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Giants Mavericks Wheelchair Basketball

The Manchester YMCA Mavericks was officially formed in October 1992, at the Manchester YMCA, thanks to Paul Breslin, a YMCA staff member and basketball stalwart. 

The team consisted of players who were all new to the game of wheelchair basketball, apart from Josie Cichockyj who had played both National and International basketball. 

Although, the odds were against the team to succeed, with no basketballs, no kit, wheelchairs or financial support, the team battled to lay the foundation of a successful club.

The team have played all over the country and in 2004 competed in the 25th Spitfire Challenge, enjoying a week of intense basketball and played the Trinidad and Tobago National Team (and we Won)

For over 20 years the club base was YMCA Manchester/The Castlefield Hotel, in 2016 the club moved to the National Basketball Performance Centre in Belle Vue.

In the clubs lifetime there has been an Under 15 and a Under 19 team in the National junior league, a woman’s team in Division 2. We also have had two Senior team’s, in the National League Division 1 North and in National League Division 2 North.

Since the sad loss of our founding member/Coach and Friend Josie in 2014, the club has gone through many challenges and is collaboratively working with other clubs with the NW Junior programme.

Here are some of our successes. 

  • GBWBA National Development League Champions
  • GBWBA National League Division 3 Champions
  • Leicester Fast Break Champions
  • Keighley Festival Champions
  • Yorkshire Junior Wheelchair Basketball Tournament Champions
  • Fair Play Award Winners, National Junior Championships
  • GBWBA Division 3 Winners
  • GBWBA Womens League Division 2 Champions
  • Lord Taverners National Junior Champions 2011/2015 (NW)

Mavericks players who have represented Great Britain:

  • Josie Cichockyj, Great BritainAthletics and Basketball Team, Captain for 3 years
  • Joanna Davies, Great Britain Basketball Team
  • Patrick Bailey, Great Britain Athletics Team and Ice Hockey Team
  • Dean Cavanagh, Great Britain, Athletics and Ice Hockey Team
  • Anthony Booth, Great Britain, Track Team
  • Andy Gore, Great Britain Track Team
  • Mike Pike Great Britain Track Team
  • Derek Roche, Great Britain, Badminton Team
  • Shelley Woods, Great Britain Athletics Team
  • Laurie Williams, Great Britain, Basketball Team
  • Jordanna Bartlett, Great Britain, Basketball Team
  • Nat Craig, Great Britain U23’s Wheelchair Basketball Team
  • Gregg Warburton, Basketball Team
  • Nathan Maguire, Great Britain Athletics Team

In 2018 Mavericks joined the Manchester Giants professional basketball club and will be known as the Manchester Giants Mavericks from 2019/20 season. This partnership will allow the club to further develop wheelchair basketball in Greater Manchester.

Giants Mavericks Core Values 

  1. Wheelchair basketball for everyone, at all levels
  2. Delivering grass roots wheelchair basketball through Giants Mavericks junior development
  3. Developing independence through wheelchair basketball
  4. Team before individuals
  5. Get involved and get active!

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” – Phil Jackson

Josie Cichockyj (9 Dec 1964 – 2 Dec 2014)

Josie founded the Manchester Mavericks Wheelchair Basketball Club in 1991 at the Manchester YMCA.  Manchester had not had a competitive wheelchair basketball team since 1981 and wanted to establish a team in her local city for the benefit of the wider community.

Josie was a passionate wheelchair basketball player who believed everyone should have the opportunity to play.

Josie was keen to get people active and involved in sport, especially wheelchair basketball and believed sport promoted disabled people to be more independent through the medium of basketball and the advocacy of team mates.

Over the 23 years Josie managed the Mavericks she developed her coaching skills and was very proactive in developing junior players, many of whom are still playing wheelchair basketball today.

In recent years Josie coached three Maverick juniors to go on and play basketball at Paralympic level. Josie got as much satisfaction in helping others as she did when winning her many sporting titles.

In 2014/15 Manchester Mavericks won the National U19 Junior championships. The team dedicated their win to their coach and mentor Josie Cichockyj.

Since Josies passing the Mavericks have retired Josie’s club number 10 as a mark of respect. The Mavericks logo has been updated to acknowledge Josies dedication and love for the club. #JC10