Canadian women’s canoe polo team prepares for first World Games appearance – Edmonton

For the first time, a Canadian women’s canoe polo team will be travelling to the World Games, and the team features a roster made up exclusively of Albertans.

Later this month the Canadians will join teams from New Zealand, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy and hosts Poland in the city of Wroclaw.

The World Games, held every four years, feature 30 sports — many of which, including canoe polo, aren’t in the Olympics.

“I think it’s a good honour,” said Mary Lukasik, a Canadian player from St. Albert. “We’ve trained so hard for so many years and now we finally get to go to the top level of competition. I think for a lot of the girl’s on the team, this will be their retirement.”

Mary Lukasik is one of eight players from Alberta on the Canadian canoe polo team. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

The senior women’s team qualified for the World Games in September when it finished eighth in Syracuse, Italy at the Canoe Polo World Championships. The senior men’s team didn’t qualify after finishing 17th.

Canoe polo is similar to water polo. Instead of swimming through the water, players sit in kayaks and are allowed to use their paddles to retrieve or block the ball.

Teams score points by throwing the ball with their hands into a net above the goaltender, who is also in a kayak. Games get physical and at times chaotic as kayaks collide.

‘I thought it would be a long shot, but then crazy things happened and I made it.’
– Kassandra Reaume

For the World Games in Wroclaw, Canoe Kayak Canada won’t just be sending members of the senior women’s team.

“At the World Games there’s only one division,” said Brad Cameron, coach of the Canadian national women’s team.

“In Canada we’ve taken our best players from under-21 and our best players from our senior women’s team and combined them to give us our best chance possible.”

Teen prospect playing with senior women

Of the eight female players selected to represent Canada, the youngest is 17-year-old Kassandra…

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