Ability360, 360 Phoenix Heat to host wheelchair rugby tournament

The 360 Phoenix Heat will host a six-team lineup from the U.S. and Canada in the three-day Rugby Wave wheelchair rugby tournament, Feb. 7-9 at the Ability360 Sports & Fitness Center, 5031 E. Washington St. in Phoenix.

Ability360 in Phoenix is hosting a wheelchair rugby tournament that will feature the hometown 360 Phoenix Heat. (Submitted photo)

Joining the three-time national champions 360 Heat are 2018 national champion Arizona Wildcats, the 2017 runner-up Minnesota Steelheads of Golden Valley, Minnesota, the London Annihilators and Maple Leafs, both from Canada, and the Lakeshore Demolition, representing the Lakeshore Foundation of Birmingham, Alabama.

There is no charge to attend the tournament, which begins bracket play on two courts at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7. Eighteen matches are scheduled during the three-day tournament, according to a press release.

The Ability360-sponsored Heat open tournament play against the Maple Leafs at 10 a.m.

Members of the 360 Heat are Joe Jackson and Scott Hogsett of Chandler; Jordan Belote of St. John’s; Ernie Chun of Waipahu, Hawaii; Brian Sperle of Hayward, California; Jake Zunich of Silver City, New Mexico; Ben Gross of Dunstable, Massachusetts; CJ Brown of Seattle; Scrap Smith of The Bronx in New York City; Kory Puderbaugh of Boise, Idaho; and Shin Shimakawa of Tokorozawa, Saitama Japan.

“This is a very strong, very deep field of competitors,” Tournament Director Katie Ritter said in a prepared statement.

Games are scheduled Thursday and Friday at 1, 2:30, 5 and 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 10, 11:30 and 1:30, when the games for third, fourth, fifth and sixth place will get underway. The championship game is at 3 p.m., a release states.

“These are world class athletes competing at the highest level in a sport requiring skill, stamina and strength,” Ms. Ritter said.

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