2010 Year In Review
This website and associated blog saw 302
posts in 2010. To read #303 and our 2010 Year in Review,
News from Northern Ontario
Ten curlers and four coaches attended the
CCA's Development Camp in Thunder Bay the week before Christmas. Fort
William Coach Dave Kawahara reports that it gave "quite a boost" to
He was especially appreciative of the opportunity to hear the responses
of people with the experience of Wendy Morgan, Daryl Neighbour and Laura
Farres to the same questions that have been asked of the everyday
coaches like himself. "The in-class sessions were very interactive and
excellent questions and responses flowed. It was a very successful
camp," he said.
Four teams are expected to compete in the N. Ontario Provincials at the
Fort William CC in Thunder Bay, February 25-27. Sudbury has formed a
team of athletes with experience in other disciplines, who Wayne Ficek,
reigning provincial champion, feels will be strong competitors once they
gain more on-ice experience.
The title this year, though, is expected to be a contest between
two-time champions Team Ficek representing Kenora (though two of the
team live in Dryden) and Thunder Bay's Carl Levesque who skipped a
selected N. Ontario team at the 2008 Nationals.
Team Ficek, after claiming 4th place in 2009, went 3-6 last March. "As
under achievers last year I expect if I can get back to the Nationals
that only a play off position would be tolerable this year," Wayne told
News from P.E.I.
Amber Nicholson of the Journal-Pioneer reports that less than a year
since Crapaud Community CC invited its first wheelchair users onto the
ice, it is hosting an Atlantic Canada High Performance Wheelchair Camp
Eric Payne of Warren Grove, who curls Tuesday evenings at the club,
believes the camp will be a significant steppingstone for wheelchair
curling on P.E.I.
"It's going to bring attention to (the sport) here on P.E.I. It's going
to help the sport itself grow in the Maritimes and it's going to help
extend the network of wheelchair curling across Canada," he said.
Read the full report
The three-day High Performance Wheelchair Camp is geared toward athletes
who have or plan to compete at the Wheelchair Curling Nationals. Camp
activities include technical review on and off-ice, drills, strategy,
mental preparation, team dynamics, video analysis and three games.
Special guest instructors include national team coach, Wendy Morgan, and
national team mental trainer, Dr. Laura Farres.
Curlers planning to participate in the camp are asked to confirm their
attendance by Saturday, Jan. 1, via e-mail to
email@example.com. For more
information contact Gayle Johnston at 368-1071.
Funeral for Frank Duffy December
2.30PM PST - Wednesday December 29 - I have received an email saying
that the funeral has been delayed, possibly until January 12. When I
have more information, I will post it here.
Frank Duffy’s funeral is due to take
place in Falkland Church (Scotland) on Thursday, December 30, at 10.30am
before interment at the village cemetery at 11.45am.
Family and local reaction to his death can be read in
this report from Fife Today.
Quiz Answers can be found
The 2010 Christmas Quiz
Here's this year's Christmas Quiz.
Answers in a couple of days.
1. From the list of people below, identify who
A) left a double world championship team to coach his national squad at
the 2010 Worlds Qualifying
B) was deposed as skip of his Paralympic team by his 3rd.
C) withdrew from the Paralympics after failing a drug test.
D) described wheelchair curling as the roller derby of curling.
E) withdrew from his national team shortly after being selected, because
of shoulder surgery.
a) Jim Armstrong b) Glen Ikonen c) Patrick McDonald d) Jens Jäger e) Per
2. Which current Team Canada Paralympian has 13 siblings? Jim Armstrong,
Darryl Neighbour, Ina Forrest, Sonja Gaudet, Bruno Yizek.
3. Which Province held a 3 on 3 two team playdown to see who would claim
4. He provided online commentary at the Paralympics, and was inducted
into the London ON Sports Hall Of Fame. Who is he?
5. Who said of skipping “It makes me think. If I don’t come off the ice
with a headache, I didn’t think hard enough,” Chris Daw, Goose Perez,
Rune Lorentsen, Michael McCreadie, Hak Sung Kim
6. Which 4 sport Paralympian said prior to Vancouver: "It takes you
right round the world, you see some amazing places. I'm away somewhere
every month, it's a full-time job now." Sonja Gaudet, Jalle Jungnell,
Jens Jäger, Tom Killin
7. True or False
a) feet may not touch the ice during delivery
b) a delivery is legal if any part of the rock is touching the
guidelines either side of the centre line
c) at WCF events the time clocks stop during the one minute time outs
when coaches may speak to their team
d) players may be substituted during a game but must play the same
position as the person they replace
8. As hosts of the 2011 Worlds, the Czech Republic took one of the eight
spots allocated to the points leaders at the previous three Worlds. Who
lost out from automatic qualification?
9. The oldest athlete at the Paralympics was 75. What country did he
10. Which country arrived at the 2010 World Wheelchair Qualifying
Championships, but was not allowed to play?
11.What continent saw it's first dedicated curling ice opened to
12. Whose Canadian record will be snapped in March 2011 at seven
consecutive National Championship appearances?
13. Pair the player with their team
A) Jostein Stordahl
B) Patrik Burman
C) Claudia Huttenmoser
D) Egidio Marchese
E) Katsuo Ichikawa
F) James Pierce
G) Mi-Suk Kang
H) Aileen Neilson
I) Marcus Sieger
a) Germany b) Great Britain c) Italy d) Japan e) Korea f) Norway g)
Sweden h) Switzerland i) USA
14. Eight of the nine players listed in #13 share something in common.
Who is the odd person out?
15. Why did power wheelchair users have reason to celebrate a 2010 WCF
A very Happy Christmas to you all from Eric and Cate, and please
consider making a donation towards the maintenance of this website by
clicking on the link on the front page.
Team Canada to play in
Lanarkshire International Jan 18-19
Canadian national team coach Joe Rea will
be taking his gold medal winning Paralympics team; Jim Armstrong, Darryl
Neighbour, Ina Forrest, Sonja Gaudet and Bruno Yizek, to Scotland in
January for a pre-Worlds warm-up.
Wendy Morgan confirmed today that despite apparently uninformed
speculation, Jim Armstrong has both his passport and a ticket. The team
will leave for Edinburgh January 16, returning January 20.
They will be playing in the Lanarkshire International, January 18-19, in
Hamilton, organized by the South Lanarkshire Wheelchair Curling Club.
Teams competing include two each from Scotland, Germany and Russia as
well as Canada, Czech Republic and Sweden.
Sweden will be coached by their long-time skip Jalle Jungnell, who
retired from international competition as a player after wining bronze
at the Vancouver Paralympics.
McCreadie wants back in
Bob Cowan, who follows wheelchair curling
in Scotland, has a blog post introducing Tony Zummack, but he buries the
Michael McCreadie, who stepped up from 3rd to skip Scotland/Great
Britain when Frank Duffy retired after Torino, and then took a sabbatical
from international play after Vancouver, says he wants to be part of the
new Scottish program.
Cowan quotes McCreadie: "I encountered Tony and his Alberta Team at the
Richmond International in Vancouver in 2008. Alberta won the competition
beating Jim Armstrong's team in the final.
"Tony comes to Great Britain with knowledge and experience of coaching
wheelchair curlers at high level - his record speaks for itself. I am
excited and feel sure he will bring his own methods, strategies and
coaching expertise to enhance the skills of present and future players.
This is a fresh start for all a journey which I hope again to be part
of. The selection panel should be congratulated in their choice of
Canada have tough opening at
Team Canada will face two fancied teams
on the opening day of the 2011 World Wheelchair Curling Championships in
Prague, Fenruary 21.
They open against China and then face USA.
Tony Zummack's Scotland open with a bye and then face Russia and the
The full schedule can be found
Team Canada is expected to be announced early in January.
"The job I have been working
towards for 16 years" Zummack
Team Great Britain's new coach, Tony
Zummack from Calgary Alberta, says he has always known that he wanted to
become involved with coaching at the national level.
"You can't argue with the success of Canada's national program," he told
me today. "Gerry Peckham and Joe Rea have been very successful, and you
can't expect it to be dismantled to let someone else have a go. So when
I learned about the British job last October, I decided to apply."
It was announced today that Zummack will replace Tom Pendreigh as the
British Wheelchair Curling Coach, joining a team of five national high
performance coaches. He has a four year contract that runs through the
end of 2014, and will begin his duties in January.
He feels the experience he gained coaching Calgary's Team Smart,
perennial Alberta Champions, over the past two plus seasons, has
prepared him for the challenge.
"Team Alberta works just as hard and does the same things in training as
Team Canada. What they don't have is the financial resources for sports
psychologists and trainers and opportunities for travel.
"But what we have done in Calgary is a solid grounding for what needs to
be done in a national program. I am just sorry that I won't be there to
see them compete in Edmonton, but I know they are good enough to win a
national championship, especially with the return of Bruno Yizek, who
brings so many things to the team."
The Zummack's will be relocating to Stirling, Scotland which is north of
both Glasgow and Edinburgh. Their daughter will transfer to Sterling
University after her winter semester, but Tony is anxious to get to
Scotland to meet his new team.
"They have a high performance squad that is about the same size as in
Canada, and their team for the 2011 Worlds in Prague has already been
picked, so it will be a case of getting to know them and seeing where we
are," he says.
So your first job will be to pick a skip? "Who says I'll be the one to
choose who skips?" he replied, which on reflection was a pretty
British wheelchair curlers have under-performed expectations for several
years now. "I'm not going to be making big changes right away," said
Zummack. "It will take time to assess the players and the program. I'll
have the summer to discuss with Performance Director Dave Crosbee what
if any changes should be made.
"I'll also be travelling and watching other players. As a full-time
coach part of my job will be talent identification. That's a lot easier
in a geographically smaller country like Scotland, where it will be
possible to drive to regularly see players in the way that Canada's size
makes more difficult.
"I'm looking forward to working with Dave Crosbee and Rhona Martin,
people with more international experience than I have. But I am
confident that I can bring success to the program. Success brings
funding and funding brings success. I am really looking forward to the
Alberta's Tony Zummack to coach
Team Great Britain
Tony Zummack, coach of Alberta Provincial
Champions Team Smart for the past three seasons, has been chosen as the
new Head Coach for British Wheelchair Curling. His was one of two non-UK
appointments to the five person elite curling coaching team
today that is expected to bring Olympic and Paralympic success back to
He replaces Tom Pendreigh who I understand did not interview for the
wheelchair curling position. Great Britain/Scotland had 3rd, 7th, and
5th World Championships finishes since their silver in Torino, and
posted a 3-6 (tied for worst) record in Vancouver.
Zummack, a professional curling and golf teacher, will give up his job
as curling supervisor at the
prestigous and private
Glencoe Club in Calgary. He has worked with the
players now skipped by Jack Smart since 2008 curling out of the Ogden
CC, coaching them to a silver medal at the 2009 Nationals.
Team member Bruno Yizek has since won a gold medal at the Vancouver
Paralympics, and Anne Hibberd played for Canada B at the recent Richmond
His task in Scotland will expand beyond the role he played in Alberta,
where he was the coach of a club team competing against other club
teams. On the technical side it will be interesting to see whether
Zummack continues Pendreigh's "deliver from the rings" experiment, and
also whether he introduces, as he did in Calgary, the off-side brace,
long championed on this blog and website as a tool for increased
"I am looking forward to the opportunity and challenge," he told me this
Team Fitzgerald repeat as Nova
Team Fitzgerald, with Laughie Rutt at
3rd, Trendal Hubley-Bolivar 2nd and lead Debbie Earle, defeated Team
Brown 3-0 in a best of 5 series to represent Nova Scotia at the 2011
National Championships in Edmonton AB in March.
A good crowd was on hand to see Team Fitzgerald take an easy 9-2 victory
in the first game with Fitzgerald stealing in the early ends and
building up a big lead.
The second game came down to skip rocks with the score tied. Fitzgerald
had the hammer and did a good job of keeping a path to the four foot
open on the right despite a Brown rock buried, biting the four foot.
Fitzgerald outdrew it and Brown could not duplicate the shot or remove
it on his last stone, leaving Fitzgerald with a 5-4 win.
The third game was also close. tied 2-2 at the break. Brown took one
with hammer in the 5th but gave up a deuce in the 6th. In the 7th
Fitzgerald opted for a guard rather than an open tap to lie three. It
was the decisive stone, as Brown's attempted draw rubbed it, coming up
short and allowing Fitzgerald to steal two.
In the eighth end Brown, needing to score 3, had a shot buried dead on
the button early behind two guards and a rock in the twelve foot in
front of the t-line but well to the left. Fitzgerald then added to the
rock pile in front by blocking more and more of the scoring area. Brown
also contributed to the pile with a wrecked draw attempt to sit three.
On 3rd's last rock Fitzgerald asked for the take out of the Brown's
second shot rock in the twelve foot, and Rutt's takeout rolled full four
foot behind cover and ended Brown's chances, Fitzgerald winning 6-3.
Line score for each game ca be found
It is the fourth consecutive year that Fitzgerald will skip a rink at
Armstrong remains on Team Canada
after disciplinary review
Here is the CCA's CEO Greg Stremlaw's
statement concerning the review of Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong's
actions for which he is expected to be sentenced
in Seattle Federal Court on January 28th.
"As I think you are aware, a formal,
comprehensive review of the situation was undertaken by a designated
review committee including interviews with appropriate parties,
consultation with stakeholders and a review and assessment of all
pertinent and available documentation. As a result of this, the review
committee did recommend a course of disciplinary action to the CCA which
was approved and implemented. We feel that the disciplinary actions
taken are fair and appropriate to the situation given the facts and
information available to the review committee at this time. The
disciplinary actions do include specific conditions, therefore, should
any new facts or information become available which are relevant to this
situation either before, during or after the January 28th court date,
this matter can be revisited and further action taken if and as
"At this time, the athlete is still a part of the National Team program
and will continue to train and compete as such."
Frank Duffy suicide before court
Jamie Beatson of the Scotsman.com
reports that Frank Duffy took his own life, setting himself and his
car alight in a car park prior to a scheduled bail hearing, after
previously being arrested in connection with sex offences.
A court source said: "As far as we know he was accused of offences
against young girls." The offences are alleged to have occurred between
January 2000 and November 2010.
Read the report
Frank Duffy dead at 51: "the first
wheelchair curling superstar"
I received some very sad news this
morning. Frank Duffy died suddenly.
"In my eyes he was the 1st wheelchair 'superstar' I will miss him an
awful lot," Michael McCreadie wrote in an email.
Frank was born in 1959 and was first introduced to the sport of curling
at age 12 on a frozen pond in Falkland in Fife. When he was 35, a 12
foot fall from a ladder left him with an L1 spinal cord injury and life
in a wheelchair.
He had been a skilled curler before his injury and was involved in
Scottish wheelchair curling from the beginning, skipping Scotland to two
World Championship titles in 2004 and 2005 followed by a silver medal at
the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games.
He also won many domestic championships and Sportsmanship Awards,
coached at WCF camps, and following his retirement from international
curling in 2006, chaired the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association
(2006-2008) and was a Director for British Curling from 2007-2010.
I met Frank at the Kelowna Cashspiel in 2005, which he won. He was a
gentleman, soft-spoken but disciplined. I had, as an event organizer,
staked out some wheelchair accessible refreshment venues, but Frank
disapproved. He told me the game (back then) was one of draws and taps.
Ironic that the iconic image of his career will be his look of anguish
as he sees his Torino gold medal take-out shot miss by millimeters.
Frank was someone who put into the sport more than he took out, working
not just when the cameras and note-pads were out, but serving to develop
and direct the sport he loved.
He will be missed.
CurlBC shares $350K Olympic
CurlBC will share in a $350,000 windfall
from 50/50 sales during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games by the Canucks for
Kids Fund (CFKF) to support programs that benefit disabled athletes in
CurlBC CEO Scott Braley said, “These funds will enable Curl BC to
develop an adapted curling physical education program with the goal to
overcome participation barriers experienced by children with
disabilities throughout BC.”
Read the full story
Ontario High Performance
Development Camp Feb 11-12
Ontario's CCA High Performance
Development Camp will be held Friday and Saturday February 11-12, 2011
at the Peach King Centre in Grimsby during the 2011 Dominion Tankard
Ontario Men’s Curling Championship.
The camp is intended for curlers who “have the potential to be recruited
into the (post 2011) national pool…and they will be contacted for years
2012-2013 for future development and possible selection to the national
team or to train with the national program at national training camps."
Application fee $50, maximum numbers 16, deadline Jan 7, 2011. Check
HERE for more details.
Nova Scotia Provincials begin
The Nova Scotia Wheelchair Curling
Championship will be held at the
Curling Club. The first two games of the best of five series start
December 18th at 10.00am and 3.00pm. Game 3 is December 19th at 8.00 am
with games 4 and 5 if necessary, 1.00pm December 19 and 6.30 pm on the
Line scores from each game can be found on
Michael Fitzgerald, with Laughie Rutt, Trendal Hubley-Bolivar and Debbie
Earle face Richard Brown, playing with Terry Cousineau, Steve Parfitt
and Shannon Sweet, in a rematch of last year’s championship.
8th Annual Pat "O" Reid Memorial
Bonspiel January 9th
The 8th Annual Pat "O" Reid Memorial
Bonspiel is planned for Sunday January 9, 2011 at the Toronto Cricket,
Skating and Curling Club. It is open to able-bodied and wheelchair
curlers in any combination.
Organizers hope to have a Competitive Wheelchair Division as in previous
years. To accommodate those that couldn't make it to last year's event,
the day has been moved to a Sunday, and the starting time moved up to
10:30 am so we can be finished around 7:00 pm for the convenience of out
of town participants.
O.C.C. Team Ranking System points may be awarded to Competitive
Wheelchair teams if numbers permit a separate Competitive Division. Full
Curling promotes inclusion
"In his capacity as board chair of the
Richmond Centre for Disability, writes Don Fennell of the Richmond
Review, "Vince Miele spends a lot of time promoting inclusion,
independence and empowerment."
The article, a wrap-up of last week's Richmond International Cashspiel,
features Vince Miele, who has toiled unremarked to bring a first class
event to the lower Mainland, and never mentioned that he won a National
Championship last March.
Curling is an easy sport to integrate wheelchair users, noted Miele. You
can read the article
BC extends deadline for
provincial championship entries
CurlBC has announced that the entry
deadline for teams wishing to participate in the Provincial
Championships has been extended to Monday December 13.
The event is scheduled to take place in Kimberley February 3-6, which
unfortunately is about as far away from the main body of wheelchair
curlers as is possible without holding the event in Alberta.
An entry fee of $240 and the availability of six Paralympians, may have
made a long distance journey over mountainous winter roads less than
appealing to curlers who may have attended an event more centrally
CurlBC were slow to move away from a selection system, but it has worked
well for them, with both National finalists last year coming from BC.
Championships are spread around the province for the very best of
reasons, and the
organisers in Kimberley were very proud to be chosen to host the
But at this stage of the sport's development, does it make sense to
schedule an event so far from potential participants that there may not
be enough teams to make hosting worthwhile? CurlBC have already been
forced to abandon its region based participation criteria for wheelchair
On a different note, it will be interesting to see whether the Vancouver
medalists choose to participate, and if so, whether they follow the
example of the Scots, who tend to spread their experience over different
teams in the interests of encouraging participation.
Issue 3 of Atlantic Canada's
Wheelchair Curling News available
Those living in Atlantic Canada have a monthly newsletter organised by
Laughie Rutt. In the 3rd issue, there is information about the Mayflower
CC access improvements, the CCA talent identification and development
camp, Provincials at the Lakeshore CC. renovations at the Caladonian CC
in Pictou NS, and a possible spiel in Frederickton at the end of January
if there's sufficient interest.
You can access the newsletter
Those living within reach of Lower Sackville are reminded that all
wheelchair users are welcome at the recreational Saturday afternoon
on-ice sessions at the Lakeshore CC.
Email Laughie for details.
British wheelchair curling
funding cut in half
The BBC reports that British Government funding through
UK Sport for Olympic and Paralympic programs, while showing an overall
increase, has concentrated on sports where there is the best likelihood
of medals. Wheelchair curling has had its funding reduced from UKP
450,000 (C$ 711,000) to UKP 223,000 (C$ 356,000).
British performances have fallen below expectations at the last Worlds
and Paralympics, and that disappointment is demonstrated in the 48%
reduction in funding over the next four years. That is not to say that
additional funds would not be made available if the team started
appearing on the podium again, as a major source of funding comes from
the National Lottery, which has recently generated higher than expected
The Scots squad that makes up the British team were generously funded as
full time athletes leading up to the Paralympics. It will be interesting
to see how this reduction affects the team's performance and what areas;
financial support, travel, training courses, international competition,
will be cut.
BBC report for full details.
An anonymous blog commentator cites cites
a post on the RCC website that British curling will receive
£2,288,900 from UK Sport for the period between now and the Olympic and
Paralympic Winter Games in 2014, which "more than doubles the funding
British Curling received in the previous four-year cycle."
They do not cite a source, nor do they
contradict the BBC report that funding for wheelchair curling has been
Gerry Peckham, Canada's National Program
Director, said news of the cut if true, was "Tragic news for such a
strong wheelchair curling Nation."
