trepassey, Mel became involved in wheelchair sports in 1977. Over the course of eight years, he excelled as a wheelchair track athlete. He won marathons in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Honolulu and represented Canada at two Paralympics, two Pan American Games and the 1984 Gold Cup in Australia. He won gold medals at each of these competitions and set two world records at the 1980 Paralympics.

Throughout 2017, the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association celebrated several milestones in the history of wheelchair sport in Canada. The 70-50-40 event recognized three major highlights in its history, including 70 years since the first activity in wheelchair sport started at Deer Lodge Rehabilitation Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba; 50 years since the CWSA was officially incorporated in 1967; and 40 years since the Canadian Heritage Sport of ‘Murderball,’ or Wheelchair Rugby as it is now known, was invented in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The association also shared the incredible stories of its history by shining a spotlight on the many athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and staff who have helped shape the organization.

"On behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, I would like to offer my congratulations to Joanne MacDonald and Mel Fitzgerald on being inducted into the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association Hall of Fame. Their athletic accomplishments are extensive and most deserving of this latest honour bestowed upon them. I commend them both on representing our province on the national and international stage, and on serving as role models for other athletes.”
Honourable Lisa Dempster
Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development and Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities

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Learn More
Joanne MacDonald biography - external link icon

Mel Fitzgerald biography - external link icon

Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association - external link icon

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Media contact
Krista Dalton
Children, Seniors and Social Development
709-729-3768, 685-6492

2018 01 10                              2:25 p.m.