Art Lead Dave Desjardins – Invictus Games Scrapbook

Dave Desjardins, Afghanistan 2003
Dave Desjardins, Afghanistan 2003
Dave has the ball! Canada/ New Zealand game

This September, 550 athletes and 17 nations, including our very own Art Lead Dave Desjardins, came together in Toronto to compete in the 3rd Invictus Games. Dave competed with Team Canada both as a member of the wheelchair basketball team and in seated throwing events. Here, Dave shares some images and thoughts about his Invictus experience.

“To compete on that level on an international stage with athletes from other countries who love the sport as much as you do, it’s a once in a lifetime thing. There was just this crazy energy. The crowd just exploded every time we went into a place. A real highlight for me was seeing the support in Canada and around the world. It was just awesome.”

“The games throw a bunch of strangers together and you form a family again. I feel like I’ve built life-long friendships with both team members and competitors from other countries. That’s something you miss when you leave the military – that sense of  being part of a team.”


Dave competes in seated throwing
Dave goes in for a shot against the Americans. “The US/Canada game was brutal. They kicked our asses. I was just happy we got on the board”



Dave describes being “shocked” when he was selected for Team Canada, and especially as team mentor.


“I’d been playing for about 4 years, but never thought I’d be selected to play at that level. It’s like applying for the Olympics and getting an email saying sure, come on out.”



Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Theresa May watch from the sidelines during a Canada/UK demo match.
Canadian Chief of Defense Staff General Vance addresses Team Canada.

 “This experience really pushes you to exceed your own preconceived limits, move out of your own comfort zone. When a person suffers from a psychological or physical injury, it’s easy to shut yourself inside and just withdraw. For me, sport has been transformative.”

Prince Harry, who conceived the games in 2014, addresses the crowd at the opening ceremonies. Dave is front row, far left.
Dave takes a hit, Canada/France game, as players from both teams help right him.










“The sportsmanship is a great part of this event. The camaraderie and spirit between teams really comes through. It’s a super competitive game, but at the end of the day, it’s about having fun.”

Bruce Springsteen performing as part of the closing ceremonies.

Dave got his own taste of celebrity before and during the games, meeting a lot of high profile people and doing more press interviews that he would have liked. But he didn’t get the chance to meet Springsteen. “That’s someone I would have loved to have met. But it was great to see him perform anyway.”




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