As for Canada, he said, "We have maintained our funding level subsequent
to 2010 which is fabulous considering there are no more sponsor dollars
coming our way [winter sport] via VANOC. The challenge for curling has
always been to ensure we get our fair share of the funding pie. Our
biggest road block is the fact that as a sport we only account for 3
Saskatchewan announces team for
Saskatchewan announced one change to the
team that will make the province's third appearance at the Nationals, to
be held in Edmonton AB March 20-27.
The team, that will represent the Callie CC out of Regina, is Darwin
Bender (Regina), Gil Dash (Wolseley), Terry Hart (Regina), Marie Wright
(Moose Jaw) and Calvin Bird (Regina) who replaces Del Huber. The coach
is Lorraine Arguin (Moose Jaw) assisted by Bob Capp (Regina).
Saskatchewan tied for 5th with a 4-5 record at
last year's Championships in Kelowna, BC.
Halifax's venerable Mayflower CC
The 105 year old
Club in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has installed an accessible washroom,
and a ramp and lift allowing wheelchair users access to the ice for the
The improvements are part of the Halifax 2011 Canada Games capital
improvement plan. Laughie Rutt, three time provincial champion, threw
out the first stone.
Former club president Paul McDonald told The ChronicleHerald.ca the
$68,000 in upgrades signal a new era at the club.
"We’re going to serve a new group within our community and it’s a
valuable group. These upgrades provide ease of accessibility for current
and future members and athletes visiting the club."
The improvements also assist spectators and volunteers at events, he
You can read more
CCA in quandary over 2011 Worlds
Contrary to rumours circulating at
Richmond last week, there has been no final decision on who will
represent Canada at the 2011 World Championships in Prague, February
21st to March 3rd.
Wendy Morgan told me that the decision had not been finalised and would
require CCA approval. So, presumably, would any team selection where the
CCA is picking up the tab. Greg Stremlaw, CEO of the CCA, confirmed
today: "A final decision of the team that will represent Canada at the
2011 WWhCC will likely be made by the end of this month."
National program director Gerry Peckham has in the past shown a
reluctance to change a winning team, and under normal circumstances
there would be no expectation of changes to the five who won gold at the
Paralympics last March. Jim Armstrong's
legal problems complicate things, however.
The CCA and the major funders for the national wheelchair program,
Sports Canada and Own The Podium, have yet to decide whether Jim's
actions as outlined in his
plea of guilty to distributing pills with an intent to deceive,
presented to a Seattle Federal judge, "reflect
detrimentally upon the image of the National Team Program, CCA or
Canada." Do the offenses to which Jim has admitted, constitute
grounds for removal from the national program?
The CCA is in a quandary. They are obviously reluctant to give up on a
person considered instrumental to Team Canada's success at the Worlds
and Paralympics, especially as Jim has intimated that his actions will
be seen differently when he is free to offer a mitigating explanation
for the admissions in his plea, presumably after sentencing on January
The CCA can delay deciding whether Armstrong should still qualify for
national program membership and benefits, but the practicalities of
travel arrangements for the World Championships in Prague, Feb 21 -
March 3, mean that a team must be chosen before then.
It is possible that if Jim removes himself from consideration for
Prague, or if the CCA considers it too great a risk to select someone at
the mercy of a US Federal judge for his freedom, a team selection
decision could be made independently of a national program status
Jim could take the long term view here, helping the CCA by saying that
he won't go to Prague, but defending himself and his status in the
national program when he feels free to do so.
Whatever the decision, Greg Stremlaw says, "I can assure you that the
CCA will definitely be ready for the WWhCC and ongoing analysis and
plans are well underway." It is confidence echoed by coach Joe Rea who
told me recently that the team is prepared for any eventuality.
BC holding its National Program
development camp Dec. 11/12
Utica CC hosting camp for disabled
Marc DePerno, National Director of
Outreach for Wheelchair Curling for the U.S. Curling Association, is
organising a wheelchair curling camp for disabled veterans Curling Camp
at the Utica Curling Club, in Whitesboro. NY. Sunday and Monday, Dec.
13-14. Eight wounded servicemen from Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon,
Washington and Wisconsin will participate.
“We are honored to introduce America’s heroes to the sport of adaptive
curling, and will provide additional training should they wish to
compete on the Paralympic level,” DePerno said. [source UticaOD.com]
Team Scotland newcomers profiled
Team Scotland newcomer Gregor Ewan says
he wants Scots skip Aileen Neilson's job. He was interviewed with club
and now national teammate Michael McKenzie by Dave Edwards in today's
The Press and Journal.
Dufftown-based Ewan told Edwards: “Winning the British championships
with the Moray club last weekend was pretty special but being chosen to
represent Scotland in the world championships is up there as well.
“The next step is the Olympics. My goal was to get to the world
championships, win gold over the next couple of years then reach the
“I am skip for Moray and, although Aileen Neilson is the Scotland skip,
I intend to challenge her for that honour. To be asked to play for your
country in any capacity is a great honour. When you are a kid growing up
pulling on that Scotland jersey is everyone’s dream."
It's all Canada in the final of
the Richmond International
Canada A, the gold medal Paralympic team,
beat Canada B 6-4 in today's final of the Richmond International at the
Richmond (BC) Curling Club. Canada A established a big early lead with a
4 in the 3rd end, but Gerry Austgarden's Canada B side had a double
takeout opportunity at the bell to tie the score. They settled for 3 and
the $600 second place prize money.
Canada A donated half of their $1,00 purse back to the
for Disability as seed money for next year's tournament.
Canada A# 2 0 4 0 1 2 0 X - 9
Canada B 0 2 0 2 0 0 3 X - 7
The two Korea teams (Samantha Sui played lead and Bruno Yizek played 3rd
for Korea B) were tied 3-3 when the bell rang after 6 ends. They played
an extra (7th) end and Korea A stole a another single to take 3rd place
by a score of 4-3.
Korea A 0 1 1 0 0 1 - 1 - 4
Korea B# 1 0 0 1 1 0 - 0 - 3
In the final round robin draw in the
morning, Canada B, despite losing to Korea A, qualified for the
afternoon final by their tie-breaking win over Korea B earlier in the
Draw 7 - 9.30am December 4
Korea A # 3 0 0 1 0 1 1 X - 6
Canada B 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 X - 4
4C's # 0 0 0 5 1 0 X X - 6
Richmond RCD 3 1 2 0 0 4 X X - 10
Evergreen 0 1 2 0 0 0 X X - 3
Korea B 1 0 0 2 1 1 X X - 4
Bye - Canada A
Table after round robin play
Canada A - 6-0
Canada B - 4-2
Korea B - 4-2
Korea A - 3-3
RCD - 2-4
4C's - 1-5
Evergreen - 1-5
Richmond International Day 3
Canada's A team finished their round
robin play unbeaten at 6-0, shutting out Canada B, their closest
challengers, 7-0 this afternoon.
The final round robin draw will be played Saturday morning with the
final, between the top two teams, contested at 1.30PM
Chris Daw was unable to play this afternoon as his baby daughter was
taken into hospital. In light of his family emergency it is unlikely
that he will play Saturday.
Draw 5 - 9.30 am December 3
Canada A # 1 0 5 0 4 0 X X - 10
Korea B 0 1 0 1 0 1 X X - 3
Korea A 2 1 0 1 2 1 X X - 7
Evergreen # 0 0 1 0 0 0 X X - 1
4C's # 1 1 0 2 1 0 0 X - 5
Canada B 0 0 4 0 0 2 1 X - 7
Bye - Richmond RCD
Draw 6 - 1.30pm
Canada A # 1 1 1 1 2 1 X X - 7
Canada B 0 0 0 0 0 0 X X - 0
Korea A # 1 3 0 0 2 1 0 X - 7
Richmond RCD 0 0 3 1 0 0 1 X - 5
4C's # 0 1 0 0 2 0 X X - 3
Korea B 1 0 1 2 0 2 X X - 6
Table after 6 Draws - one to go
Canada A - 6-0
Canada B - 4-1
Korea B - 3-2
Korea A - 2-3
4C's - 1-4
Evergreen - 1-4
RCD - 1-4
Richmond International Day 2
Draw 3 - 9.30 am December 2
Canada A # 4 4 0 2 1 1 1 - 13
Evergreen 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 - 5
Richmond RCD # 0 0 3 0 0 2 X X - 5
Canada B 1 1 0 2 1 1 X X - 6
Korea A # 0 1 0 1 0 3 0 X - 5
4 C's 1 0 3 0 1 0 1 X - 6
Bye - Korea B
Draw 4 - 1.30pm
Canada A # 0 1 6 0 2 1 X X - 10
Richmond RCD 1 0 0 2 0 0 x x - 3
Korea A 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 X - 2
Korea B # 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 X - 4
Evergreen 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 X - 3
Canada B # 1 0 2 4 0 0 1 X - 8
Bye - 4C's
Richmond International Day 1
Canada's gold medal Paralympic team began
the 4th Annual Richmond International Cashspiel with two wins on the
first day of round robin play.
Draw 1 - 9.30am December 1
Canada A # 0 0 4 3 1 2 X X - 10
Korea A 2 2 0 0 0 0 X X - 4
4C's 0 0 1 0 1 0 X X - 2
Evergreen # 1 1 0 1 0 0 X X - 3
Richmond RCD 0 1 0 2 1 1 0 X - 5
Korea B # 2 0 2 0 0 0 2 X - 6
Bye Canada B
Draw 2 1.30pm
Canada A 0 1 0 2 1 0 1 - 5
4 C's # 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 - 4
Evergreen # 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 X - 4
Richmond RCD 0 1 2 0 1 2 0 X - 6
Korea B # 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 x - 3
Canada B 1 0 0 2 1 2 0 X - 6
Bye Korea A
Scottish team announced for 2011
Worlds in Prague
The team that will represent Scotland at
the 2011 World Championships beginning February 21 in Prague sees two
newcomers, Gregor Ewan and Michael McKenzie, join Aileen Neilson, Angie
Malone and Tom Killin.
Gregor and Michael are from Moray in the north of Scotland, and played
on the team that won last weekend's British Open Championship over
Aileen Neilson's Braehead rink. Interesting that
the announcement on the Royal Caledonian CC website (Britain's
equivalent to the CCA) is titled 2010-11 Scottish Wheelchair Curling
Association National Team selection.
Scotland sends its national team to the Worlds, but competes at the
Paralympics as Great Britain. Qualification for the 2014 Sochi
Paralympics depends on performance at the next three World
All the Scottish curling team coaches' contracts expire this month, and
while it is thought that present wheelchair coach Tom Pendreigh is
interested in a job, it may not be with the wheelchair team. For an
insight into the politics surrounding Scottish curling's administration,
Bob Cowan's December editorial.
Gregor Ewan beats Aileen Neilson
for 2010 British Open title
Ten teams competed last weekend for the
2010 British Open title. The three day event in Kilmarnock, Scotland,
comprised two pools of five teams. Aillen Neilson skipped a Braehead
team that was unbeaten in Pool A after a 10-3 win over second place
Gregor Ewan's Moray rink with three wins. Angie Malone topped Pool B
with Paul Webster 2nd. Tables after round robin play are
HERE. Use links on left of page for line scores of all the matches.
Malone and Ewan won their semis and Team Ewan got off to a fast start in
the final with single point steals in the first three ends. An accurate
last stone draw pulled Aileen Neilson's team within one at the break,
and a raised takeout for 2 by Neilson put the teams level after 6.
Neilson stole a single in the 7th for her team's first lead.
In the final end Michael McCreadie, playing 2nd for Neilson, drew to
just behind the tee line and a succession of short stones and guards
allowed the stone to stay in place. However a last stone guard drew just
a fraction too far and this gave a narrow window of opportunity to
Gregor Ewan who executed a fantastic hit and stay for two and the title.
Richmond International Cashspiel
begins Dec. 1st
The 4th Annual Richmond International
Cashspiel begins 9.30 am Wednesday December 1st at the
sponsored by the
Richmond Centre for Disability. Team
Canada's gold medal team will be competing for the first time since
Vancouver, and possibly for the only time before the 2011 Worlds in
Prague next February. Korea are fielding two teams, an American team
from Portland Oregon's Evergreen CC have traveled north, and Chris Daw
has his much anticipated return to the ice on the 4C's team.
Canada A play Korea A in the opening draw. Draw times are 9.30am and
1.30pm with the final between the top two teams after round robin play
scheduled for 1.30pm, Saturday December 4.
Event details and links to the
Draw Schedule are
Results will be posted as and when available. If anyone attending cares
send photos I'll post those too. (Please include names!)
Scots take to the road
Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association is planning a series of
Roadshows this season, travelling to various clubs describing all the
competitions and pathways available for wheelchair curlers and coaches
to advance their skills.
First stop was last Saturday at the Borders WCC in Kelso where SWCA
Chair Judy Mackenzie and Players’ representative Michael McCreadie
talked about the new Skills Awards and the
Shotmaker initiative, before taking players and coaches onto the ice
for some practical tips.
This initiative is a good demonstration
of what can come from empowering players to help guide the sport.
Established Scottish players see it in their interest to grow
participation. Wheelchair curlers have formed their own clubs within
clubs, as have some in Canada, the better to organise and advertise
their activities. At the
Star Refrigeration National Pairs event, most of the established
Scottish players paired with less experienced partners.
Canadians obviously face distance challenges for it to be easy to travel
as wheelchair curling evangelists, but they can perhaps learn something
from the player inspired initiatives underway in Scotland to nourish the
game at the grassroots.
Sonja Gaudet keynote speaker -
Dominion Club Championship
Team Canada lead and double Paralympic
gold medalist Sonja Gaudet was the keynote speaker at the opening
banquet of the Dominion Club Championship at the APM Centre in Cornwall,
She spoke about reintroducing sports into her life after her spinal cord
injury, what it meant to compete at World events, and also gave a plug
for integration of wheelchair users into curling club activities.
Team Canada's Joe Rea wins
coaching excellence award
Joe Rea, coach of Canada's gold medal
Vancouver Paralympic team, was one of 43 Canadian coaches honoured with
a 2010 Petro-Canada Excellence in Coaching Award. This year's awards
recognize coaches who have helped their athletes achieve top results at
recent World Championships and/or Olympic and Paralympic Games. Joe also
received an award last year for his team's 2009 World Championship
USA skip 'Goose' Perez living
strong in this profile
Team USA skip Augusto 'Goose' Perez has
other high performance sports interests beyond curling, as
this profile from the Livestrong Blog shows. He also has a very
Comment from Team Canada coach Joe Rea
Team Canada coaches this season are undertaking two
tasks. The first, to prepare a team that will travel to Prague next
February to defend their World title and hopefully gain their first
points towards qualifying for the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. The
second, to organise a series of talent identification and development
camps across the country, giving those wheelchair users not currently
part of the national program, an opportunity to demonstrate their
Whenever there is a post about Team Canada the comments tend to
concentrate on personalities: why has this person been favoured over
that, why isn't this person being considered, my dad's bigger than your
dad and so on. To 'clear up any confusion', National Team Coach Joe Rea
"Just to clear the air about who attended the Richmond Camp last
weekend: it was Jim, Darryl, Ina, Sonja, Bruno, Chris Sobkowicz, Gerry
Austgarden, Gary Cormack, Whitney Warren and Frank LaBounty.
"These players were invited to camp because of their record in Nationals
last season and/or being part of the last cuts to Team Canada.
"We will also have a second team competing in the Richmond (RDC) spiel
at the beginning of December consisting of Gerry Austgarden, Anne
Hibberd from Calgary, Whitney and Frank. Bruno Yizek will start playing
with a second Korean team, which is a player short.
"We are continuing with the regional camps in each province to help
identify potential Team Canada pool participants over the balance of
this season. I hope this clears up any confusion."
Attendance at the provincial camps is at the discretion of provincial,
not national coaches. Although CCA guidance was for provincial champions
and perhaps one or two additional players to be invited, different
provinces have taken different approaches to who and how many should
"By the end of the season," Joe Rea told me, "we will have seen most if
not all players with the skills and attitude to become part of Team
Canada. If anyone feels they have been overlooked, they must ask their
provincial coaches to recommend that we take a look at them. Players are
asked to make a big commitment, and one of the things these provincial
camps allow us to do is explain what is expected. We understand that
players seen at the beginning of the season will not have had the same
opportunities to practice as those seen later, but the evaluation
process is not just about statistics."
In addition to the Richmond spiel in December, Team Canada hope to take
a team to Scotland in the middle of January, though whether that will be
the medal team or a development team hasn't been decided.
At the end of the season, after the provincial camps, there will be a
large Team Canada training camp of players who will form the core group
for the 2014 Paralympics, though it will still be possible to break into
this group next season.
"Standards of play have risen significantly over the past several
years," says Joe Rea. "We need players who have the time and commitment
to put in the necessary work. We also need players who understand the
game, and have what it takes to be a team player. The aim is for an open
and honest evaluation to make the Canadian Team.”
The CCA, to their credit, have made an effort this year to give everyone
who's shown ability, an opportunity to impress national coaches. The
path is clear - convince your province's
wheelchair curling co-ordinator
that you should attend a camp in your area, and then show who you are
and what you can do. You may not make it, but at least you'll have had
the opportunity to try.
Quebec take Cathy Kerr final in
Quebec stole a point from USA1 in an
extra end of the final to win the 6th Annual Cathy Kerr Memorial in
Quebec were down by 3 in the eighth but sitting 3 when skip Ben Lessard
drew for the win with his last stone. The rock went through the house,
forcing an extra end.
In the 9th USA1 had their own chance to win with their last rock. Quebec
had a biter counting shot stone back 12, and USA skip Goose Perez had
only to reach the rings for the victory, but his draw came up short.
Goose's team lost their lead, Tammy Delano, after the first match. She
had a nasty fall when her chair tipped over backwards. Sue, a an
inexperienced but very game substitute, joined Jimmy Joseph and Bob
Prenoveau to finish out the tournament.
Earlier USA1 had extended their unbeaten record with a semi-final win
over Bruce Cameron's home-ice squad, while Quebec extended their perfect
record with a win over Ken Gregory's Bradford rink.
Bradford later beat Cameron to take 3rd spot.
In the recreational division, Team Michel finished 1st, over Beaudin,
then Quebec and Wong-Sing.
More details if and when available.
Unbeaten USA 1 and Quebec head
into playoffs at Cathy Kerr
Wheelchair curling's largest event, the
6th Annual Cathy Kerr Memorial Bonspiel, with ten competitive teams and
four more playing in the recreational division, is underway in Ottawa,
The competitive teams, playing for $1400 prize money, were divided into
two pools, and after the four game round robin, Team USA 1 and Team
Quebec are unbeaten going into tomorrow's playoff rounds.
On Sunday USA 1 plays Cameron, with the
winner playing the winner of Quebec vs Bradford for the title.
Team USA 1 vs Team Cameron
Team Bradford vs Team Quebec
Team Thiessen vs Team Rees
Team NFL vs Team Ilderton
Team Fraser vs Team USA 2
1st – Team Beaudin
2nd – Team Michel
3rd = Team Quebec
4th – Team Wong-Sing
Recreational Sunday Draw
1st vs 2nd place
3rd vs 4h place
Team Canada to attend first camp
since Vancouver gold
Canada's gold medal winning team, plus
late cuts to the squad Chris Sobkowicz and Gerry Austgarden, will be
attending their first camp since the Vancouver Paralympics, this weekend
in Richmond, BC.
National team coach Joe Rea and sport psychologist Dr. Laura Farres of
Mind In Motion Consulting Inc. will be at the camp. Dr. Farres article
"Preparing Mentally for Major Events" can be read
WCF Head Umpire offers tips for
Linda Kirton, Head Umpire at the 2010
Worlds Qualifying in Finland, offers her tips for team timekeeping in
competitive events HERE.
Team Canada take to the ice at
Richmond Cashspiel Dec 1-4
The Richmond Centre for Disability is
sponsoring their 4th Annual International Bonspiel from December 1-4, at
the Richmond CC.
Team Canada coaches are forming two teams and Wendy Morgan confirmed
that Jim will be playing. Initial team listings show Jim, Darryl, Ina,
Sonja and Bruno on one team, with Gerry Austgarden returning to the
fold, skipping Frank LaBounty, Whitney Warren and Alberta's Anne
Hibberd. Coach Joe Rea may juggle those line-ups during the competition.
Korea, who featured in last year's event, are bringing seven players and
three players from the Evergreen CC in Portland, Oregon, will compete in
a team skipped by Vancouver's Bob MacDonald. One of the Americans,
Stephen Hart, recently returned from a spiel in McCall, Idaho where he
was the only wheelchair user at the event.
Manitoba's Chris Sobkowicz's team
includes Gary Cormack, Chris Daw and Corinne Jensen. Three skips and a
lead will be fun to watch. Host Team R.C.D. includes past and present
Canadian National Champions Jacqueline Roy, Samantha Siu, Vince Miele,
Rich Green and Tom Parker. A seventh team will be made up of those
attending but not selected for the other sides.
