CENTRE WELLINGTON – Rich Wigmore and Cassie Silverthorn played for the Great Britain Heritage Team at the World Ball and Dek Hockey Federation (WBDHF) 4 on 4 World Championships, bringing home gold and silver medals.
The WBDHF championships ran from Nov. 8 to 12 in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and had men’s, women’s and master men’s divisions competing.
Both players have travelled to Quebec, Russia, Slovakia, Turks and Caicos, and now the Dominican Republic for ball hockey.
“It feels pretty good [to come home with silver]. The Great Britain team is a pretty big family [and] a lot of the guys have played together for a lot of years,” said Wigmore.
He placed second in the men’s division and brought home the first medal for the men’s team in its history.
Silverthorn, who played in the women’s division, brought home the first gold medal in Great Britain’s ball hockey history.
“It was pretty surreal,” she stated, noting the team previously had won a couple of silvers and a bronze.
“Winning gold finally, it was crazy.”
Wigmore said watching the women win gold was motivating for the men’s team and helped give them hope that they could accomplish the same thing.
“We had never medalled before, so it was big deal for us just to know we were getting a medal,” he said.
The men’s team won the semi-final game against Slovakia in a four-round shootout.
“After winning that game, we knew that we were either getting gold or silver. We knew that we were going to do something special for the first time,” said Wigmore.
Ball hockey background
Wigmore played competitive ice hockey his “entire life,” bouncing around teams at the junior hockey level.
When he was around the age of 19 or 20, he started playing ball hockey and “falling in love with it.”
Wigmore lives in Fergus and is the team owner and president of Elora Rocks.
“I thought [Elora Rocks] was a good way to keep competitive and keep [myself] on as an athletic coach,” he said.
He joined the Great Britain Heritage Team through tryouts, while Silverthorn was recruited from playing ball hockey in Brantford “just from seeing her play.”
They have both been on the team since 2018.
Silverthorn is the game day and social media coordinator at Elora Rocks. She began working at a ball hockey rink when she was 16 years old, and from there moved to playing.
“I’ve always played sports growing up,” she said. “But I never knew that it would turn into anything like this.”
Chad Asseltine ran BHi (Ball Hockey International) Brantford and met Silverthorn there when she was a teenager playing in the youth division.
He and Wigmore met by playing together in 2017.
“At that time, I started the Great Britain Heritage Program,” said Asseltine.
To play on the heritage team, it is as simple as it sounds: all you need is British heritage.
“[They are] both very eager,” Asseltine said. “They were both very offensive players, so the biggest challenge for them on the world level was how to play defensively.
“It’s something they both embraced quite a bit.”
Asseltine added, “They both genuinely care about the program and about the teams. They’re both very skilled players, but they bring so much more than just skill.”
To learn more about the Puerto Plata WBDHF World Championships, visit wbdhf.com.
To learn more about the Elora Rocks, visit elora.woshl.com.
You can also check out the Great Britain Heritage Team on Facebook at “Team GB Ball Hockey.”