Paralympian Hirschfield busy again

'T-Bone' to his teammates, getting back to work after well deserved break

A dapper Trevor Hirschfield with ‘Mr. Olympics’

A dapper Trevor Hirschfield with ‘Mr. Olympics’

There was a period after returning from the Paralympics in London that Parksville’s Trevor Hirschfield found himself with some rare free time, but those days are done.

“Oh yeah,” he chuckled over the phone from Vancouver while working out at the gym. “All of a sudden your days are full of nothing; for the first month or so after you don’t know really what to fill your time with, but it didn’t last long,” he said, pointing out “I’ve actually been up to a lot since I got home. I did some (public) speaking at Qualicum Beach Middle School, went and said hi to the kids, brought my medal over, and I’m going to be back out (to Oceanside) on the 29th to talk to Brent Johnston with the Parksville/Qualicum Foundation about the possibility of starting up a fund to potentially help kids get involved in sport that might not have the financial backing. Oh and I also went out and got a puppy.”

Her name is Rootbeer and she’s a seven month old English Bulldog.

“She’s great,” he chuckled over the sound of a weight machine.

March 7, Hirschfield, or Hirschy to friends and family here in Parksville and T-Bone to his teammates, was front and centre at the River Rock Show Theatre as part of Sport B.C.’s Athlete of the Year awards where he was named the 2012 Athlete with a Disability of the Year.

A big evening to be sure honouring B.C.’s best athletes, coaches and officials in 17 categories, this year marked the 47th annual, making it Canada’s longest-running sport recognition event. Peter Lawless from Victoria won the Coach of the Year Award and Michelle Stilwell, also of Parksville was a finalist for the Athlete with a Disability of the Year Award.

“That was my first nomination, I was pretty shocked actually, it’s not all the time a team sport athlete is nominated for an individual award.”

“It’s a big event that’s for sure,” Hirschfield, a BSS grad, confirmed. “Really well run and it was pretty amazing to see the people taking part in it, and especially with Brian Williams hosting, I mean Mr. Olympics himself — it was pretty cool.”

According to the Canadian Paralympic Committee website Hirschfield “is considered to be one of the best low-point players in the game of wheelchair rugby. His performance at the London 2012 Paralympics was crucial in Canada’s upset over number-one-ranked USA, which propelled Canada to the gold medal game. Canada finished the Games with a silver medal.”

Now 29, Hirschfield, who played in the World Championships as a rookie in 2006, admits that London “was amazing. Our team really put in a strong effort against the States and pulled it out.”

It was his first Paralympic medal “and the first time I’d ever experienced a win over the U.S. in international play so it was pretty special to me.”

Fast-forward to March 15-17 T-Bone and his Team B.C. teammates were back in action at the 11-team Vancouver International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament played out at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

“It was lots of fun. It’s always good to get back out there,” he said of the tournament which featured teams from across the country in all kinds of different levels. There was an and A pool and a B pool. Team B.C. finished second overall in the A at 3-2 for a silver medal.

Fast forward to today and Hirschfield, who also got engaged to longtime girlfriend Lisa Walker in December, says “we’re back at it now. We just had tryouts last week so our team has officially been selected for this year.”

There were 19 players out vying for 18 positions — 12 senior cards and the remaining six for developmental. It’s pretty much the same team that competed in London with a rookie replacing one of their retiring players.

The team now turns its attention to training and practicing in preparation for the American Zone 2014 World Cup qualifier late October in Birmingham, Alabama. There will be teams from the U.S., Canada and South America. The top two teams qualify.

“So much for the free time,” he laughed. “We’re back at it now.”