Play begins on Wednesday, December 1st, and concludes with the playoffs
on Saturday, December 4th. Prizes will be awarded to the top three teams
with $1,000 being awarded to the first place team. There will also be
$50 prize money awarded for each win during round-robin play.
CLICK HERE for more event details.
Aussies win first competitive
Now that Australia has its first
dedicated curling ice at the Ice House in Melbourne Docklands, long time
Aussie curling advocate James Oastler has been organizig a wheelchair
The group - skip: Glen Bond, 3rd: Sarah Miller, 2nd: Kon Kiryakudya and
lead: Danny Chaplin (positions will change) have been practicing
regularly and this past Monday evening won their first game at the
Melbourne Summer Curling competition.
Playing an experienced able-bodied team, they got off to a great start
with a 3 in the first and followed with a steal, only to fall behind 5-4
in the 4th. The rallied, however, to record the first win by an Aussie
wheelchair team, 7-5.
Weekend Wrap-up - 32 teams plus 2
With ten teams in Lohja Finland finishing
the Worlds Qualifying, seven teams in Utica NY for the US Open, and six
in Prague for their Open (information previously posted) three other
tournaments this weekend made it the busiest three days of wheelchair
curling since the sport began.
In Bern Switzerland, five teams competed for the 2010 Rolli Trophy. Jens
Jager's new Mainhattan Ice Wheelers won the event. His team from the
Schwenningen CC: Heike Melchior at lead, Uwe Raschke 2nd, and Martin
Schlitt at 3rd. Teams from Lausanne, Basel, Bern and Wetzikon competed.
Results are available
In Calgary, the Alberta CF and the Calgary Wheelchair Curling
Association sponsored Alberta's first Cashspiel, a four team double
round robin event at the Ogden Legion CC. Team (Jack) Smart (5-1), with
Bruno Yizek, Ann Anne Hibberd, Bridget Wilson and Martin Purvis took the
$400 first prize, which they donated back to the club towards next
year's event which they hope to schedule in October.
Last year's Team Saskatchewan skip Darwin Bender (4-2, $300) brought
provincial teammates Gil Dash, Marie Wright and Terry Hart. Michael
Alberg (2-4, $200) who is hoping this year to break Chris Sobkowicz
monopoly on the Manitoba provincial title, brought Dennis Thiessen,
Effie Loubardias and Heather Mowat.
A second Calgary team skipped by Dale Keith (1-5, $100) with George
Assenheimer, Curtis Junor, Wanda Pizzinato, and Jolly Knowles completed
the field. and also donated their prize money.
Jim Armstrong and Darryl Neighbour won the mixed Golden (2on2) Stick
Spiel in Maple Ridge, BC. Gary Cormack partnered Chris Daw in the other
wheelchair pairing of the 14 team field. Results
Next week is the Cathy Kerr Memorial Bonspiel in Ottawa; with 15 teams
Norway continue 17-0 run with win
at Prague Open
Norway won their third successive
tournament and notched their 17th consecutive match without a loss, by
taking the Prague Open this weekend. Norway's coach Thoralf Hognestad,
who took back the reins this season after a year away from the game,
took the opportunity to introduce two new players to international
competition; Tone Edvartsen and Terje Rafdal. They played with the
experienced back end of Rune Lorentsen and his vice, Jostein Stordahl.
Germany, skipped by Marcus Sieger, who threw 3rd stones, were tied with
Norway and had hammer going into the final end, but surrendered a single
for their only loss, 6-5.
The Italians, though winless, had three of their matches decided by a
1. Norway 5-0
2. Germany 4-1
3. Czech Rep2 3-2
4. Czech Rep1 2-3
5. Poland 1-4
6. GS Periscopio (ITA) 0-5
Results can be found
Goose Perez skips USA 1 to US Open
Team USA skip Goose Perez skipped USA 1
to the US Open title at Utica, NY. Playing with national lead Jaqui
Kapinowski at 3rd, and with newcomers Laura Schwanger and Penny Greely,
the Perez team finished with a decisive 5 win and one tie record.
USA 2, Bradford and Quebec all finished on 7 points, the order decided
on tie breaks.
USA #1: 11221001: 8
Toronto: 00000210: 3
USA #2: 20004021: 9
Cape Cod: 04110100: 7
Bradford: 01131010: 7
Quebec: 10000105: 7
USA #2: 3104010X -: 9
Quebec: 0010102X -: 4
USA #1: 4020330X -: 12
Cape Cod: 0103001X -: 5
Ottawa: 222030XX: 9
Toronto: 000101XX: 2
1. USA #1 (5-0-1, 11 points)
2. USA #2 (3-2-1, 7 points) *beat Bradford and Quebec head-to-head
3. Bradford (2-1-3, 7 points) *tied Quebec head-to-head but won more
4. Quebec (3-2-1, 7 points)
5. Ottawa (3-3-0, 6 points)
6. Toronto (1-3-2, 4 points)
7. Cape Cod (0-6-0, 0 points)
US Open Day 2
USA 1 scored 8 points in victories over
Ottawa (8-3) and Quebec (8-5) to go top of the table on the second day of the US Open in Utica,
NY. Players on the current USA national team have been divided between
two teams at this event, with 'Goose' Perez and Jaqui Kapinowski in USA
1, and Jim Pierce and Jimmy Joseph in USA 2.
USA 2 beat Ken Gregory's Bradford team 9-2, and tied 5-5 with Chris
Quebec's Ben Lesard, with a win and a loss before their third gae of the
day, fell behind Bruce Cameron 5-4 at the break after leading 4-1, but
regrouped with a steal of 3 that held off Cameroon's Ottawa team's late
rally for an 8-7 victory.
Bradford's game against Toronto showed how unpredictable wheelchair
curling can be. Bradford began with three singles, then gave up a 6 to
fall behind 3-6 at the break, only to tie the game 8-8 with a 4 in the
Newcomers Cape Cod with David Palmer at skip, had never been asked to
play three games in a day against experienced opposition, and gave up
some very big ends. They could take some comfort from their third game
where they kept the 5s and 6s off the scoreboard and held Bradford to 8
points over seven ends.
There will be a
webcast of Team USA 1's final games Sunday at 8.30am and 12.45pm
Results Draw 3
USA #2: 3 1 1 0 3 1 X X - 9
Bradford: 0 0 0 2 0 0 X X - 2
Quebec: 1 5 0 3 5 1 X X - 15
Cape Cod: 0 0 1 0 0 0 X X - 1
USA #1: 2 2 2 0 0 2 X X - 8
Ottawa: 0 0 0 1 2 0 X X - 3
Ottawa: 6 2 0 3 0 5 X X - 16
Cape Cod: 0 0 1 0 1 0 X X - 2
Toronto: 0 0 0 6 1 0 1 0 - 8
Bradford: 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 4 - 8
USA #1: 2 0 1 3 2 0 0 0 - 8
Quebec: 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 1 - 5
USA #2: 1 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 - 5
Toronto: 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 - 5
Bradford: 0 1 3 2 0 1 1 X - 8
Cape Cod: 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 X - 3
Quebec: 1 0 3 0 1 3 0 0 - 8
Ottawa: 0 1 0 4 0 0 1 1 - 7
USA #1: 3-0-1
USA #2: 1-2-1
Cape Cod: 0-4-0
US Open Day 1
The US Open in Utica, NY, features three
US based teams and four visiting Canadian club teams.
Team USA are searching for a replacement for Patrick McDonald, and
expect to experiemnt with line-ups over the weekend. For the two Friday
draws Goose Perez skipped USA 1 and his regular vice-skip Jim Pierce
skipped USA 2.
They faced each other in the opening draw, and USA 2 got off to a
promising start when they stole a point in the opening end, but lost
Toronto beat Cape Cod 9 - 2. It was Cape Cod's first competitive game
away from home ice. Ken Gregory's Bradford saw off the challenge of
their province's champions, Bruce Cameron's Ottawa.
USA 1 * 0 1 1 0 4 0 1 3 - 10
USA 2 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 - 4
Quebec had a bye. Here are the line scores from the other morning games.
Toronto * 1 4 0 0 2 1 1 X - 9
Cape Cod 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 X - 2
Bradford * 1 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 - 6
Ottawa 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 - 3
In the afternoon USA 1 only managed a 5-5 tie with Bradford, while
Ottawa with a steal of 2 in the second, closed out a 7-4 win over USA 2
with another pair in the final end.
Quebec opened their account by hammering Toronto with a 4 in the 1st
end. They added 8 points in the final two ends for a 15-6 win.
Bradford * 1 0 2 0 0 1 0 1 - 5
USA 1 0 1 0 1 2 0 1 0 - 5
Ottawa * 1 2 0 1 0 1 0 2 - 7
USA 2 0 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 - 4
Quebec * 4 0 3 0 0 3 5 X - 15
Toronto 0 3 0 2 1 0 0 X - 6
Ice conditions are reportedly good, with 4 feet of curl on a t-line
Technical problems interfered with the live webcast Friday, but
organisers hope that future games featuring USA 1 will be available
Esquimalt CC welcomes wheelchair
Esquimalt CC, on Bc's Vancouver Island,
is making big efforts to open its doors to wheelchair users. They have a
large ramp to get up to ice level and just this week have installed a
large electrically operated sliding door to enter out onto the ice.
Last weekend they held their inaugural 2on2 stick bonspiel and
wheelchair user Dave Graves, who curls out of Juan de Fuca but practices
at Esquimalt regularly, paired up with Ned Nedzelski, finishing with a 2
and 2 record.
USA's Goose Perez takes a fair
play message to school
Team USA's skip Augusto 'Goose' Perez to
a very personal message of hard work and fair play to the Mount Anthony
Union Middle School last Wednesday. He was invited to speak to students
by teacher Brian Keller.
You can read what he told the students, what's happening in the photo
and what is on the piece of paper he carries when he trains, by reading
Daawson Raspuzzi's report in the
China and Russia qualify for 2011
China and Russia qualified for the 2011
World Championships to be held next February in Prague, by emerging from
two rounds of Page playoff games today.
China had topped the table after round robin play, and faced Italy, who
also had a 7-1 record, in the 1v2 game. It was quickly decided. Italy
stole 1 in the first and then gave up a 7 in the 2nd, and could never
recover, losing 10-4.
China * 0 7 0 1 1 0 1 x - 10
Italy 1 0 1 0 0 2 0 x - 4
China therefore qualified, while Japan waited to play the winner of the
2v3 game for the second qualifying place.
Russia, who had lost their chance to play in the 1v2 game yesterday when
they were beaten by Japan, faced japan again in the 3v4. This time they
asserted themselves early, stealing a single in the 3rd and a big 4 in
the fourth to lead 6-1 at the break. Though Japan came back with a 4 of
their own, they were always struggling to catch up though Russia needed
their skip's last rock draw for a single point with hammer, to seal the
Russia * 0 1 1 4 0 2 0 1 - 9
Japan 1 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 - 6
That set up a Russia. Italy match for the second qualifying place. They
had met in the first round robin draw, a game that produced the highest
points total of the tournament when Italy took two in the final end to
Today's game was much tighter. Russia started with hammer, took a
single, then stole a point and added to their lead by scoring 2 for a
4-1 lead at the break. Italy scored the next three points, including
steals of one in the 7th and 8th to force an extra, and were in with a
chance with their last stone. Unfortunately for Italy, substitute skip
Edigio Marchese's final rock was heavy, and Russia took two for a 6-4
Russia * 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 - 6
Italy 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 - 4
China and Russia join hosts Czech Republic, Canada, Sweden, Germany,
USA, Scotland, Norway, and Korea at the 2011 World Wheelchair Curling
Championships in Prague, February 21-March 3.
The 2011 Worlds will be the first opportunity for countries to register
points towards qualification for the 2014 Paralympics in Russia. The top
nine point scorers over the next three World Championships, will join
hosts Russia in Sochi, 2014. This makes it additionally heartbreaking
for Italy today, losing such a tight game to a country that does not
need to qualify in 2014. Of course Russia, relative newcomers to the
sport, will need all the top level competition it can gain if they hope
to do well on home ice.
France, who attended the Qualifying tournament but were not allowed to
compete because of a dispute between the French Curling Association and
their governing body the French Federation of Ice Sports, nevertheless
were able to play their games as friendlies.
Any country affiliated to the World Curling Federation was eligible to
play in this Qualifying Tournament, so France did not take a place that
would otherwise have gone to another country.
Worlds Qualifying - Day 5 - China
top the table
China faced unbeaten Italy in the morning
draw of the last day of round robin play at the 2010 Worlds Qualifying
in Kohja, Finland, with the winner assured of a place in the
Page-playoff top two.
China had their perfect record broken by great double take-out that
earned Russia a 5-4 win yesterday. Today Italy had no answer to a
relentless series of single point steals, China winning 7-1.
In the other morning match with top spot implications, Russia began
promisingly against Japan, stealing one in the first end and leading 8-6
after 6 ends. Japan outlasted them, however, taking 3 to go ahead, and
sealing the 10-8 win with a final end steal. That meant Russia, who had
a final round bye, would need help to claim a top spot.
Switzerland, who had to win both games to have a realistic hope of a
tie-break entry to the playoffs, began the day with an 11-3 win over
Denmark played Finland, stole 3 in the 1st and 2 in the 5th to go out to
a 6-3 lead. The host side tied the game with a steal in the 7th, but
Denmark steadied themselves to post their second win, taking 3 in the
final end to win 9-6.
In the afternoon draw, China beat winless Latvia 12-1 to ensure they
would finish top of the table. Russia, and Italy with just one loss,
were assured playoff places, which left Japan and Switzerland fighting
for the remaining playoff spot.
If Japan beat Finland they would claim it. if they lost and Switzerland
beat Italy, Japan and Switzerland would play each other in a tie-break.
Japan started their match by giving up 4 in the 1st. They levelled the
score at the break, but Finland, who'd had a disappointing tournament as
far as results went, salvaged some pride by taking the last 6 points in
a 10-4 win.
Switzerland, with everything to play for, faced Italy and though tied
2-2 at the break, faded to a 7-3 loss. “We feel a little bit sad because
the game against Italy was our last chance,” said Swiss vice-skip
Claudia Hüttenmoser. “They played better than us and that’s life."
This means the top two teams, China and Italy, will play for the first
of two qualifying places. The loser of that match will then play the
winner of Japan/Russia, for the second qualifying spot.
"But who wins the tournament? They play all week, and there isn't a
final final?" someone asked. No, and that's why it's called a qualifying
tournament and not a bonspiel.
Final table after 9 draws
China 7 - 1
Italy 7 - 1
Japan 5 - 3
Russia 6 - 2
Switzerland 4 - 4
Slovakia 3 - 5
Denmark 2 - 6
Finland 2 - 6
Latvia 0 - 8
Tommorrow noon local time
Game 1 - 1 vs 2 - China vs Italy - winner qualifies for 2011 Worlds
Game 2 - 3 vs 4 - Russia vs Japan
Tomorrow 4.30 local time
Loser Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 - winner qualifies for 2011 Worlds
Line scores from the games are available HERE. Click on date.
Hopefully at least one of the first round of playoff games will be on
Sheet B so we can watch a webcast.
Worlds Qualifying - Day 4 - Italy
still perfect after beating China
The top of the table teams continued to
win in the morning draw at the Worlds Qualifying tournament in Lohja,
Finland, but at the end of the day, only Italy (6-0) remained unbeaten.
They have adjusted to the loss of their skip, Andreas Marchese, who had
to return home before play began, and as the week has progressed, they
have looked more and more comfortable.
Russia arrived 10 days early and their
pre-tournament training seems to have paid off. They saw off winless
Latvia 8-3 in the morning. Denmark fought to the end of their 7-10 loss
against Japan, but a steal of two in the 8th was not nearly enough to
overcome Japan's steal of 5 in the 2nd.
China posted a 4 and a 5 on their way to a 12-5 win against probably the
most experienced skip on the ice, Switzerland's Manfred Bollinger.
Slovakia is appearing for just the second
time at a world level event. In 2008 they lost all their games, but this
morning they posted their second win, 8-7 after stealing a point in the
last end against hosts Finland.
The marquee match-up in the afternoon draw was Russia with one loss
against previously unbeaten China. China had the hammer and took one in
the first and added a stolen single in the second. Russia pulled level
with 2 in the 3rd fell behind by one in the 4th and pulled ahead with 2
in the fifth.
The 6th end saw a rare blank, but China could only claim a single point
to level the scores after 7. Russia won the match, and second place in
the standings, with a double takeout to win 5-4 to the cheers of a large
group of Russian spectators.
Italy, who had a bye in the morning, buried Finland 11-1 in 7. Japan
kept their playoff hopes alive by beating Slovakia 7-5, though the
Slovaks gave them a scare by stealing the first two ends.
Denmark finally posted a win, 9-6, outlasting Latvia by stealing 3 in an
Italy and Russia are guaranteed a playoff spot and China could still
take first place. Japan and Switzerland are also still in contention for
On current form, Japan and China both look to win at least one game
tomorrow, which will force Switzerland to win both and beat Italy in the
final draw to have a chance of playing on Friday.
Standings after Draw 7
Italy 6 - 0
China 5 - 1
Russia 6 - 1
Switzerland 3 - 3
Japan 4 - 2
Finland 1 - 5
Slovakia 2 - 5
Denmark 0 - 6
Latvia 0 - 6
Some random notes: teams are drawing to
the button for hammer, and all but Denmark have missed the rings, thus
reverting to a toss. Today Latvia came within 3.2 cm, and Finland threw
within 2 cm of the pin.
It has been snowing and outside
temperatures are around freezing. Apparently it's not a pleasant walk
from the arena to the dining hall.
No one is complaining about the ice,
which has maintained decent speed and curl.
There haven't been any time clock
penalties, though Russia has had time expire before their final rock has
stopped, and Switzerland has run the clock down to less than 10 seconds.
The clock operators and on-ice player assistants are from the facility's
teaching program. They are training to be Sports Leaders, are young,
enthusiastic, very cooperative and quick learners.
Thursday's games begin 9am local time. A
live webcast from Sheet B can be seen
Line scores from the games are available
HERE. Click on date.
2 on 2 stick tournament at Maple
Ridge November 13-14
2010 Rolli Trophy takes place in
Bern Nov. 13-14
Jens Jäger, no longer skip of the German
national team, will nevertheless be competing with his Mainhattan Ice
Rollers for the 2010 Rolli Trophy in Bern, Switzerland, this weekend.
He will face teams from Wetzikon, Basel, Lausanne, and Bern.
competing in the Prague Open November 12-14
Four international teams are traveling to
the Czech Republic this weekend for the 2010 Prague Open, November
Norway's coach Thoralf Hognestad is introducing a new front end to
international competition. Tone Edvartsen will play lead and Terje
Rafdal will play 2nd. Long time skip Rune Lorentsen and Jostein Stordahl
round out the team.
Team Germany, having displaced Paralympic skip Jens Jäger, will be
skipped by Marcus Sieger, who will continue to play 3rd stones, while
Jens Gabel throws last. Stefan Deuschl plays lead and Christiane Steger
Paolo Ioriatti skips an Italian squad with a female, Gabriele
Dallapiccola, at 3rd. Poland last appeared in a World event in the 2008
Qualifiers, but none of that team are playing in Prague. Of the four
playing now, Eugeniusz Błaszczak played for Poland in 2006 joined by
Maciej Karaś in 2007.
The Czechs field two teams in preparation for deciding their squad as
hosts of the 2011 Worlds next February.
Team line-ups can be seen
Seven team field for 5th Annual
US Open in Utica Nov. 12-14
Seven teams have signed on for this
year's US Open, held for the 5th time in Utica NY from November 12-14.
The format is a full 6 game round robin.
Team USA is fielding two teams and will be searching for a replacement
for Patrick McDonald, out for the season after shoulder surgery. Cape
Cod CC is sending a team, and four Canadian teams round out the field:
Team Lessard (Quebec), Team Bradford skipped by Ken Gregory, Team
Toronto and Team Cameron (Ottawa).
There will be a
live webcast of all Team USA 1's games, who open against
Team USA 2 at 9.30 Friday morning. The final draw is 12.45pm Sunday.
The draw schedule is HERE.
Wheelchair bonspiel in Calgary this weekend Nov. 12-14
Calgary's Team Alberta is hosting a
bonspiel on their home ice at the
Ogden Legion CC. Team Smart will face Team Keith, also from Calgary,
and Team Alberg from Manitoba and Team Bender from Saskatchewan.
It will be a double round robin of 6 end games, beginning noon on Friday
November 12, with the final beginning 10am on Sunday.
Fredericton CC "coming on fast."
Worlds Qualifying - Day 3 - Italy
and China unbeaten
Experience is beginning to tell at the
midway point of Worlds Qualifying in Lohja, Finland. Italy (5-0) "seem
invincible" according to one experienced observer, and stand in skip
Edigio Marchese is doing an excellent job guiding the team. This
morning's 6-4 win over Japan featured a steal of 2 in the final end of
what had been a very tight contest.
Several teams have been running their
time clocks dangerously close to zero. Japan had only 6 minutes left for
their final end against Italy, and even though skip Katsuo had 3 minuets
to deliver his final stones, he did not look comfortable. He had to make
full 8 foot with his last rock to beat Italy, but his stone overcurled,
or perhaps he was tight to the broom.
