By Sarah Tone, Communications Coordinator
Joey Johnson has been involved in wheelchair basketball for almost 40 years as a player and a coach. His coaching journey began at home in 2001 when his brother Bill, asked him to co-coach Team Manitoba’s wheelchair basketball team in its final tournament of the year.
From there on, Joey coached multiple summer camps and discovered his passion for helping young athletes learn the game. He’s particularly motivated by teaching the strategy of the game and coming up with game plans.
“Being able to see them grasp a concept and implement it the next time in the court is very satisfying,” says Joey.
Joey’s coaching career took off after then. He had the opportunity to be a player-assistant coach in each of his last four seasons of playing professional wheelchair basketball in Germany. And leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, he joined Team Britain as the assistant coach, where he coached for two years. Shortly after, he was asked to be the national team’s assistant coach for the men’s program and has been coaching with Team Canada since 2018. He has coached at the last two Paralympic Games.
More recently, Joey was Team Canada’s wheelchair basketball head coach at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. This was the first ever event for 3×3 wheelchair basketball at these Games. He didn’t quite know what to expect, as the team didn’t have a lot of prep time ahead of the Games. Although the squad was down one teammate due to injury, they persevered through the qualifiers. The team captured the silver medal for Team Canada in the inaugural event.
Next June, Joey will be the assistant coach for his second wheelchair basketball world championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.