Goalball tournament a “meaningful” celebration of accessible sport 

Six teams from across CFB Halifax took part in a Goalball tournament on May 30 in recognition of National AccessAbility Week. PTE BRENDAN GAMACHE

Goalball tournament a “meaningful” celebration of accessible sport 

By Nathan Stone,
Trident Staff 

Military personnel recently donned blindfolds and battled for supremacy while showcasing an accessible sport for people with blindness or limited vision. 

On May 30, six teams competed in the Stadacona S-120 Drill Hall for the chance to become Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Halifax’s first Goalball tournament champions. The competition was organized by the Defense Advisory Group for Persons with Disabilities (DAGPWD) and the MARLANT Employment Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team as part of National AccessAbility Week 2024. 

Invented in 1946 to help rehabilitate veterans who had lost their sight during the Second World War, Goalball is now played competitively by athletes with visual impairments. Every player donned a blindfold during play to ensure fairness during the base tournament. The main objective of the game is for players in teams of three to throw a ball with embedded bells into their opponent’s goal.  

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Canadian Paralympic Commitee, Easter Seals and the Halifax & Military Family Resource Centre were present at the tournament to show support and provide information on services and programs they offer. 

Sailor First Class (S1) Steve Happe is a member of DAGPWD; he said turnout and enthusiasm for the competition went beyond his expectations. He said he could see “the engagement with the community and the excitement in people’s eyes.” 

The tournament champions were Team Physio/Rehab from Canadian Forces Health Services Centre (Atlantic). The DAGPWD says they intend to build on the success of the first Goalball tournament to create an annual competition, with the possibility of expanding beyond base teams, as some of the community groups present at the event expressed interest. 

The support that the base community displayed for the tournament and accessible sport in general was touching, said S1 Happe. 

“To me it’s very meaningful… It was such a good experience.” 

Al Turner, left, and S1 Steve Happe, representatives of the Defense Advisory Group for Persons with Disabilities, spoke to participants to kick off the Goalball event. PTE BRENDAN GAMACHE