Italy faced an easier challenge against
winless Latvia (0-4) in the afternoon, winning 9-3 after leading 7-0 at
Japan(2-2) recovered from their morning loss to take an important win
over Switzerland (3-2), a team that will challenge them for a playoff
place. Again steals in ends 3 and 4 were the difference in a 6-3 win.
Switzerland, with hammer, had earlier spotted Slovakia (1-4) to a 3-0
start, but ended comfortable winners 9-3.
Unbeaten China (4-0) had a comfortable 9-2 win over hosts Finland in the
morning draw, but were almost shocked by Slovakia in the afternoon,
giving up a 5 in the 4th and falling behind 8-2. They then regrouped,
taking 2 with hammer in the 6th, and stealing 3 in the 7th to pull
within one. Another steal of 3 in the eighth gave them a 10-8 win.
Slovakian skip Radoslav Duriš had a
chance with his first stone of the final end, to throw a guard which
would have made it very difficult for China to remove it to score.
Unluckily for Slovakia, the attempted guard was hogged and removed.
Slovakia still had a chance with their final stone - an open hit, or
draw to China's shot stone would have kept their lead intact, but
Radoslav was a little inside on his release, his stone over-curled, and
China completed a dramatic come back.
Slovakia is one of three teams on 4 losses, which I'm sure Vic Rauter
would agree in an eight game tournament will be too many to contend.
Finland (1-3) had beaten Russia three times in three attempts in
pre-tournament friendly matches, so were especially disappointed to lose
10-7 to their neighbours. Finland took 4 in the 7th to go ahead 7-6, but
then gave up 4 for the loss.
The morning's excellent quality webcast (with commentary) saw Russia
play Denmark. The Danes ("we're red. we're white. we're dynamite") have
an experienced coach (Per Christensen, who coached Norway at the
Vancouver Paralympics) yet they are the only team using what must surely
by now be the discredited near t-line delivery zone Great
The additional distance meant their lead found it hard to reach the
rings, the front even with hammer became cluttered, and Denmark looked
every bit an 0-4 team. In what became an all too typical situation, in
the 2nd end Danish skip Kenneth Ørbaek had few good options, facing 4
with his last rock. He could have tried a runback of his own stone near
the house and centre line, which had he hit it would have at least cut
down on the damage. He chose a wide come-around that went through the
Webcast times don't work very well for those of us in the Pacific time
zone, but anyone watching who cares to send in a report is very welcome.
It had snowed and froze before Day 2 and despite conscientious wheel
cleaning efforts, the occasional rock would hit a piece of the gravel
from the paths outside; just one of the worries for ice-makers Jorgen
Larsen and local assistant Mika Ollikainen.
Standings after Draw 5
Italy 5 - 0
China 4 - 0
Russia 4 - 1
Switzerland 3 - 2
Japan 2 - 2
Finland 1 - 3
Slovakia 1 - 4
Denmark 0 - 4
Latvia 0 - 4
Line scores from the games are available HERE. Click on date.
A live webcast from Sheet B can be seen HERE
Jaqui Kapinowski, Team USA lead,
is 3rd in NY marathon
Team USA lead Jaqui Kapinowski finished
3rd fastest of the women competing in the hand-cycle division of the NY
City Marathon yesterday, finishing the 26+ mile course in 2.14.04.
You can read a feature article about Jaqui
Worlds Qualifying - Day 2
Hosts Finland, who had a bye in the
opening draw when France were unable to compete, faced Switzerland in
Draw 2 of Worlds Qualifying. They gave up a steal of 2 in the 1st then
exchanged 2's for Swiss 3's, losing 9-6.
Russia opened with 4 stolen points against Slovakia, then saw their lead
disappear into a two point deficit as Slovakia stole singles in four
consecutive ends. Russia took 2 in the 8th and stole a 7-6 win with a
single in an extra end.
Denmark posted their second loss despite steals in the first 3 ends
against Italy, who recovered from 5-3 down after 6, by stealing a 6-5
Japan had a comfortable 10-3 win over Latvia and China had a bye.
In the afternoon session hosts Finland, despite spotting Latvia to a 5
point lead, all on steals, stole the last four ends to win 7-5. Latvia
looked as though they would pull out a win down one in the 8th, with a
spectacular double raise. But Finnish skip Tuomo Aarnikka managed a
freeze with his final stone and Aleksandrs Dimbovkis' last rock draw
went two centimeters too far to force an extra end.
Italy continued their perfect start with a win over Slovakia, 8-5.
Behind by three after two ends, they drew level on two impressive last
stones by stand-in skip Edigio Marchese in the 3rd, and earned their win
without the hammer.
Russia found themselves down one without hammer after 7 ends against
favoured Switzerland, but with a steal of one in the 8th and another in
the extra, posted a 9-8 win.
China had a comfortable 10-2 win over Denmark. Japan, scheduled to play
France, had a bye. The French team, though disappointed not to be
playing, have remained in Lohja and are enjoying the experience of
watching international level wheelchair curling.
Denmark's Jorgen Larsen is the ice-maker, and ice on the second day,
with the arena slightly less cold, was a little quicker and still with
plenty of curl. Teams appear happy with the ice conditions.
Table after 3 draws
Italy 3 - 0
China 2 - 0
Russia 2 - 1
Switzerland 2 - 1
Finland 1 - 1
Japan 1 - 1
Slovakia 1 - 2
Denmark 0 - 3
Latvia 0 - 3
Full results can be found
HERE. Click on the date to see line scores.
Worlds Qualifying underway in
Finland - France withdraws
Ten teams hoped to compete in the Worlds
Qualifying tournament in Lohja, Finland, for the final two places at the
2011 Worlds in Prague next February. However, a surprise ruling by the
French Federation for Ice Sports (FFSG) meant that France has withdrawn,
and their game against hosts Finland has been declared void.
France were apparently caught in a legal dispute between the French
Curling Association and the FFSG and were unable to produce the required
"permission to compete" form prior to the tournament starting, and
therefore had to withdraw.
Those allowed to play include three teams (Japan, Italy and Switzerland)
who competed at Vancouver Paralympics, plus China who were at the last
Worlds, Vancouver 2009.
Italy lost their experienced skip, Andrea Tabanelli, who had to return
to Italy today. Edigio Marchese moved up to skip and alternate Emanuale
Spelorzi played 2nd. Despite the rearrangement, Italy took 2 in the
final end to overcome Russia in a slugfest that saw 3's scored in 6 of
the 8 ends. Marat Romanov is skipping and throwing 3rd stones for Russia
in a change from the website listing.
Japan had won a warm-up tournament at Wetzikon (SUI) but started cold
against China who raced out to a 5-1 lead after 3, with steals of two in
the 2nd and the 3rd ends. Japan came back wth three in the 4th, but
never quite caught up; their two in the final end leaving them on the
short end of a 7-6 result. Japan's skip at the Paralympics, Yoji
Nakajima, had been registered as alternate, but played 3rd.
Denmark attempted to steal their way back into the match against
Switzerland but failed to overcme the 5 points stolen by the Swiss,
losing 9-6. The Danes were the only team throwing from the rings rather
than the hogline, as Scotland throw under Coach Pendreigh. Denmark's
coach is Per Christensen who was in charge of Team Norway last season.
Slovakia registered their first World level win, breaking Latvia's
promising start by taking 5 in the fifth and then stealing their way
home to an 11-3 victory.
Ice conditions for the only draw of the day were consistent and swingy,
but heavy. Hog to hog draw times were 12.5 seconds, and the ice makers
hope to quicken the ice for subsequent draws. Heavy ice meant that most
of the front end play across the sheets was in front of the house.
The better teams at the Paralympics were calling for front stones into
the rings, so we'll see whether quicker ice or changed tactics make a
difference as the week continues.
Line scores from the games are available
A live webcast from Sheet B can be seen
The Star Regrigeration National Pairs
Championship took place in Braehead, Sctland, last weekend. Twenty-three
teams entered and played in four groups.
Games were five ends, each player throwing just three stones per end.
Top finishers in their groups played a "high road" semi-final and final,
while those finishing second played a "low road" semi-final and final.
2009 champions Tom Killin and James Brown faced Aileen Neilsen and
Alison Cloudesley for the trophy, and despite giving up 4 in the 3rd,
won with a steal in the 5th and another in the extra end 6th for a 5-4
In the consolation bracket Mike Mckenzie and Steve Sutherland beat Ian
Donaldson and Brian Douglas 7-2, stealing the last three ends.
There is lots of information on the
RCCC website with draws and scores, but not who played with the
skips - needlessly thrifty, I'd say.
Saskatchewan's Marie Wright is
CCA female athlete of the week
Marie Wright has been named the CCA
Female Athlete of the Week. She curls out of the Hillcrest Curling Club
in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and has represented her province at the last
two national championships.
You can read about her life on and off the ice
Worlds Qualifying begins Nov. 7 -
top two to Prague in 2011
The World Wheelchair Curling Qualifying
Tournament begins Sunday November 7th at the Kisakallio Sports Institute
in Lohja, Finland. Ten teams will compete: China, Denmark, Finland,
France, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia and Switzerland.
They will play a full round robin, the top four teams entering a Page
playoff on Friday November 12. The top two finishers join the top eight
from the 2009 World Championships, and will compete in at the Worlds in
Prague, February 21-March 3, 2011 for Sochi Paralympics qualifying
Italy and Japan both played at the Vancouver Paralympics, on the basis
of prior World Championship performances. Andrea Tabanelli's Italy (5-5)
placed 5th in Vancouver but though they also tied for 5th at the 2009
Worlds, they lost out after a series of multiple tie-break games,
falling to 9th and thus forced to requalify. They bring their Vancouver
team to Finland.
Japan were the hard luck team of the 2008 Worlds, when they were
relegated by a couple of centimetres on a pre-event draw to the button
tie-breaker. The unfairness of their fate led to a tie-break rule
change. This year's Qualifying will be Japan's second attempt to regain
their status as a World Championship team.
Japan's skip in Vancouver, Yogi Nakajima is listed as alternate for
Finland, with his 3rd Katsuo Ichikawa, moving up to skip. Takashi Hidai,
at 75 the oldest Paralympian, did not make the trip Japan is the
only team slated to start two women, copying Canada's all-female front
Switzerland's very experienced skip, Manfred Bollinger, will have a new
2nd, Hieronymus Liechtenham. Daniel Meyer replaces Anton Kehrli at lead.
Four teams list two female members (SLO, RUS, JAP, FIN). Denmark and
France travel with just four person teams.
China bring in a new female at 2nd, Guanqin Xu, the only change from the
befuddled Canada during round robin play at the 2009 Worlds.
Denmark welcome back Per Christensen as coach. Per was in charge of
Norway at the Vancouver Paralympics, but moved back to his home team
when coach Thoralf Hognestad returned to his old job.
Russia arrived in Lohja at the end of October and have been practicing
with their neighbour and host Finland. They are hoping to regain World
Championship status after being relegated with Japan at the 2008 Worlds,
though coach Vladimir Shevchenko told the WCF media he "believes that
the level in this year's tournament will be extremely high and making it
to the top two will be very challenging."
Finland began wheelchair curling in 2007 and have never made it to a
Worlds, though they did have an
upset win over Team Canada in Prague last November.
France, Latvia and Slovakia round out the field.
Tournament organizers plan
live webcast coverage of games on Sheet B. The first game on Sheet B
is China vs. Japan, starting 4pm local time on Sunday November 7.
The draw and game schedule can be found
HERE and other event information can be found
You can see results from all major championships from 2006 by using the
links on the events page.
It's a family affair at the
Coach Dan Janidlo, who worked with Al
Whittier to establish Quebec's first wheelchair curling program at the
Lennoxville CC, has now moved to Montreal. That has not stopped his
involvement at Lennoxville, however as he and two wheelchair users and
their wives will be taking the two hour drive to attend Sunday
He says: "In addition to an open invitation to all in wheelchairs who
would like to try curling we are also inviting families who would like
to try curling to come to the curling club."
A schedule of this season's
practices is HERE and he asks that anyone interested call any of the
people at the bottom of the sheet to ensure sufficient resources are
Team Canada news
Team Canada members will get together the
weekend of November 19-21 in Richmond BC for the first time as a group
since their triumph at the Vancouver Paralympics. Chris Sobkowicz and
Gerry Austgarden have also been invited to attend the training camp.
While there is inevitable speculation about the eventual status of Jim
Armstrong given his legal predicament, the CCA's chief executive officer
Greg Stremlaw confirmed with me today that Jim remains a member of Team
Canada and eligible for selection to the national side.
"I can relay that the process related to Jim Armstrong and our review
with multiple stakeholders is on-going," Stremlaw told me via email.
"If and when there is information which is to be shared with the
public about this review, we will advise in a timely fashion.
"That said, I do not expect any developments in the next few days (so)
therefore there is no change until such time as these procedures, as a
minimum, have been taken."
Stakeholders in this context include Sport Canada, who fund the carding
system, and Own The Podium who contribute money to the national program.
Jim has been taking the occasional practice at the Richmond CC, and is
expected to partner with teammate Darryl Neighbour at the 3rd Annual
Stick (2on2) Bonspiel at the Golden Ears CC in Maple Ridge BC November
Speaking of Darryl, he joined coach Wendy Morgan in Winnipeg this past
weekend for the second of Team Canada's nationwide tour of talent
identification and development camps. Team Sobkowicz and Team Thiessen
were joined by Northern Ontario champs Team Ficek for the weekend
Katsuo Ichikawa's Team Japan wins
Twelve teams competed at the Wetzikon
International this weekend in what for Japan, Switzerland, France and
Italy was a warm-up for the World Qualifying Tournament in Lohja,
Finland from November 7-12, 2010.
Deposed Team Germany skip Jens Jäger, who brought two 'Mainhattan
Ice Wheelers' teams to Switzerland, was top of
Group A, and faced
Group B winners Team Japan skipped by Katsuo Ichikawa, in the final,
losing 8 - 1.
The Zurich Caledonian Pipe Band led by
Ruedi Attinger played at the closing ceremonies, rounding off a very
successful tournament that will be repeated October 29-30, 2011.
The full scoreboard and teams members can be found
Final Ranking - Team and skip
1. JWCA Japan / Katsuo Ichikawa
2. Mainhattan Ice Wheelers 1 / Jens Jäger
3. Team Italia / Andrea Tabanelli
4. Team Wetzikon 1 / Ivo Hasler
5. Limmattal / Max Brunner
6. Team Swiss / Manfred Bolliger
7. RC Beider Basel 1 / Fredy Borner
8. roll'in stones Strasbourg (Team France) / Andre Jouvent
9. GS Periscopio / Paolo Ioriatti
10. Mainhattan Ice Wheelers 2 / Caren Totzauer
11. SPORT DI PIU / Nicola Gaeta
12. CC Lausanne Olymp /Didier Recordon
Full house for 6th Annual Cathy
Kerr Memorial Bonspiel
Double gold medalist Sonja Gaudet
to host demo in PEI
Sonja Gaudet, Canada's double gold
medalist, will be traveling across the country to host a demonstration
and instruction session at the Silver Fox CC in Summerside PEI.
The session will be held on Sunday November 21, from 1.30 to 4.30.
Wheelchair users, potential coaches and helpers, family and friends are
all welcome. Contact Gayle Johnston at 902-368-1071 for more
information. You can download the event poster HERE.
Rainey and Douglas win S.
Gordon Rainey and Brian Douglas won the
inaugural South Lanarkshire Wheelchair Curling Pairs competition,
sponsored by Bell's Meat Pies. John Bell was on hand to present to
present the trophy in what is hoped will become an annual fixture.
The event was reported by
who reminds me that the Star
Refrigeration National Pairs Championship takes place this weekend,
October 29-31, at Braehead. Twenty-one teams are taking part, playing in
four sections. The teams and the draw are
here. Play begins on Friday at
The top team from each section play semifinals at 12.45 pm on Sunday,
with the final of the national championship scheduled for 2.30 pm.
Second placed teams in each section play in consolation bracket.
WCF widens eligibility criteria
to include non-wheelchair users
At the World Curling Association's
meeting in Cortina at the end of last season, a detailed document was
presented covering classification rules for wheelchair curling. One of
the deficiences it addressed was the absence of any procedure to appeal
a decision by an authorised classifier to grant or refuse eligibility.
The document was referred back for further study and became official WCF
policy in June.
A major change was to redefine wheelchair curling from a sport just for
participants requiring a wheelchair for their daily mobility, to one
that includes people with significant demonstrable impairments in
leg/gait function - whether or not they use a wheelchair in their day to
This is a big step towards making the sport available to anyone unable
to curl without a wheelchair.
Curlers currently classified as eligible under the old rules will not
have to reclassify and there can be no appeal of a classification 24
hours after an athlete has appeared in a WCF sanctioned event. There are
detailed procedures for appeals by athletes declared ineligible to play.
You can read the
Classification Rules For Wheelchair Curling here.
Team Cameron get their banner
Team Cameron, 2010 Ontario Provincial
Champions, received their banner from Ian McGillis of the Ontario
Curling Association earlier this month.
See blog for photo.
Armstrong plea agreements
News report suggests reason behind
Armstrong's guilty plea
A report in today's
Richmond News suggests that Jim Armstrong pled guilty to charges of
distributing fake erectile dysfunction pills with intent to mislead or
defraud, because it was a condition of his son Gregory receiving a plea
Reporter Alan Campbell writes: When contacted this week by the News,
Armstrong declined to comment on the guilty plea until after the
sentence is passed down in January.
Armstrong did indicate, however, that the U.S. prosecutor’s offer to
reduce the charges against his son, Gregory, was conditional on Jim also
This fits with an opinion expressed to me by Gerry Peckham that Jim "was
put in an impossible situation and virtually had no choice."
The Canadian Curling Association’s chief executive officer, Greg
Stremlaw, is quoted by the News as saying he was aware that Armstrong’s
plea was struck in terms of his son’s charges.
“All of our athletes have a code of conduct and we’ll have to determine
if (the guilty plea) impacts the codes of conduct in terms of the
national team program."
You can read the story
The two separate plea agreements dropped references to trafficking and
recommended punishments at the low end of sentencing guidelines in
return for guilty pleas and giving up the right to a trial. They are not
binding on Judge Martinez, who will issue sentences on January 28th,
See earlier post and comments from
Shotmaking skill is the focus in
Scotland and Canada
Michael McCreadie, though taking a break
from international competition, remains very much involved in the sport.
His latest project is a recently announced Shotmaker Competition,
organized through the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association.
The competition asks curlers to complete a series of drills at different
locations, the highest scores to be submitted to the SWCA and a prize
awarded for the player with the best cumulative score when adding their
best result from each of three venues.
"The idea is to have a fun competition that raises awareness of
shot-making that I think will carry over into regular play. If people
practice specific shots their skills will improve, and so will their
performance in games," Michael assured me.
"At the end of the season, not only will there be a winner, but the
twelve best performances will earn an invitation to a Shotmaker event in
The competition begins in November. You can read full details of the
drills and the thinking behind the competition by downloading the aims,
objectives and tests. You can register an interest in entering by
filling out this form.
Though ambitious curlers will already throw a range of specific shots
during practice, charted drills allow coaches to gauge progress and
compare athlete performances. That is a large part of the thinking
behind the Team Canada booklet just released by coach Wendy Morgan to
assist in the talent identification and player development program that
will be taking place in venues across Canada this season.
Athletes who think of themselves as national program candidates, will
have the opportunity to display their skills by performing a series of
drills described in the booklet.
I can see the utility of scored drills in bringing someone who might
otherwise be overlooked, to the attention of coaches. And I concede to
Michael that anything that encourages structured practice has to be a
good thing, if you practice as you play, as I have warned previously.
But I remain sceptical about how useful drill totals are in judging
potential game performance. For one thing, players on a four person team
have lengthy waits between pairs of throws.
Every coach I have spoken to say their players have an inflated opinion
of how accurate they can be in competition. High practice percentages
are rarely seen in game situations.
Yes, practice will improve performance and drills can offer a framework
that can make practice more disciplined and more efficient. In the
context of Michael's shotmaker competiton it can also be more fun.
But I would not weight the on-ice performance element of my team
selection on drill scores. I'd want to know how curlers can throw under
pressure; perhaps by choosing, unannounced, single shots from a game
where the curler is told just before they throw that this shot will
become part of their record.
If all shots are charted, no shot is special and if all shots matter,
then none matter. Matches are not like that.
2011 Women of Curling - glamour
with a purpose
2011 Women Of
Curling calendar is now on sale with proceeds going to support
spinal cord research. The campaign also hopes to raise public awareness
of wheelchair curling.
Here, courtesy of
The Curling News, are the 2011 Women of Curling:
December 2010: Colleen Jones NS
January 2011: Ashley Miharija ON
February: Cheryl Bernard AB
March: Chelsea Carey MB
April: Jill Officer MB
May: Kari MacLean ON
June: Sarah Wark BC
July: Andrea Leganchuk ON
August: Trica Affleck PEI
September: Sabrina Shibley ON
October: Kristy Jenion MB
November: Teri Lake NS
December: Darah Provencal BC
News from Japan
Wheelchair curling reporter and supporter
Yayoi Mashimo tells me that wheelchair curling associations in Asia are
organizing a regional competition at the end of this month. The spiel
will be in Harbin, China, one of only two Chinese cities with curling
ice. Teams from China, Korea, and Japan will participate.
Next month the Japanese national team, from the Shinshu Chair Curling
Club, will compete in the
World Wheelchair Curling Qualification competition in Lohja, Finland
from November 7-12.
Reports and photos from last year's Japanese National Championships can
Photos of Team Japan taken at the Vancouver Paralympics by Yayoi's
friend Mika Yamaguchi, who sadly lost her battle against cancer this
August, can be seen
Saskatchewan selection and
national development camp
Deadline for applications to attend
Provincial Team Selection Camp is November 12th, 2010. Saskatchewan
Curling Association 306-780-9202 or 1-877-722-2875.
Five curlers will be chosen to represent Saskatchewan at the National
Wheelchair Curling Championship March 20 to 27, 2011 in Edmonton, AB.
A CCA Talent ID/Development Camp will take place at the same time.
Date: November 27, 2010
Location: Regina – Callie Curling Club
Times: 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
Registration Fee: $30.00 (lunch & supper provided)
Athletes coming to the camp will be provided development sessions and
evaluated on the following:
- Delivery Technical Skills and Shot Making Ability
- Game Strategy & Tactics
- Ability to work in a team environment
Full information is available HERE
inaugural national talent identification camp
The first in what is planned as a
nationwide series of talent identification and development camps is
taking place in Calgary, Alberta, this weekend. Team Smart, the 2010
provincial champions, and 4 curlers from Edmonton are taking part.
The camps are an attempt by the CCA to
reach out across Canada to ensure that every talented curler has the
opportunity to make themselves known to those in charge of the national
As part of that effort, national coach
Wendy Morgan has put together a booklet outlining "National Wheelchair
Program Expectations" that includes an extensive variety of drills.
The drills come with a proviso that there
are a 'work in progress' that will be revised and improved as field
"We need to ensure they are valid and reflect the current standard of
play," says Gerry Peckham, the person in overall charge of Canada's high
You can view the booklet
Norway sweeps to win at Kinross
Norway completed their sweep of the
competition at the Kinross International, earning big wins over Wales
and Scotland 4 (who gave up a 6 in the 2nd) before finishing with a 7-4
win over Rosemary Lenton's Scotland 1.
Norway - 0
2 3 0 1 1 - 7
Sotland1 - 2 0 0 2 0 0
Norways full results and some photos can
Jim Armstrong pleads guilty to
"intent to mislead or defraud"
Two teams unbeaten midway through
Team Norway, with some new faces and
refound enthusiasm after the disappointments of the past couple of
years, are tied at 3-0 with Scotland 1 at the midpoint of the Kinross
Coach Thoralf Hognestad, back in charge after a year away, says the
team's spirits are high and skip Rune Lorentsen is enjoying the game
again. Certainly the results have been decisive: a 7-2 win over what on
paper looked a formidable Scotland 2 side (Aileen Neilson, Tom Killin,
Angie Malone and George Ewan), and overwhelming defeats of Scotland 3
For Norwegian speakers there is a web page with today's action
Norway introduced two new players, Runar Bjørnstad and Paralympic skiier
Per Fagerhøi, though they had to borrow local club player Maria Duncan
as they were unable to travel with a female player.
Runar and Per are alternating games in Kinross, but next month at the
Prague Open, Rune and Jostein will play with two more newcomers; Tone
Edvartsen and Terje Rafdal.
Rosemary Lenton, a late cut from the 2010 British Paralympic squad, has
skipped Scotland 1 to a 3-0 start and will play Norway in the final draw
Thursday at 3pm local time.
The teams and schedule can be found
CCA launches Team Canada Talent
It's the start of a new quadrennial, and
the CCA is aware that procedures for consideration for Team Canada
training have appeared less than transparent.
Does this mean they plan to follow the lead of US A and (more
significantly) Scotland by holding open tryouts? Well, not exactly, but
they are slowly moving in that direction and promising this year a more
The CCA's Wendy Morgan, in partnership with provincial organizations, is
holding a series of national talent identification camps with the aim of
allowing every wheelchair curler with the ambition and ability to
perform to national team standards, the opportunity to be assessed by
national coaching staff.
Read Wendy's plan outline
How do you ensure a place? That will depend on the policy of your
provincial association. The initial CCA guideline was to invite to the
camp last year's provincial champions plus 2 or 3 others deemed
deserving. In Alberta this is what will happen in Calgary this coming
weekend. Team Smart (the 2010 provincial champions) will be joined by 3
curlers from Edmonton.
In Manitoba invitations were issued to 10 curlers, "all our wheelchair
curlers with experience," according to provincial coordinator Elaine
Owen. Saskatchewan is running the camp in conjunction with their
provincial team selection camp, open to everyone qualified to play for
Atlantic Canada will hold a competition and camp on January 14th and
will be inviting everyone who has appeared at a National Championships
or wheelchair curling camp the past two seasons.
Every province has a wheelchair curling coordinator who will be
responsible for deciding who will be invited to attend their camp. The
names are listed at the end of this post. Some will have been actively
involved with wheelchair curling, and others only in an administrative
There has been a lot of grumbling in the past by people who felt their
skills had been overlooked. This time round, they at least have the
opportunity to know who is doing the choosing, and where and when.
Gerry Peckham agrees that no one wants a situation where participation
depends on who you know rather than what you can do on the ice. If you
think you have the skills to challenge for a Team Canada place, it is up
to you to make sure an invitation comes your way.
Helen Radford - Atlantic
Alan Smith - Quebec
Tom Ward - Ontario
Dave Kawahara - Northern Ontario
Elaine Owen -
Amber Holland -
Kathy Odegard - Alberta
Heather Beatty - British
3rd Annual Kinross International
Bob Cowan reminds me that the 3rd Annual Kinross International got
Last year it attracted six Paralympic squads in a nine team field but
will still host seven teams, with Switzerland and Norway joining Wales
and four Scottish teams for play through Thursday.
Sudbury CC program begins October
Wheelchair curling in Northern Ontario
adds another venue with Sudbury CC hosting wheelchair curling Sundays
beginning October 24. Call 705-560-3309 for more information.
Quebec's Team Lessard has a blog
Team Lessard, who have reorganised this
season and now play out of the Magog CC under new coach Germain
Tremblay, have started their own blog.
You can post an online greeting or comment and follow the team's
ÉQUIPE LESSARD. (Introductory post also in English)
Team USA's Patrick McDonald out
Patrick McDonald, the lone west coast
member of Team USA, will undergo surgery for a chronic shoulder problem
and will miss the entire season.
"He had hoped it could wait till next Spring," team leader Marc DePerno
told me, "but it requires immediate attention. We'll select a
replacement at a later date."
Team USA have just completed their trials and had nominated a USA "B"
team, so will have opportunities to see how prospective replacements
perform, initially at the USA Open in Utica, NY, November 12 - 14.
Lakeshore CC (NS) begins
Saturday sessions on October 16th
Nanaimo program off to a
promising start 10/6/2010
As mentioned a couple of days ago, the
Curling Centre has programmed wheelchair curling for Wednesday
mornings, and six wheelchair users showed up on the first day.
"Three were first timers and three had some experience," club manager
Denise Wood told me. "Two have decided to play in one of our regular
curling leagues, and we're hoping to attract nine or 10 regulars as the
As for the change from club to centre, she explained: "The design
(above) was a result of local design students presenting their concepts
to our membership."
Stranraer ramp lets you drown your
Stranraer Ice rink, which celebrated its
40th birthday this year, now has a ramp that extends from the bar to the
changing rooms, making the entire facility wheelchair accessible.
Michael McCreadie told
Bob Cowan: "It is quite long and goes from
the top of the stairs at the bar down to the middle door leading to the
changing rooms. As wheelchair users we can go independently anywhere on
the ice rink. Congratulations on their foresight and no doubt when word
gets round more wheelchair users will use this great venue."
Richmond Spiel needs one more
team or may move to 2on2 format
The Richmond Centre for Disability, an
active supporter of wheelchair curling for many years, had hoped to
celebrate their 25th Anniversary International with a big field for
their December spiel.
They have extended the application deadline to October 15th, hoping to
add at least one more team and reach the minimum five entries needed to
run the tournament with four person teams.
The organizers hope the event will run as a 2on2 if no more entries are
The competition runs from December 1 - 4, with practice ice available
November 30th. Entries are $250 for up to 12 teams with half payable by
the registration deadline of October 15th.
For more information and a registration form contact
Nanaimo CC now fully accessible
Curling Centre (the CCA has been trying to get clubs to rebrand as
centres, hoping to sound more inclusive) is now fully accessible to
wheelchair users after the addition of an elevator.
Time has been set aside for wheelchair curling on Wednesday mornings,
though there's no reason why wheelchair users should not do what the
general public does; jump right in and join a "fun" league, even if you
The club manager is
Denise Wood who'll be happy to arrange ice time for wheelchair users
to try the sport.
I get frequent emails asking whether I
know the dates of this or that wheelchair curling event. When I am given
the information, I put it on the calendar page of this website.
If you know of an event that may be of interest to those who follow
wheelchair curling, please send it to me at
and I will make it available to everyone.
Do you want to curl on the GB Paralympic team?
British curling has been an exclusively
Scottish endeavour at the elite level, but attempts are being made to
identify the best UK athletes with the proficiency and desire to compete
for a place on the GB Paralympic Curling Squad.
A series of events, all at Scottish venues, have been arranged where
weight control and accuracy will be assessed. The organisers warn: this
complex system is aimed at elite level athletes and is not for beginners
as a “come and try event”.
Applications (deadline October 1st) are available for download
information packs can be obtained from
More details on the program and eligibility can be seen
I found the link on Bob Cowan's Skip Cottage Curling blog, in a post
detailing his visit to Sterling's recreational wheelchair curling
program. Details and photos
A letter from Team Cameron (ON)
I received a very encouraging letter from
Team Bradford. You can read it, and my reply,
on the blog.
3rd Annual Wetzikon Invitational
October 30-31, Zurich SUI 9/29/2010
Closing date for applications to compete
in the 3rd Annual Wetzikon Invitational in Zurich, Switzerland, is
There will be a maximum of 12 teams, playing in two pools four games
guaranteed. Entries are CHF280 (approx. $300 Canadian) and includes the
Full event details are available (in German and English)
No change for Team USA after
Team USA 2011 will be represented by the
same five athletes that brought them so close to medals at the last
Worlds and Vancouver Paralympics.
Augusto 'Goose' Perez (East Syracuse, N.Y.) will skip James Pierce
(North Syracuse, N.Y.), Jacqui Kapinowski (Point Pleasant, N.J.), James
Joseph (New Hartford, N.Y.) and Patrick McDonald (Orangevale, Calif.).
(as in photo above)
Athletes named as alternates for Team USA include Tammy Delano (Rome,
N.Y.), Penny Greely (Green Bay, Wis.), Laura Schwanger (Mantua, N.J.)
and Bob Prenoveau (Chittenango, N.Y.). The alternates will compete in
events and train as Team USA B. [USA Curling press release]
Twelve athletes attended this weekend's open tryouts at the Green Bay CC
in Wisconsin. While there is promising talent among those not selected,
the downside to working with a small national squad is that they provide
a receding target to a newcomer hoping to displace them.
One trialist undaunted by the challenge, was Green Bay native Penny
Greely. She told WBAY TV it was the degree of difficulty that drew her
more to the game.
"I'm a really competitive person so this was right up my alley when I
started playing. I hope to remain part of the curling club, get on some
leagues. And hopefully making the national team some day," she added.
Some do's, don'ts
and things to try during practice 9/26/2010
The three elements to delivering the
stone, speed, direction and rotation, are the same for everyone, and
rely on consistency. This is why it is important to .... [read the article]
Shake-up at Team Manitoba 9/26/2010
Chris Daw inducted to London
(ON) Hall Of Fame 9/23/2010
Ottawa's RA Curling Club's
curling begins this Saturday 25th 9/23/2010
Bruce Cameron writes to say that
wheelchair curling will be starting at the RA Curling Club in Ottawa
this Saturday, September 25th, 3 - 5 pm.
All wheelchair users are welcome. No previous experience necessary.
Yearly memberships are $10, but no one will be turned away for lack of
Ontario Champions Team Cameron will be on hand for a meet-and-greet on
Saturday 2nd Oct 2010, and will give a demonstration before being
presented the Team Ontario provincial banner they won at
Dominion Provincial Championship.
Team USA tryouts in Green Bay,
WI this weekend 9/23/2010
Twelve athletes will be attending the
Team USA tryouts this weekend in Green Bay WI, including all five
members of the team that finished fourth at the 2009 Worlds and the 2010
Making the Team - The 2011 U.S. Wheelchair Curling Team Selection
will take place Friday through Sunday at the Green Bay (Wis.) Curling
Club. The individual skills tryouts will help select the national team
for the season to compete in various international and national
competitions as well as wear Team USA at the 2011 Wheelchair World
Championship in March in the Czech Republic. Twelve athletes are
competing to be named to the roster, including all five members of Team
USA's wheelchair curling team from the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
Mike Fitzgerald is CCA's Male
Athlete of the Week 9/23/2010
the CCA profile] Michael Fitzgerald has built himself quite a
resume, both on and off the ice.
On the ice, he’s been a dominant force in Nova Scotia wheelchair
curling; he’s claimed the last three provincial titles and has
represented the Bluenose Province at the last three national
championships, in 2008 at Winnipeg (3-4 record), 2009 at Halifax (3-6
record) and 2010 in Kelowna, B.C. (4-5 record, just out of the
As well, Fitzgerald has worked behind the scenes to help wheelchair
curling; he’s a Level 1 coach specializing in the wheelchair discipline,
and has instructed many new wheelchair curlers in Atlantic Canada. Add
to that his upcoming duties, volunteering at the 2011 Canada Winter
Games (he’ll be an accessibility representative at the Mayflower Curling
Club, which will host the curling competition) and you get the picture
about Fitzgerald’s commitment to the Roaring Game.
Read the full profile.
Lethbridge AB invites wheelchair
users to curl 9/23/2010
Wheelchair users in Lethbridge AB will
have the opportunity to curl this season in a program promoted by the
Alberta Health Service as part of its theraputic recreation initiative
to keep wheelchair users active during the winter.
To find out more about the program, or to volunteer to coach, contact
Community Recreation Therapist Carolyn Matthews at 403.388.6348
Team Sweden, Vancouver bronze
medalists, break up 9/18/2010
Team Sweden, winners of the bronze medal
at the Vancouver Paralympics, are breaking up.
Swedish skip Jalle Jungnell writes:
"After playing with Glenn Ikonen and Anette Wilhelm for 10 years at
international level, the time has come to quit. Anette wants more time
for her two young children, and I have still not recovered from last
December's spine surgery.
"After our silver medal at the 2009 Worlds, we had high hopes for a
repeat of the result in Vancouver, or even better. Things where looking
really good during the fall, with a new coach (Tomas Nordin) and good
results, with a win in Switzerland.
"Then I suddenly start losing strength and feeling in my hands, and was
rushed to emergency surgery, and was hospitalized in Denver for a month.
I returned to the ice only 4 weeks before Vancouver, and 10 weeks
practicing without a skip didn’t do the team any good.
"We recovered from an 0-3 start to win 7 of the last 9 games and take
bronze. Any medal in the Paralympics is big, and we were happy, but
there were mixed feelings. This journey includes so much pain and
struggle that we all felt pretty exhausted - happy with the result, but
definitely not with our performance.
"A couple of bronze and a silver in my career is fun, but the highlight
of my curling is definitely all the nice people we have met through the
years. The spirit and friendship between nations is just exceptional.
I’ll miss all Mikaels, Sonjas, Runes and Nadias, and so many, many
Lead and 2009 sportsmanship award winner Anette Wilhelm added: "It
was a difficult and somewhat sad decision to take, but all things come
to and end."
Jalle has retired before, and is still young enough to make another
come-back, though back pain and neurological problems with his hands
persists. He would like to return "and show everyone that Sweden can
play" but acknowledges his health is not good enough, at least at
His retirement is a big loss not only to Sweden but to the game
internationally. Jalle realised that his job was not just as an athlete,
but also an ambassador for the sport. He did not hide himself away as
did the Canadians and Scots and many others during the 2009 Worlds where
I met him, and was happy to talk wheelchair curling to anyone
Team Sweden's future is now in doubt, as would any program that relied
on a tiny core group of players year after year. Glenn Ikonen's 6-month
suspension for using a banned blood pressure medication, ends September
22nd but he does not have a team.
If Sweden do not compete at the Worlds in Prague, three teams will
qualify from the upcoming World's Qualifying
Marcus Sieger replaces Jens Jäger
as skip of Team Germany 9/16/2010
Jens Jäger, who skipped Germany to a
bronze medal at the 2009 Wolds, and also skipped at the Vancouver
Paralympics, is out of the national team. He has been replaced by his
3rd, Marcus Stieger.
The new Team Germany, who will compete at the 2011 Worlds in Prague, is
Marcus Sieger (Skip), Jens Gäbel, Christiane Steger and newcomer Stefan
Deuschl. Helmar Erlewein continues as national team coach.
Jens has a new team, the Mainhattan Ice Wheelers, who competed in last
weekend's Danish international spiel at Taarnby,
Sports Day in Canada September 18 9/15/2010
Per Christensen back as Denmark's
Coach, but Norway win opener 9/14/2010
The 4th Annual Danske Internationale
Kørestole Curling Cup 2010 was held this past weekend at the Taarnby
Curling Club. Teams from host Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic, Germany,
Russia and two teams from Norway competed.
German Paralympic team skip Jens Jager is no longer part of the German
national team, but brought a new team, the "Mainhattan Ice-Wheelers" made
up of players from Frankfurt and Schwenningen. Norway split their
Paralympic squad with Rune Lorentsen and Geir Arne Skogstad skipping.
Rune's Norway 1 went unbeaten to win the tournament, with Denmark 2nd
and Finland 3rd.
Full results are available
Per Christensen, a Dane who took over from Thoralf Hognestad as coach of
Norway for the Paralympics before handing the team back to Thoralf after
Vancouver, is back as coach of the Danish national side.
"After a long down period for the Danish team, it seems that they are on
their way up," Per told me. Denmark had failed to qualify for the Worlds
in 2008 and 2009.
"I think that it has been an advantage for them to have the break," he
added. "We used the tournament as practice for the World Champoinship
Qualification Tournament in Lohja Finland, November 6-12."
Kinross WCC holding a "come and
try" session September 25 9/13/2010
The Kinross Wheelchair Curling Club,
formed in 2001, is holding a "come and try" session at 12.15pm on
Saturday September 25 at The Green Hotel, Kinross (SCO). No experience
The club has 15 curlers competing in league play, and a full schedule of
events. Their fundraising Ceilidh at the Windlstrae Hotel brought in
100 people and raised almost a thousand pounds.
More information about the club can be found at
Two national champs pair up to win
Osoyoos 2 on 2 9/13/2010
Gary Cormack and Vince Miele, continuing
the form that saw them win a national title last March, won the 4th
Annual Olsen Curling Supplies Osoyoos 2 on 2. They beat fellow teammate
Rich Green and Team Canada member Bruno Yizek 7-4 in the final of the
two day event to win cash, and a curling jacket and pants.
Team Canada members Darryl Neighbour and Sonja Gaudet finished 3rd in
the five team field.
UK to offer Introduction to
Coaching Wheelchair Curling course 9/11/2010
The Royal Caledonian CC, the national governing body for curling, is offering a 3-4 hour course for current RCCC qualified coaches, intended to introduce them to the sport and
enable them to instruct a beginner who uses a wheelchair.
The course will cover delivery
styles, safety awareness and include the coach using a wheelchair during
the course and
thus "gaining valuable insights into the perspective of a wheelchair
Team Quebec players and coach part ways 9/10/2010
The members of
Team Quebec and the coaches who have been instrumental in
establishing wheelchair curling in their province, have parted ways.
The team has been centred at the
Lennoxville CC under the guidance of Quebec's Club Coach of the Year
Al Whittier and Dan Janidlo. Tension arose when skip Ben Lessard,
3rd Carl Marquis and 2nd Denis Grenier chose to leave the 2010 Nationals
in Kelowna before the banquet, without prior discussion of their
decision with their coaches. Although this breach of protocol fractured
the coaching relationship, it did not result in CCA imposed sanctions,
though rules for 2011 are likely to make banquet attendance mandatory.
Magog CC coach
Germain Tremblay has agreed to work with the team on a part-time basis
whenever his schedule permits.
Carl will practice at the Magog Club
which is closer to his home, while Ben will continue to play at
Lennoxville. They are likely to be joined by newcomer Sebastien
Boisvert, described as a "natural" by a coach who saw him play at the
Cape Cod Summerspiel. Lead Johanne Daly lives some distance away in
The team plans to compete at the Cathy
Kerr in Ottawa and the US Open in Utica NY, and are hoping that funds
can be found for travel to the Richmond BC International in December.
Al Whittier will continue to promote
recreational wheelchair curling at Lennoxville. Dan Janidlo will
maintain his Lennoxville connections, but will also be checking for
wheelchair access at clubs closer to his new home in Montreal.
Canada shifts from
internationals to national athlete development 9/8/2010
Sometimes no news is good news, and
sometimes no news means that everyone is holding their breath and hoping
not to be crushed when the elephant sits down.
With skip Jim Armstrong awaiting trial, presently scheduled for October
25 in US District Court in Seattle, for trafficking counterfeit pills,
there has been no Team Canada activity over the summer.
After a four year campaign ending in gold medals at the 2009 Worlds and
2010 Paralympics, there was always going to be a slower pace to this
season as plans are made for the next quadrennial, with a switch of
emphasis from international competition, to encouraging domestic
While Joe Rea remains national team coach, Wendy Morgan has been
appointed National Program Manager for wheelchair curling. This will
entail working with each province's designated wheelchair curling
coordinators. I am assured that each province has such a person and I
will publish their names as soon as I have them.
The CCA's involvement in wheelchair curling will continue to be split
between the Discover Curling Program run by Danny Lamoureux and
responsible for grassroots development, and "long term athlete
development" which will be assisted by the national coaching staff and
national program athletes.
While there is an argument that this separation is artificial and
obstructive of grassroots development, it fits the existing
determination of CCA staff to keep national team membership and training
under their close control.
Wendy Morgan says: "The current National Team will train independently
and attend a couple of training camps (TBD). They will compete in the
Richmond Invitational in December. (ed. December 1-4 - entry deadline
It is likely that a group core of athletes from the current National
Team will represent Canada at the World championships in Prague in
There will, however, be a nation-wide series of "Talent ID/Development
Camps with the intention to recruit talented/promising wheelchair
athletes to the National Team Program while making a positive
contribution to local wheelchair curling programs."
What that means for ambitious curlers outside of the present program, is
that either by winning your provincial championship, or by gaining the
sponsorship of your provincial coordinator, you will have the
opportunity to at least make yourself known to national coaching staff.
A provisional list of potential venues includes St. John's NFLD,
Halifax, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg/Regina, Calgary, Richmond and
Norway's Thoralf Hognestad returns
as national team coach 9/8/2010
Thoralf Hognestad took charge of Team
Norway after the Torino Paralympics, and led them to back to back world
Championships in 2007 and 2008. Work commitments after the 2009 season
prevented him from leading the team at the Vancouver Paralympics. Per
Christensen, previously coach of his Danish national team, took over but
failed to improve on the previous year's disappointing performance.
This season Thoralf is back with an increased squad and a full schedule
of early season competition.
"We have some exciting new players who I hope will be challenging for
team places when we choose the team for the Worlds," he told me.
One change that he doesn't expect to make is at skip, where Rune
Lorentsen has had a couple of difficult years.
"Rune has his confidence back," says Hognestad. If that's true, it's bad
news for the rest of the world.
Norway will be taking two teams to Denmark this coming weekend, and then
are scheduled to travel to Inverness in Scotland in October, and Berne,
Switzerland, in November. They'll also be competing in regular local
Michael McCreadie leaving
national team 9/2/2010
Team Great Britain skip Michael McCreadie
was a notable absentee from the list of individual athletes selected to
the British Wheelchair Curling Squad for Season 2010 - 2011. Gregor
Ewan, Jim Gault and Michael McKenzie join recent team members Tom
Killin, Rosemary Lenton, Angie Malone, Aileen Neilson and Jim Sellar.
There was no mention whether Tom Pendreigh remains as coach.
Bob Cowan reports Michael saying, "I have decided to take a season
out of international competition and re-assess next season."
Expectations of success are as high in Scotland as in Canada. Michael
was unable to repeat, as leader of the generously sponsored program, the
success he enjoyed as vice to Frank Duffy, and admits the pressure of
the past couple of years affected his enjoyment of the sport.
Read Bob's report HERE.
Osoyoos 2 on 2 spiel begins
Saturday Setember 11 9/2/2010
The 4th Annual Olsen Curling Supplies 2
on 2 Bonspiel will begin at 9 am this Saturday, September 11 at the
Osoyoos CC just north of the BC/Washington State border.
Team Canada members Sonja Gaudet, Darrryl Neighbour and Bruno Yizek will
be playing, with Team BC members Gerry Austgarden, Frank LaBounty and
Alison Duffy, national champion skip Gary Cormack with his team members
Rich Green and Vince Miele.
There's an odd number of teams registered, so a last minute arrival
would not be unwelcome. Give Gerry a call at 250-979-3030 (work) or 250
Armstrong trial put back to
October 25th 8/31/2010
At yesterday's status update hearing
before Judge Martinez in the case of USA v. James Armstrong and Gregory
Armstrong, the prosecution requested a continuance until October 25th.
While there may be further delays, a jury trial is presently scheduled
for that date.
Background to the case can be found in a previous post
Armstrong court case update 8/29/2010
US government prosecutors and Team Canada
skip Jim Armstrong and his son Gregory will appear in a Seattle
courtroom at 10am tomorrow (Monday August 30) for a Status
Conference/Hearing before US District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez. The
conference is scheduled for 30 minutes.
Background to the case can be found in a previous post
HERE and a link to the judge's schedule is
Let's start over 8/28/2010
If the WCF were structuring wheelchair
curling from scratch, using the experience of the past ten years, the
sport would, or perhaps more personally, should look very different. How
different? Find out by reading the rest of the
The secret to success in curling 8/27/2010
Want to know the secret of success in
curling? It's not all about how hard you kick it, how fast you run and
then how good you are at tackling: it's all about .......
out at this video)
What's happening in Nova Scotia 8/27/2010
Nova Scotia is holding a Give-It-A-Go day
at the Lakeshore Curling Club on October 3rd from 10 till 2. First
timers or those with limited experience are welcome. Wheelchair curling
is a mixed sport with both males and females participating.
They are also looking for volunteers to assist at the weekly Saturday
afternoon curling sessions at the Sackville Sports Stadium on Glendale
Avenue in Lower Sackville.
To register or just to get more information call, Laughie Rutt at
864-2737 in the evenings or Lakeshore Curling Club at 869-CURL. Please
feel free to leave a message. You can email
Chester CC is holding similar sessions on October 17, 24, 31 and
November 14, 2010 from 11am-1pm For information on this clinic, please
contact Trendal Hubley Bolivar at
For more information on wheelchair curling read Issue 2 of their
Curling Quebec recognises Al Whittier as Club Coach Of
The Year 8/27/2010
Al Whittier, the driving force in
establishing Quebec's first wheelchair curling program at the
Lennoxville CC, has been named Club Coach Of The Year by Curling Quebec.
Here is the citation in French, and below is a Google translation.
Le comité de sélection souhaite encourager et soutenir l’initiative de
monsieur Alfred Whittier, du club de curling de Lennoxville. Au
printemps 2008, monsieur a présenté, pour la première fois, le curling à
des athlètes handicapés. Ce ne fut pas sans obstacle et avec l’appui de
plusieurs partenaires, monsieur Whittier et son équipe a su rendre ce
sport accessible en adaptant les installations du club pour ses
athlètes. Ceux-ci ont d’ailleurs participé à deux championnats canadiens
de curling pour athlètes en fauteuil roulant. Avec l’aide de son
collègue Daniel Janidlo, le programme a grandi et les athlètes
participent désormais à des évènements locaux. En 2009, monsieur
Whittier a d’ailleurs remporté le Donald Patrick Award de la ville de
Lennoxville pour son travail avec les athlètes handicapés.
The selection committee wants to encourage and support the initiative of
Mr. Alfred Whittier, of the Lennoxville Curling Club. In spring 2008,
Mr. Whittier presented for the first time, curling to athletes with
disabilities. It was not without obstacles but with the support of
several partners, Mr. Whittier and his team managed to make the sport
accessible by adapting the club facilities for its athletes. They have
also participated in two national wheelchair curling championships. With
the help of his colleague Daniel Janidlo, the program has grown and
athletes now participate in local events. In 2009, Mr. Whittier won the
Donald Patrick Award from the City of Lennoxville for his work with
Curling down under gaining
The wheelchair curling program at
Melbourne's (Australia) Ice House in the Docklands is going frm strength
to strength and organizer Jim Oastler is hoping to add two teams to the
regular Monday evening league. The facility has ice all year round, so
play will continue through the coming summer for the first time in
Friday December 3rd marks the International Day of People with a
Disability and Melbourne will be hosting their 2010 Disability Sport and
Recreation Festival 7am to 2 pm at Federation Square. Jim will be
promoting wheelchair curling at the event. Details of the day's
activities on this flier.
Does your (Canadian) club need
$$$ for access renovations? 8/25/2010
The Federal Government has an "Enabling
Access" program where grants of up to $75,000 may be awarded to projects
aimed at increasing access for the disabled to community resources.
This program issues occasional invitations for proposals and bids must
be in bu September 10th.
For information o the scope of the program and how to apply for funding
Team USA looking for help at
Tryouts for the coming season's Team USA
are being held in Green Bay WI from September 23 to 26.
The coaches are looking for 3 volunteers to help with the assessment
processes. Previous experience with wheelchair curling is not necessary
but the panelists must be able to pay attention to detail, as most of
the skills competitions will involve scoring and interpretation of
results. A deep knowledge of curling is not essential, but the panelists
will need to be able to observe one-on-one competitions and determine if
the strategy being used is at least valid.
For more details see
THIS LINK on the USA Curling website.
5th Annual U.S. Open Wheelchair
Bonspiel November 12-14 8/8/2010
Utica CC in New York is once again
hosting the US Open bonspiel. Entries are $300 per 4 person team, with
transport to and from Syracuse Airport and to and from the hotel in New
Hartford available for $500 a team.
Up to 8 teams will play in a round robin,
starting 9.30am Friday Nov 12 and finishing 2.30 pm on Sunday Nov.14.
Full details are
HERE. For more
Marc Deperno by email or call 315-737-2459
Competition begins in BC at the
Osoyoos 2on2 September 11-12 8/8/2010
The 4th Annual Olson Curling Supplies 2
on 2 Wheelchair Spiel will be held at the Osoyoos CC the weekend of
New curlers are welcome. This is a fun
event in an ideal format for wheelchair users. Team Canada members will
participate, and the event hopes to field 8 teams.
Entry details can be seen on the flyer
HERE. Registration requested by September 1st. For more information
email Gerry Austgarden or call him at 250-979-3030
USA Trials to be
held in Green Bay WI, September 24-26
USA Curling is holding a weekend of
trials for participation on Team USA, at the Green Bay CC the weekend of
This is an open camp. To register contact
by email or call 315-737-2459. The Trials will consist of
individual skill events, mini games and personal interviews. Coaches
will be evaluating skill, game knowledge and strategy, team dynamics,
leadership and potential.
For more information visit the
USA Curling Association website.
Goose Perez skips international
team to Cape Cod win 7/28/2010
Team USA skip Goose Perez skipped an
international team of Tammy Delano and Ottawa's Katie Paialunga to
victory in the 4 day
Cape Cod CC
Wheelchair Summerspiel, lifting the Colaccio Wheel Challenge Trophy
after beating Carl Marquis and Team Quebec in Sunday's final.
Club coach Tony Colaccio, who saw 4 years of fundraising and renovation
effort come to fruition with this inaugural wheelchair spiel, told the
Cape Cod Times he hopes the event will grow. "Then the problem will be
finding accessible accommodation."
You can read a report from the event
HERE and see a gallery of photos
Massachusetts Summerspiel attracts
international field 7/24/2010
The inaugural Wheelchair Summerspiel at
the Cape Cod CC in
Falmouth MA attracted 6 teams, including Team USA, Team Germany and Team
Quebec. The four day event began on Thursday (22nd) and featured a full
round robin with the final for the Colaccio Wheel Challenge Trophy to be
played Sunday 25th at 9.30 am.
Past president Tony Colaccio and
president Mary Colaccio began working in 2006 to raise the funds to make
the club accessible, and it is encouraging to see their commitment not only bring local wheelchair users into the club, but also
attract such an international field to a summer event.
Nova Scotia wheelchair program
gaining recognition 7/12/2010
Team Nova Scotia 3rd Laughie Rutt was
nominated by the NSCA as Nova Scotia Male Athlete of the Year, and Team
Nova Scotia coach Glen McClare received a nomination for Coach of the
Wheelchair curling begins at the
CC on Sunday October 3rd with an open "Give-It-A-Go" session from
10am till 2pm. The provincial team will attend and the session is open
to any wheelchair user interested in finding out what it's like to curl.
Able-bodied curlers interested in starting a program at their club, or
volunteering at the regularly scheduled Saturday afternoon sessions,
3-5pm starting October 9th, are also welcome.
Contact the club at 902-864-CURL, or Laughie at 902-864-2737 and ask to
be added to his email news and announcement list.
Open clinic and try-out at Green
Bay CC July 30-August 1 7/8/2010
The U.S. Curling Association is
sponsoring an open weekend wheelchair curling camp at the
Green Bay CC.
Present Team USA members will be in attendance, and wheelchair users
will be able not only to learn about the sport but also discover what it
takes to try out for Team USA.
For more information contact
Marc DePerno and download the event brochure from
Jim Armstrong jury trial set for
August 30 7/8/2010
Team Canada skip and Paralympic gold
medalist Jim Armstrong's jury trial before Judge Martinez has been put
back to August 30 at the U.S. District Court in Seattle WA.
Armstrong is charged with his son Gregory with trafficking in
counterfeit goods and selling and dispensing counterfeit drugs with the
intent to mislead or defraud. He was arrested at a mail service in
Blaine WA in April when picking up a package containing 2,800 fake
Viagra and Cialis pills, and is free on $20,000 bond. The charges carry
a maximum 10-year prison sentence and $2-million fine.
For background on the case see the links on
Paralympic success brings funding
Against their expectations. the CCA says
funding from both Own The Podium and Sport Canada will increase for the
"This means," said a very happy Gerry Peckham, the CCA high performance
coach in overall change of the program, "that we will be able to enhance
both grass root and high performance development via expanded programs
No details as yet.
The top six wheelchair athletes at the end of the assessment year in
June receive funding for the following year through the carding system;
a monthly training stipend. The five members of the gold medal team
receive full cards: Jim Armstrong, Darryl Neighbour, Ina Forrest, Sonja
Gaudet, and Bruno Yizek. Bruno trades places with Chris Sobkowicz who
now receives funding at "development" card level.
Sport Canada will monitor Jim Armstrong's future eligibility as events
relating to his upcoming trial unfold.
Braehead curlers in charity
wheelchair push 6/29/2010
Bob Cowan reports that members
of the Braehead WCC held a sponsored 10 mile wheelchair push to raise
funds for Erskine Hospital.
Michael McCreadie said, "For the past five years we have raised money
for our own club. However, this year we felt it appropriate that another
worthwhile organisation should benefit."
Gaudet and Forrest honoured by
their community 6/29/2010
Team Canada teammates Ina Forrest and
Sonja Gaudet were co-winners of the North Okanagan Athlete Of The Year
Award in Vernon sponsored by Dan and Jamie Currie of Tim Hortons.
“The (award) committee took a long time to make their decisions. The
choices were not easy," chair Mel Briggeman told the
Vernon Morning Star, "but in the end we went with the best front-end
curlers in the world."
Forrest, a mother of three who lives and runs a business in Armstrong,
said she appreciated getting some exposure at home.
"It's very nice recognition from our community," she said following the
outdoor ceremony at Tim Hortons on Highway 97. "We don't often play in
our own community on our national team so it's nice to be recognized in
your community for accomplishments away from your community."
Gaudet, who won the award last year, echoed that sentiment. "No, it
doesn't get old, but you appreciate the support and being noticed by
your community. It's just as special (as last year) definitely. Ina and
I are great teammates and we bring the best out in each other so I'm
happy that we got this award together."
Promising start for Aussie program
in Melbourne 6/23/2010
The Victorian Curling Association
followed up its successful initial give-it-a-go session last month by
attracting ten wheelchair users onto the ice for what will become
regular learn to curl sessions leading to wheelchair users joining
The sessions are being held at the Ice House in the Docklands area of
Melbourne. James Oastler, who has been a long-time advocate for Aussie
curling, reports: We worked on weight control and then played an 8 end
game. Next month we'll use the video camera on their delivery with time
out to view and discuss their approach. If we can maintain interest we
will run the sessions fortnightly.
For more information contact
Hopes dashed for Team Canada
discussion at CCA's AGM 6/22/2010
Bruce Cameron reports that the topic of
team selection for Team Canada was not discussed at this weekend's AGM
of the Canadian Curling Association.
While disappointing to those hoping for
at least an acknowledgement of the issue, it was not surprising given
the administrative hurdles involved in bringing a topic to the floor
without months of preparation and due notice.
Athlete empowerment, bringing wheelchair
curlers into the decision making process in all areas of the sport,
takes organisation and effort, even when there is broad agreement on
goals. Wheelchair curling is no more than a pimple on the backside of
the sport as a whole, and it will take a lot for the CCA to change
present processes that bring reflected glory via podium success.
There has been a very productive
discussion in earlier blog comments about the issues and possible ways
forward. For those wanting change, ignore the naysayers who claim
nothing can be done; ignore those who call dissatisfaction with the
present system mere whining.
Change can come if athletes force it. So,
form a wheelchair curling association within your province and affiliate
with your provincial association (PA). Set your policy about Team Canada
selection. Make your policy known to your PA and find out how to make it
provincial policy, at a minimum by making it a topic for their next AGM.
If most wheelchair curlers are
represented at the provincial level, a national association might be a
If enough provincial associations have,
as policy, a change to the Team Canada selection process, then there
will be the support necessary to put it on next year's CCA agenda.
There are delegates to the CCA's AGM that
are willing to help. They need the tools, and only action by wheelchair
curlers themselves can supply them.
I've added Bruce Cameron's report to the comments section of the
post, which is open to positive suggestions for ways forward. If
your point of view is that nothing can or should be done, that thread is not
the place to express it.
Halifax's Mayflower CC to be made
wheelchair accessible 6/20/2010
The Mayflower CC in Halifax NS has been
awarded a grant of $20,000 towards making the club accessible to
“We have provincial, national and world titles and soon enough we hope
to have a wheelchair curling title,” Paul McDonald, past President of
the club, told the
Wheelchair curling is huge now across Canada, and Mayflower wants to be
able to offer it, McDonald added in an
A ramp and accessible bathroom are the first improvements planned, with
a lift from the main floor onto the ice shed level.
A letter from Team Bradford (ON) 6/11/2010
I received a very encouraging letter from
Team Bradford today. You can read it, and my reply,
on the blog.
Richmond (BC) International Bonspiel Dec 1-4, 2010 6/11/2010
The Richmond Centre for Disability has been very active
in its support for wheelchair curling over many years. This year they
are celebrating their 25th Anniversary and are planning the 2010
International Bonspiel to be the biggest yet.
The competition runs from December 1 - 4, with practice ice available
November 30th. Entries are $250 for up to 12 teams with half payable by
the registration deadline of September 30.
They are currently negotiating hotel accommodation, and would appreciate
an expression of interest in attending ASAP.
For more information and a registration form contact
Ontarians favour national champs
in Worlds the following year 6/11/2010
The results of the Ontario Curling
Association's survey on the Team Canada selection process produced a
large majority for Option 3 - the Canadian national champions
representing Canada at the World Championships the following year.
This option allows up to a year of
preparation time and has been used previously at the Junior level. It
was chosen by 68% (19 of 28) of the respondents to the survey.
Full survey results (options are detailed in the previous post).
Option 3 - 68% (national champs go to following year's Worlds - 19 of
Option 2 - 18% (use Brier/Scotties system - 5 of 28)
Option 4 - 10% (best of 5 playoff for Worlds - 3 of 28)
Option 1 - 4% (present system - 1 of 28)
Ontario seeks input on Team
Canada selection process 6/9/2010
The Ontario Curling Association has
polled their competitive wheelchair curlers and coaches on their views
on their preferred methos of Team Canada formation.
The poll asked for four selection methods
to be ranked, and promised that the results would be tabulated and
shared with the other provinces at the CCA's Annual General Meeting next
week. We now know that this issue is being raised by at least two
Option 1: Continue the current selection
process as run by the CCA with their National Coaching staff selecting
the 5 members of Team Canada from any province.
Option 2: Have the winner of the Canadian Wheelchair Championship
represent Canada at the World Championship in the same season that the
World Championship is held. Note: this option requires changes in
scheduling of Provincial and National Championships.
Option 3: Have the winner of the Canadian Wheelchair Championship
represent Canada at the following year’s World Championship. Note: this
option allows the winning Canadian Championship team to receive
additional coaching/training and competition for up to one year before
competing at the World Championship.
Option 4: Have the winner of the Canadian Wheelchair Championship play a
best 3 of 5 games playoff against the “selected” Team Canada for the
right to represent Canada at the World championships.
If you haven't already done so, you might
want to browse the opinions expressed in the thread
"Team Canada - time for a change?" to familiarise yourself with some
of the issues. Then please add a comment and your ranking, with
any explanation for your choices, to the comments on the
blog version of this post.
Frank LaBounty wins CurlBC's
Athlete with a Disability Award 5/27/2010
Prince George resident Frank LaBounty was
selected by CurlBC's Awards & Recognition Committee to receive the
Athlete with a Disability Award for he 2009-2010 season.
The award is for accomplishments in events recognized by Curl BC.
Winners must have competed at the national or international level or
have shown outstanding achievement at the provincial level.
Frank played third for Gerry Austgarden, winning the BC provincials and
earning a silver medal at the National Championships won by Gary
Cormack, also from BC.
Last year's winner was Jim Armstrong. While Frank has been a stalwart in
BC wheelchair curling since the beginning, it is perhaps surprising that
he beat out all nine BC residents who won Paralympic and National gold
medals last season.
Team GB's Aileen Neilson wins S.
Lanarkshire Sports Award 5/27/2010
Aileen Neilson was crowned the South
Lanarkshire Female Sports Performer of the Year. As well as competing in
the Vancouver Paralympics, the Bent Primary School teacher was also in
the rink which won the Scottish Championships in October and the British
Championships in September.
told the East Kilbride News: “I’ve had a great time this year and
I’m delighted and honoured to have won this award. Although the team
didn’t return home from Vancouver with a medal, this award shows our
hard work and dedication in the sport of wheelchair curling has still
been recognised by South Lanarkshire Leisure.”
Team Canada - time for a change? 5/26/2010
I've been getting emails asking whether
the current selection process for Team Canada should be changed to the
traditional "win to play" system used in the able-bodied game: if you
win a national championship you become Team Canada with the perks and
responsibilities that go with that title.
We have just finished a funding cycle where the importance of winning a
gold medal overrode all other considerations, though proponents of
selection dispute that there is a useful distinction between what is
good for Canada's medal prospects and what is good for the sport as a
As we approach a new quadrennial, there is an opportunity for
participants in wheelchair curling to say whether there should be
change. [read more]
Edmonton's Jasper Place CC to host
2011 Canadian Nationals 5/19/2010
Cathy Craig, manager of the
Curling Club in Edmonton, Alberta, tells the
Edmonton Journal that the club will host the 2011 Canadian National
Wheelchair Curling Championships, March 20 - 27.
The club will be undertaking a two-stage renovation made possible by a
$263,200 grant from the federal Recreational Infrastructure Canada
program. Phase 1 will include an elevator to the viewing area, and
Team USA receives Congressional
WKTV reports that the U.S. Paralympic Curling Team was honored with
a Congressional Record Statement Friday. The statement, presented by
Congressman Michael Arcuri, was presented at the Sitrin, New Hartford,
the team's sponsor.
Armstrong pleads not guilty -
trial date July 6 5/13/2010
Victoria Times Colonist reports that Jim Armstrong entered a plea of
not guilty to charges of trafficking in fake Viagra pills. A date was
set for trial in US District Court in Seattle for July 6.
Armstrong was arrested April 15 after collecting a package containing
3,000 fake pills, and has been free on $20,000 surety bond. Armstrong’s
son Gregory, 28, is also named in the indictment and a bench warrant has
been issued for his arrest.
Wheelchair curling down under -
Melbourne, May 24 5/13/2010
The Victorian Curling Association in
Melbourne, Australia, is sponsoring a "come and try" session on May 24
from 6pm at the Icehouse in the Docklands. You can download the event
poster from the link on this page of their website.
Though Jim Oastler has for many years been promoting curling in general
and wheelchair curling in particular in Australia, he's hopeful that the
attention garnered by the Paralympics will provide the catalyst to gain
wheelchair curling a toe-gold in a country obsessed with sport .
"We are also eager to expand wheelchair curling through the Australian
Curling Federation. We will continue to offer come and try sessions at
the Curling Nationals; and plan return visits to Queensland and New
South Whales to establish wheelchair curling with those state curling
Chris Daw to be inducted to London
ON) Sports Hall Of Fame 5/10/2010
London Free Press is reporting that Chris Daw, skip of Canada's gold
medal winning team in Torino 2006, will be inducted into the London (ON)
Sports Hall Of Fame this fall at a date to be announced.
Ina Forrest honoured in her
Team Canada Paralympic gold medalist Ina
Forrest was honoured by the Mayors of Armstrong and Spallumcheen. Mayor
Chris Pieper and colleague Mayor Will Hansma presented Forrest with
recognition of excellence awards from both communities in front of both
councils Monday in Spallumcheen.
Read more from the
Vernon Morning Star's report HERE.
Accessible sports demo in Sault
Ste Marie, Sunday May 9 5/4/2010
There's an afternoon of accessible sports
demonstrations including wheelchair curling being held in the John
Rhodes Centre in Sault Ste Marie ON this Sunday May 9th from noon till 4
The event has been organised by the newly formed Sault Ste Marie
Accessible Sports Counci with a grant from ParaSport Ontario.
Team Shinshu wins Japan National
The Shinshu team from Nagano went
undefeated in an 8 team field to win the 6th Japan National Wheelchair
Curling Championship, held at the Sapporo Olympic Stadium in the Mika
Hotai-ikukan April 9-11.
Japan will compete at the World
Qualifying tournament later this year where the top two teams will join
the top eight teams from the 2009 Worlds, for the 2011 World
Championship, February 21 - March 3 in Prague.
Armstrong and son indicted by US
grand jury 4/30/2010
May 8. The Arraignment, scheduled for May 6, was postponed. No word on
when, or if, it will be rescheduled.
May 2. The U.S. Attorney's office issued a press release
Friday. It can be read
More reporting by Bob Mackin of 24Hours
CTV News website is reporting that Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong
and his 28 year old son Gregory have been indicted by a grand jury in
Seattle. They are accused of trafficking in counterfeit goods and
selling and dispensing counterfeit drugs with the intent to mislead or
The charges carry a maximum 10-year prison sentence and $2-million fine.
The two men have been released from custody on bonds, and are scheduled
to appear in court again on May 6 for arraignment.
The complaint filed in USA vs.
James Peter Armstrong
The Vancouver.24hrs.ca website has a link
to the formal complaint filed in US District Court,
Case #MJ10-171 USA vs. James Peter Armstrong.
Armstrong skips lunch with
Canada’s P.M. 4/22/2010
The Globe and Mail reported that Jim Armstrong decided not to travel
with his team mates to Ottawa where they were scheduled to have lunch
with Prime Minister Steven Harper prior to a
special presentation to medalists from the 2010 Winter Olympic and
Coach Joe Rea told the
Globe and Mail, “I thought it was a joke to begin with,” he said,
adding that he received an e-mail from Mr. Armstrong when he arrived at
work Wednesday saying everything was going to be okay and that he was
going to be cleared.
“It's a very unfortunate situation right now, but I think he's going to
sort through it.”
Team Canada skip arrested for
trafficking in counterfeit goods 4/21/2010
Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong was
arrested at a mail box service in Blaine Washington attempting to pick
up a package containing 2,800 erectile dysfunction pills. He was charged
with trafficking in counterfeit goods and accused of helping to
distribute Chinese-made pills labelled as Viagra and Cialis, according to
a report at
seattlepi.com picked up by
The Curling News.
"Speaking with investigators, Armstrong allegedly admitted to bringing
multiple shipments of the drugs into Canada. He is alleged to have
claimed he provided the drugs to another man, who in turn sold them at
clubs in the Vancouver area.
Jailed following his arrest, Armstrong was released after posting bond
on $20,000 bail. He is expected to return to U.S. District Court on
April 30 for a preliminary hearing."
Were the charges to result in a conviction, it may affect Armstrong's
future ability to travel to the USA.
Paralympic silver medalists inspire Olympian's $$$
Saying that she has cried for joy twice this year--when she won the gold
medal at the Vancouver Olympics and when the Korean wheelchair curling
team won the silver medal at the Vancouver Winter Paralympics - Olympic
figure skating champion Kim Yu-na plans to donate her fee for appearing
in a radio campaign for the rights of the disabled to the Korea
Foundation for Persons with Disabilities.
Thank you 4/18/2010
I'd like to thank those who have made a
donation to support the wheelchair curling website and blog. Because of
you, most of the expenses of putting them online this year have been
If you have been thinking about making a contribution in any amount,
it's not too late. You can donate by credit card by clicking on the link
on the front page of this website, or you can email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org for my address if you'd prefer to send a
Knowing that my efforts are appreciated makes a difference not only to
what I can do, but also to how motivated I feel to do it.
Cape Cod MA hosting summer spiel
July 22-25 4/18/2010
A couple of years ago the Cape Cod CC
undertook an extensive renovation of its 40 year old building,
specifically to offer the opportunity for wheelchair users to
participate in the club's activities.
This summer the club is hosting an international spiel and Team USA and
Team Germany have already committed to attend, as well as several
domestic American and Canadian teams.
Entry deadline has been extended and will now close May 9th. Contact
Marc DePerno 315-737-2459 if you have any questions.
The club is situated in Falmouth, MA, 70 miles south of Boston.
HERE for event details
Proposed rule changes need
further study 4/18/2010
Prior to the World Curling Federation's
meeting in Cortina April 7th, a lengthy document was circulated
detailing proposed changes to the eligibility rules for wheelchair
curling. The document attempted to describe in highly tyechnical
language exactly what degree of disability would be necessary for an
athlete to become eligible to compete in WCF sanctioned events such as
the World Championships and the Paralympic Games.
The document attempted to draw a line somewhere between full-time
wheelchair user and able-bodied, that included everyone with a
significant disability affecting their lower limbs or gait such that a
wheelchair would be necessary for them to curl.
The regulations would have to be sufficiently specific and clear to
allow eligibility of athletes to be determined by a classifier, but also
in the event of a dispute, provide objective criteria for an appeal
panel to judge a classification decision.
At present there is no appeal protocol: the original classifier's
opinion is final.
Under the new proposal, curlers would be given a designation of
qualified, or not qualified, or qualified subject to future review.
Decisions to accept or reject an athlete could be appealed to a panel of
two classifiers not involved in the original decision.
It has, however, proven more complicated than expected to draw up clear
and acceptable eligibility criteria, and the language in the original
proposal was not accepted at the meeting and will be reviewed. The delay
may mean that the new WCF rule book, due in June, will again not contain
a procedure for appeal of an eligibility assessment.
This issue should be seen in the context of Michael McCreadie's concerns
that wheelchair curling is fast becoming a sport played by amputees and
low level paraplegics to the exclusion of more significantly disabled
wheelchair users, and against the guiding principles of Paralympic
Is it better for the future of wheelchair curling that the widest
possible pool of potential participants be eligible to compete, or
should it be. at least at the international level, a sport inclusive of
a range of disabilities requiring wheelchair use? Is the decision
different for countries with few facilities than for Canada with many?
Wheelchair curling administrators are already discovering that the
definition of wheelchair user is complicated and subjective; and that's
just the beginning.
News from British Columbia 4/18/2010
Cranbrook Daily Townsman reports that
Kimberley will host the 2011 BC Wheelchair Curling Championship from
Feb. 3-6, 2011
"It's a natural fit," said club president Gord Jenkins, "given the types
of improvements the club has made since its building was condemned a few
“When we did the renovations, we said, ‘Let's make this a barrier-free
The 2010 championship banner will hang in the Richmond CC as four of the
five team members play there. The 2011 Worlds are scheduled for Prague
February 21 - March 3, so it is possible that Sonja Gaudet, Ina Forrest
and Jackie Roy will be available in 2011, potentially doubling the
number of teams that may compete.
National silver medalist Alison Duddy was profiled in the
"For my first time out to the nationals,
I’m happy,” Duddy said.“But at the same time there is a little bit of
The sweet side of getting the silver medal Duddy said, was the one − two
finish for the B.C. teams, and they did it on home ice in front of
family and friends.
“[But] we had our chances in the gold medal game, unfortunately we just
couldn’t pull it out.”
Duddy also acknowledged the play of opposing skip Cormack, particularly
in the gold-medal game, as one of the highlights of the tournament.
“In one end we were sitting six and he had to make a perfect shot and he
did to count one,” Duddy explained, adding Cormack did the very same
thing in a subsequent end with her team sitting with five counters in
the rings. [read
CurlBC is inviting applications for its High Performance program which
is open to all players and coaches in BC. Details can be found
Finally, with Team Canada and the national championship final virtually
all-BC affair, to what do you attribute BC's success, and what must
happen outside of BC to broaden the spread of competitive honours?
Is it simply success breeding success? The presence of Jim Armstrong?
What do you think?
News from the Scottish
Wheelchair Curling Association 4/18/2010
The Royal Caledonian Curling Club, the
national governing body for curling in Britain, has posted
news from the AGM of the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association.
After detailing changes in committee membership, the post continued:
There were interesting points made on various topics which will be
followed up by the Committee.
The meeting closed with a vote of thanks to the Chair, and was followed
by afternoon tea kindly hosted by South Lanarkshire Wheelchair Curling
Alas, no mention of what was in the sandwiches.
Marc DePerno, USA team leader,
wins Spirit Award 4/18/2010
Marc DePerno, team leader for the 2010
Paralympic wheelchair curling team, has received an O.C. Tanner
Inspiration Award after being nominated by James Joseph.
The O.C. Tanner Inspiration Award honours those frequently left behind
the scenes. Those who ignited the spark. Encouraged the dream. Awakened
the quest for glory. It honours those who will never receive a medal of
their own. But instead made it possible for someone else.
Read Jimmy's nomination letter.
Big win for wheelchair curlers at
WCF meeting 4/7/2010
The World Curling Federation's
semi-annual meetings have been held in Cortina this week, during the
Men's World Championships. There were several important issues discussed
that directly affect wheelchair users, and one indirect decision that
may be just as influential in the long term.
First, the current ban on power wheelchairs has been lifted. As has been
discussed on our blog, the ban served no equitable purpose. Power
wheelchairs proffered no advantage to the athlete and imposed no burden
on the ice. Removing the ban, in the absence of evidence that it served
an explicable purpose, was overdue.
I do not have any details beyond the announcement, but I do know that
the CCA was fully supportive of a lifting of the ban. I also know that
the British team had been asked their opinion, and also supported
use of power chairs in WCF competition.
While this decision is unlikely to mark an immediate influx of power
chair users, it will have an impact on decisions made by national
coaches. In my pre-Paralympic discussion with Team Canada coach Joe Rea
he mentioned that the ban at WCF events influenced his decision about
whether to work with power chair users at the national level.
Some time ago Great Britain skip Michael McCreadie circulated a
discussion paper suggesting that rules changes needed to be made to
ensure that a wider range of level of disability is represented in
national teams. The power chair decision may indicate that his arguments
are being heard.
The most dramatic news from Cortina was that sitting President Canadian
Les Harrison has
been deposed by his vice-President Kate Caithness of Scotland. While
Les Harrison was cordial when I spoke to him last year, he referred all discussion
of wheelchair curling to Kate Caithness.
There was also a detailed revision of eligibility rules for wheelchair
curling presented at the meeting, but no news has surfaced yet.
Photos from the 2010 Canadian
National Championships 3/29/2010
Scott Thompson took photos at the
Championship and has posted them
A look back at the Paralympics 3/24/2010
Canada won their gold medal, Korea
reawakened to the form that saw them runners-up at the 2008 Worlds,
Sweden persevered past a miserable start and a tie-break day suspension
of their last rock thrower, and USA did not quite go-all-the-way. The
Richmond press hailed the Darryl and Jim show, while the Okanagan press
celebrated Ina and Sonja and we all see what we want to see.
Read the rest of the article.
Looking back on the 2010 Canadian
Ten teams of wheelchair curlers present
significant logistical challenges to any venue hosting a Canadian
National Wheelchair Curling Championship. Every organising committee
works long and hard, fielding friendly and enthusiastic volunteers. This
year's co-chairs Gerry Austgarden and Deanna Tuokko had the advantages
of proximity of the host hotel to the curling club, the space for 50
plus wheelchairs to manoeuvre inside the club, a schedule that avoided a
three draw day, and almost perfect weather.
Experience showed in the results. The top three teams all had ex-Team
Canada members throwing fourth stones, and it was probably no
co-incidence that the BC teams, Manitoba and Alberta, the teams that
reached the play-offs, have the longest record of participation in the
Championship, with mostly players experienced in week long competition.
the rest of this article]
Canada repeat as gold medalists
at Paralympics 3/20/2010
Canada saw off the semi-final challenge
of a weakened Swedish team in the morning semi-final and then raced out
to an early 8-1 lead at the break against Korea in the final. Then Korea
took two, stole one, stole another one and were lying two with Canadian
skip Jim Armstrong's last rock to come.
Four year's ago at Torino, Great Britain
had last rock needing an open hit to win gold against Canada. In
Vancouver, Armstrong needed an open hit to win the gold medal. The
focused on his face as he took his shot, and it took several seconds for
the smile to appear as he realised that it was on line. Ina Forrest
slapped him on the back in congratulation as Canada took out a Korean
stone, giving up another steal, but posting an 8-7 win.
Sweden beat USA for the bronze.
Full results can be viewed on our
The BC Host team crowned National
The BC Host team won the all BC final of
the 2010 Canadian National Wheelchair Curling Championships at the
Kelowna CC this afternoon.
Gary Cormack (skip), Rich Green (3rd), Vince Miele (2nd) and alternating
leads Corinne Jensen and Samantha Sui had the best record in the round
robin, with their only loss to Nova Scotia. They also beat BC in the 1
vs 2 game in a testament to the depth of talent among wheelchair curlers
In the battle of Torino gold medalist 4th rock throwers, Gary Cormack's
63% shooting out-shone BC's Gerry Austgarden, and picked up a team that
was outscored at every other position. He also saved them from disaster
and a possible early exit in the second when his last rock came through
a narrow port for shot with BC were lying 6.
You can read our notes as the play happened,
on our blog.
Full results are available on our
Updates from Nationals and
Just back from the Nationals banquet,
where Chester Draper of Northern Ontario won the Sportsmanship Trophy,
and Arlene Ursel, Dennis Thiessen and Chris Sobkowicz of Manitoba and
Martin Purvis of Alberta won places on the All-Star Team. Photographs
the Paralympics results pages are
up-to-date. News and commentary will be added later.
Brief notes from the Page playoff games at the Nationals can be found on
Congratulations to Team Canada who held
off a late rally by Korea to win the gold medal at the Paralympics.
Final score 8-7.
The Nationals semi-final will begin 9.30
Sunday with the final at 2pm.
Swedish 4th rock thrower thrown
out of Paralympics 3/19/2010
Glenn Ikonen, who began the Paralympics
throwing third stones for Sweden before changing places with his skip
Jalle Jungnell after Sweden's 0-3 start, has been banned for two years
for failing a drug test. Though the ban is subject to appeal, he has
been withdrawn for the remainder of the competition.
As reported in the Vancouver Sun, the news came just hours before the
Swedish team was due to take on Italy in a tie-break to decide who faces
Canada in Saturday's semi-final.
Alternate Patrik Kallin threw second, with Jungnell returning to 4th
stones. Despite the off-ice drama, Sweden beat Italy 6-5, stealing 2 in
the final end. With Sweden sitting shot on the 4 foot and second shot
back 12, Italy's skip Tabanelli chose a takeout for the win rather than
a draw to the 12 for a tie, and crashed on a front stone.
“Of course we were totally shocked and sorry for Glenn who played so
well for us in the round robin,” said Jungnell “He felt he had done
everything right about the medication. But Patrik [who shot 75 per cent]
came in and did a good job for us. He plays for us in our normal club
games back home. We knew he was a good player.”
Canada vs Sweden and USA vs Korea take place 10am Saturday, with the
medal games beginning at 3.30.
For tables and schedule see our Paralympics
Nationals - Final Round Robin
On the final round robin day at t he
Canadian Nationals in Kelowna BC it could have been a host committee
nightmare 5-way tie for the fourth playoff spot, but at the end of the
day only Alberta posted the necessary two wins to join BC Host, BC and
BC Host and Manitoba fought a war of attrition in the last draw, with
singles all the way to the eighth end when suddenly the Host team were
sitting 4 and Manitoba had to draw to the four foot to save the game.
Chris Sobkowicz's draw was a little light and BC Host stole two for a
5-4 win. We watched the game and there are a few notes at the end of
BC Host (8-1) will play BC (7-2) in the Page playoff 1 vs 2 game
tomorrow, the winner going straight through to Sunday's 2PM final. The
loser will play the 9.30AM Sunday semi-final against the winner of the 3
s 4 game, Manitoba (6-3) vs. Alberta (5-4).
Page playoff games start at 2pm Saturday.
For full scores and table go to our
Nationals Day 5 - Last playoff
spot still open 3/19/2010
BC, BC HOST and Manitoba have qualified
for Saturday's Page Playoffs at the 2010 Canadian Wheelchair Curling
Nationals in Kelowna, BC.
In the battle of the top teams, BC HOST beat BC 7-1, stealing their way
to a 6-0 lead after four. Manitoba dispatched Newfoundland and Labrador
12-0 and still have a chance to make the 1-2 Page Playoff game if they
beat the host team this afternoon.
All the teams that entered the day with a chance to make the playoffs
are still alive. Saskatchewan missed an opportunity to post a fifth win
when they fell to Quebec 11-2. When we asked Quebec coach Al Whittier
what he'd fed his team for breakfast, he said, "Good Quebec poutine."
Alberta beat Ontario 10-2 and Nova Scotia beat Northern Ontario 10-3.
Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, with a win this afternoon, are
guaranteed at least a tie-breaker. Ontario and Northern Ontario need all
three of those teams to lose to have a four- or five-way tie-breaker.
Tie-break to decide who plays
Canada in semi 3/18/2010
Italy played themselves into a tie-break
with a spectacular last shot 8-7 win over Canada in the final round
robin draw. In a replay of yesterday's game against Korea, Canada had
shot stone on the button, and Jim Armstrong's attempt at a guard
slightly over-curled. But while the Korean skip over-threw his take-out
sending the stone wide, Italian skip Tabanelli threw a controlled weight
hit and stick to score the winning point.
The result didn't change Canada's
position as they were already guaranteed first place. They will play
either Italy or Sweden, the only two teams to have beaten Canada this
Ina Forrest, who led all seconds during
round robin, sat out to give her sore shoulder a rest and Alberta's
Bruno Yizek had an opportunity to play.
Italy earned a tie-break game against a
resurgent Sweden, who saw off Germany 10-3. Jens Jager sat out to give
his alternate a game. Marcus Sieger skipped.
Great Britain finished on a win, 10-4 over Japan, with Michael McCreadie
sitting in favour of alternate Jim Sellar. It's been a very
disappointing tournament for the all Scottish rink, and hopefully
Michael will not have ended his curling career on the bench.
Switzerland lifted themselves from the
foot of the table with a win over Norway 10-4.
The tie-break game is at 2pm Friday, with
the semi-finals on Saturday at 10am and the medal games at 3.30pm
Canadian Nationals - Draw 7 3/18/2010
Saskatchewan beat Chris Sobkowicz's
Manitoba despite being 5-0 down at the break. Single steals in the 6th
and 7th and a steal of 2 in the 8th brought a mighty cheer from the
Saskatchewan supporters glued to the upstairs lounge window.
Saskatchewan 2nd Marie Wright shot a game best 58% to her province in
the fourth playoff spot. With two draws to go tomorrow, when they will
play Quebec and Ontario, they are looking good to at least claim a
Leaders BC were completely befuddled by
inconsistent Alberta who stole a 6-0 lead after 5 ends. They almost let
BC back into the game in the 5th when with BC sitting one behind a pile
of front stones, Alberta skip opted to hit the BC shot stone rather than
give up the one with a guard. His shot promoted a second BC stone, Gerry
Austgarden pushed another into the rings through the opened port and
with BC sitting 3 and a stone to come, Alberta were looking ruin in the
But Smart's last rock draw was just wide
and heavy enough to wick off a stone at the edge of the 12 and roll to
the button for shot, and another steal.
Ontario, flush from their morning trophy
victory, took 5 in the opening end and spent the rest of the game giving
it back, losing 9-7.
N. Ontario gave Quebec an early 3 point
lead then posted a four and a couple of steals in an 8-6 win. BC Host
went off to a 5 point lead against Newfoundland and Labrador, and won
The two BC teams are guaranteed a playoff
spot, with Manitoba needing to win just one of their games to join them.
Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec are the only teams mathematically
eliminated from the playoffs.
For full scores and table go to our
Cameron wins John McCrae Trophy in
battle of Ontarios 3/18/2010
A Canadian National Championship is a
fine thing, but pride was at stake when Northern Ontario played Ontario,
or Southern Ontario as the Ficek rink called them, for the John McCrae
Trophy. This year Bruce Cameron's team repossessed it, winning 7-5 on
the strength of a 4 spot just before the break.
BC continued their unbeaten cruise to the
playoffs, 10-2 over slumping Newfoundland and Labrador. Alberta
continued to disappoint their traveling fans, losing to a very serious
and self-possessed Manitoba side 7-5.
Saskatchewan scored the last 9 points of
the game, overcoming a 7-1 deficit to beat Nove Scotia, and BC Host,
despite swapping 4 in the opening end, ran out easy winners over Quebec,
Canada and USA qualify for
In a game that would decide who stood at
the top of the table with one day of round robin play to go, Canada
(7-1) beat Korea (5-3) by a somewhat flattering score of 6-4.
Canada's steal of one in the second, when
a Korean attempted pick buried a Canadian stone on the button, was the
difference until the final end. Canada had shot stone buried behind
seven stones. Korea called time out. Their options were a fancy double
run back, or throw a bomb onto the pile and see what happened.
Korea have the reputation for throwing
big weight though they have succeeded by drawing when they had to. This
time they chose the big weight option. and they managed to open a port
to shot stone.
Jim Armstrong attempted to block it but
his draw over-curled. A straight hit and stick by Korea would have left
Canada with a tricky shot to save the game. But skip Haksung Kim, revved
from his previous shot, over-threw when what was needed was a controlled
weight take-out. The shot sailed wide and Canada could smile for the
first time in the evening.
USA (6-2) lost a rock on a measurement in
the second against Japan, but still posted a six and won 8-2. Italy
ruined Norway's hopes of a playoff spot, despite throwing away a 7-2
lead in the eighth. They took 2 in the extra to win 9-7.
Korea, Sweden, Germany and Italy will
play for the remaining playoff spots tomorrow. For tables and schedule
see our Paralympics
Draw 5 Nationals - Team Canada
alumni leading the way 3/17/2010
The teams with Team Canada players
throwing last rocks remain at the top of the table as we pass half-way
of the Canadian National Championships in Kelowna BC.
Quebec had a chance to upset unbeaten BC. They went into the 4th end
break 2-1 ahead and in the 6th were lying 4 with skip stones to come. BC
coach Al Moore, husband of TV curling pundit Linda Moore, was waving
frantically at the upstairs window signalling for his team to call a
time-out (rules state that time-outs can only be called on the ice).
Gerry Austgarden's attempted draw was short of the front guards.
Quebec skip Ben Lessard attempted to
throw a guard but hogged his stone, and Austgarden made no mistake with
his final stone, coming into the rings for shot. Lessard attempted to
hit it, but threw wide, giving up a steal and a lead that BC never
surrendered. Final score 5-2, with BC stealing singles in each of the
last 4 ends.
Alberta struggled for most of their match
against the tournament's tough luck side, Nova Scotia. Jack Smart showed
his lack of confidence in his draw weight when in the 4th he attempted a
tap with half the house open. "It was a good choice, it was lined up,"
coach Tony Zummack said, though it resulted in a Nova Scotia steal.
Nova Scotia had taken one in the first
and then stole the next four ends to go ahead 6-0. Alberta took their 4
points in the 6th when Smart played a tricky hit to promote 3 stones
into scoring position. It was Alberta's one success as they came up on
the short end of a 6-4 scoreline.
When Saskatchewan win they win big, 11-3
over Newfoundland and Labrador who have come back to earth with a bump
after opening the competition with a 13-3 win.
BC Host relied on a 4 in the sixth to
counter a series of singles by Ontario. Their 6-5 win keeps them tied
with Manitoba, who beat N. Ontario 8-5, a game back of BC.
For full scores and table go to our
Draw 4 Canadian Nationals BC keep rolling; Quebec get
BC are showing the depth of their curling
talent, posting their fourth win without their skip and lead from the
two previous years. Mind you they do have Torino gold medalist Gerry
Austgarden throwing last rocks and adding his experience to the game
This morning they beat Nova Scotia 7-5 on the strength of a 4 in the
3rd. Nova Scotia pulled to within one with a steal of two in the 7th but
could not repeat as BC took their single, and the game, in the final
Nova Scotia, after a first round walloping by Newfoundland and Labrador,
have played tough, with a win over Gary Cormack's BC Host side, and
narrow losses to BC and Manitoba, both very experienced sides.
Quebec were blown out in their first two games, but took Alberta to an
extra end in Game 3 and this morning went one better. 5-4 over
Newfoundland. A three in the 3rd helped in a game of singles.
BC Host beat Sakatchewan 9-5 and share second spot in the table with
Manitoba, who stole 5 in the 2nd against Ontario and won 10-3.
N. Ontario beat Alberta 8-4, two steals of two making the difference.
For full scores and table go to our
Canada back on top with 15-1 win
over Switzerland 3/16/2010
Canada (5-1) weren't affected by less
than 50% shooting from their skip as the rest of the team shot better
than 70% in the 15-1 dismantling of Switzerland (2-4). A 5 just before
the break started the rout and a 6 in the 6th ended it early.
Norway (3-3) beat Japan (2-4) 11-3 and Germany (3-3) stole a single in
the 8th to edge Italy (2-4) 7-6.
In the evening draw USA (4-2) blew a chance to at least tie their game
against Sweden in the eighth. Sitting one with skip stones to come, they
chose to chase the Swedish 2nd shot stone that was on the edge of the
12, rather than coming anywhere full 12 to sit two. The stone flashed
and Sweden hit shot stone to run USA out of rocks.
Sweden (3-3) have won three in a row; beating Norway, Canada and USA to
work themselves very much back into contention. Promoting Glenn Ikonen
to 4th stones appears to have worked, as skip Jalle Jungnell continues
to struggle, but no longer with last rocks.
Great Britain (2-4) avoided a 5th defeat, beating Germany 9-2 and
can still say they have a chance at a playoff spot. Korea (4-2) pulled
level with USA and one game behind leaders Canada beating Italy 9-3, and
Japan edged Switzerland (2-4) 6-5 in an extra end.
With three matches to play in the round robin, every team still has a
chance of making the playoffs.
Line scores and tables on our
Day 2 - Canadian Nationals Draw
Ontario (2-1) stole the first 4 points to
go ahead of Newfoundland and Labrador (1-2) 5-3 at the break. Whatever
it was they ate, it came back to bite Newfoundland as Ontario scored
another 9 points for a 14-5 win.
BC (3-0) continued their unbeaten record. They stole 2 in the 4th to go
ahead of Saskatchewan (1-2) 4-2 and gave up just a couple of singles in
the second half while scoring 3 and winning 7-3.
BC Host (2-1) stole 2 in the 5th and 1 in the 6th to beat N. Ontario
(1-2) 6-4. Third Mark Wherrett was the only N. Ontarian with better than
50% shooting, but he was bested by opposing 3rd Rich Green who shot 59%
for the host team.
Quebec (0-3) finally found the rings and took an early 5-1 lead over
Alberta (2-1) but gave back 5 in steals in the second half. They scored
3 to tie Alberta in the 8th but in the extra end without the hammer,
conceded a single and lost 9-8.
Manitoba (2-1) with steals of two in ends 2 and 3 opened an early 5-0
lead over Nova Scotia (1-2) but a steal of 3 in the 5th brought the
bluenosers level. They couldn't hang on though, dropping a 7-6 decision.
For line scores check our
National Championship page.
Day 2 - Canadian Nationals - Draw
Defending champions BC had all they could
handle in their morning draw against the rookies from Ontario and the
decisive play was with skip stones in the 8th end.
Ontario had hammer down one, and were sitting at least 3 with no obvious
way into the house for BC. After a timeout, BC decided on a long run
back, which though didn't threaten shot stones, did open a narrow port.
Ontario attempted to block it with a guard that was over-curled enough
to widen the port, and Gerry Austgarden threw an up-weight hit on shot
stone back 4. He had to stick and he did. Bruce Cameron attempted to
follow him down to at least force an extra end, but was light and BC won
Though his overall statistics were not impressive, Austgarden made key
shots and saved the game. For Ontario, Doug Morris at 3rd threw an
impressive 69% to set up his skip, but it came down to a single tough
but makeable last rock that didn't reach its target.
BC are the only team to have won both their matches, while Quebec are
still looking for their first win after being blanked by Manitoba 9-0.
In other games Nova Scotia beat BC Host 8-6, Alberta downed Saskatchewan
8-4 and N. Ontario brought Newfoundland and Labrador back to earth with
a 10-1 win.
USA tied at top of table as
Canada crash to Sweden 3/15/2010
It too an extra end after USA surrendered
3 in the 8th against Great Britain (1-4), but USA (4-1) pulled out an
8-7 win to tie Canada at the top of te table at the end of Day 3 at the
Canada (4-1) surrendered their unbeaten record in an 8-4 loss to Sweden.
Read match report
HERE. Norway stopped Korea's momentum, winning 9-6 and Germany lost
to Switzerland 9-3.
Michael McCreadie said after the team's 4th loss (to USA) "It can be a
cruel game at times. Although we are losing the team dynamics remain
strong. Aileen is an excellent last rock thrower. There's such a small
margin between winning and losing, but we are still thinking playoffs if
we can win the rest of the way. The ice was very swingy today, but we
just have to adapt to the conditions."
Read article on McCreadie by Lyndon
Heavy ice was also on Swedish skip Jalle Jungnell;s mind,though he
pulled off wins over two favoured sides today (Norway and Canada). "We
tried to play our normal game, "he said, "butwe've been struggling with
the ice. It's so heavy."
That was a sentiment echoed by Norwegian skip Rune Lorentsen. “It’s
tricky ice. I don’t know the feel of the rocks. We do the same things as
other teams but our rocks don’t behave the same. It makes us a little
unsure. [Against Sweden] we always play crappy matches. No good play and
we were very nervous.”
Table leaders Canada and USA each play a single game tomorrow; Canada
against Switzerland in the morning and USA against Sweden in the
Full details of all the draws can be
found by following the links on our front page.
Day 1 - Nationals - BC and
Manitoba play an extra end 3/15/2010
Defending champions BC defeated Manitoba
7-6 in the opening game of the Canadian National Championships in
Kelowna. We posted some notes on the blog as we watched the game. The
ice grew steadily heavier until it was taking 11 second hog to hog to
come just short of the rings.
The extra end saw an empty house as every
stone fell short until Austgarden managed to get the last rock of the
game through the pile and get it to stop just touching the rings back 12
to score the winning point.
The BC Host team skipped by Gary Cormack
swapped singles with Alberta until a steal in ends 7 and 8 saw them pull
Saskatchewan landed a 5 on N. Ontario in
the 6th en route to a 10-5 win. Newfoundland took 5 in the 1st against
Nova Scotia and never looked back, winning 13-3, the same score Ontario,
the one totally rookie squad posted against Quebec.
Full details of all the draws can be
found by following the links on our front page.
BC vs Manitoba marquee matchup
Day 1 of Canadian Nationals 3/15/2010
BC, the only provincial team to have won
a Canadian National title, will open their defense against last year's
bronze medalists Manitoba in the opening draw, 7.30 PM at the Kelowna
Last year's BC skip, Jim Armstrong, is playing for his country in
Vancouver so Torino gold medalist Gerry Austgarden will be throwing last
rocks for the BC provincial champions. Frank LaBounty throws third with
skip Whitney Warren at second and rookie Alison Duddy replacing Jackie
Roy at lead. Austgarden is holding the broom the first two ends with
Warren holding for 3rd and 4th stones.
"Everyone knows what they're doing, what their role is," LaBounty
assured me at the players' reception last night.
Manitoba will be looking for the breakthrough that get's them into a
final game. They have Chris Sobkowicz at skip, who made Team Canada at
last year's Worlds at the expense of Austgarden and BC Host skip Gary
Cormack. George Horning comes in at second replacing Michael Alberg.
Other machups: BC Host vs Alberta, Quebec vs Ontario, Newfoundland vs
Nova Scotia, and N. Ontario vs Saskatchewan.
Tonight draw begins at 7.30 after the opening ceremonies. There will be
two draws a day tomorrow through Friday at 9.30 and 2 pm.
Student reporter tells Team
Canada stories 3/15/2010
Lisa Odland, a Students Live reporter,
has posted the back stories of the Team Canada members on her
Coast Kid blog, including a short video interview with Sonja Gaudet.
Read and watch it
Inside the head of Team USA skip
Goose Perez 3/15/2010
Last season the rap on the American skip
was that he was a talented thrower who was perhaps too much of a prima
donna for the good of the team.
That seems to have changed this year as he has grown into his role and
learned more about the game. The increasing role of no-nonsense Army vet
Patrick McDonald in the team may also have had an influence.
It's certainly a more humble Perez who appears in this interview, which
gives a good insight into what goes through his mind as he skips his
team. Read it
Canada not distracted by
Norway's pants 3/14/2010
Norway entered the ice wearing turquoise
and white checkered pants that the late Payne Stewart would have been proud
to wear at the 19th hole on a sunny day. They have always played Canada
tough, and today was no exception as they went out to an early 3-0 lead
after 3 ends and held a one point advantage with hammer going into the
Jim Armstrong threw a perfect guard with
his first stone and then came around with his last stone to sit two.
Norwegian skip Rune Lorentsen crashed on the guard to give Canada a 6-4
win. Match report
Lindon Little's report in the Vancouver Sun suggests that Canada
needed every bit of Jim's ice-reading experience to counter difficult
ice conditions; heavy with huge late swing. Norway protested the result
of a measurement, a protest that was denied after video review.
USA played Germany, the team that robbed
them of a medal at last year's Worlds. Germany stole the first 4 points,
but USA played patiently and scored singles in the last three ends to
take the game 6-5. Match report
USA skip said: "I have nothing but praise
for our team. In the second end we made some mistakes and missed an easy
draw. But I said to the guys that we have to believe we can still make
it, even though we were four points down. If we get steals of one or
two, we'll be fine."
A disappointed Jens Jager bemoaned his
last shot: "On my last takeout I was too slow. It was a good match and
we had control. I was just too slow on the last one."
Korea beat Japan 7-5 and Italy brutalised Switzerland 13-4 in six ends
in the other morning draws.
Switzerland didn't fare any better in the
evening against Great Britain who finally posted a win, staying close
through the break before stealing a key four points in the fifth end and
Italy posted their second win of the day,
9-1 over a hapless Swedish side struggling to find their first win and
the form that won silver against the same teams a year ago.
For full results and line scores visit
our Vancouver Paralympics page.
The Canadian Nationals - who's
going to win? 3/14/2010
Bookmark the 2010
Nationals page for results
The 2010 Canadian Nationals begin
tomorrow with nine provincial and one host team making up the field.
Defending champions BC do not have Jim Armstrong or Jackie Roy, but have
added Torino gold medalist Gerry Austgarden at 4th stones. BC's host
team also figures to be stronger than previous hosts with another Torino
Paralympian, Gary Cormack, at skip.
Ontario are the rookie team but went through the most challenging
qualifying championship, and have also made an effort to travel as a
team to gain competition experience. Skip Bruce Cameron has worked as
hard as anyone to further the cause of wheelchair curling and beat tough
opposition to get to Kelowna, but is untested in a long event
Alberta is also a team that traveled this season, competing in the
Richmond Cashspiel. Anne Hibberd returns to the side after being unable
to travel to last year's event. She replaces Bruno Yizek who is watching
Team Canada from the bench.
Kenoran Wayne Ficek again defeated his Thunder Bay rivals and has had a
year to build experience. Manitoba have one change this year, with
George Horning replacing Michael Alberg.
Newfound and Labrador's Joanne MacDonald is the one female skip, moving
from 3rd to take the place of Chris Daw, now commentating on Paralympic
TV. Saskatchewan make one change, at alternate, and Nova Scotia have a
new lead, Debbie Earle. Quebec brings two females in the squad that
welcomes Ben Lessard back from injury.
So who will win? There has only ever been two winners of the Canadian
National Championships; Team Canada through 2006 and then Team BC. Is
this the year to see Manitoba step up? They looked unhappy at times last
year and have a new coach this year. Alberta have the experience but
Anne Hibberd has to show she can play third.
BC have experience despite their rookie lead. If they can work out whose
team it is and what role each player has, they'll do well. And Northern
Ontario have the fire to improve on the disappointment of last year's
Comments are open for who you think will make the playoffs.
Paralympics - Day 1 3/13/2010
By the end of the first day of
competition, many of the questions that had invited speculation in the
build-up to the Vancouver Paralympic Games seemed settled.
Jim Armstrong was not only fit to play,
but his team avoided the shaky start that nearly cost them at last
year's Worlds. They hammered Great Britain 9-2 in the opening draw, and
then ran ahead of USA in the evening 8-2 at the break before closing out
a 10-5 win to post a 2-0 record.
Great Britain had something to prove;
that their delivery position experiment could pay dividends a year after
a disastrous Worlds, and that the combination of Michael McCreadie
skipping from 3rd while Aileen Neilson threw last rocks, could produce
Their decisive loss to Canada and the
narrower last end loss to Norway will not help their confidence, though
it will have come at a good time for Norway who in Draw 1 threw away a
6-4 lead over Germany by giving up 6 in the 7th end of a 10-6 loss.
Sweden came in with a new coach, Tomas
Nordin, and it was to be seen whether he could add the missing
ingredient that might convert last year's solver medal into gold. They
suffered a 7-6 loss to Switzerland in the early draw, then played Korea
tight through 5 ends before falling apart, and suffering a total
meltdown in the final end. Down 2, they threw 5 complete misses and
left looking dejected, losing 8-4. It will take all Nordin's experience
to rebuild the smiles from the team who last year at least looked
as though they were enjoying themselves.
USA, despite giving up two 3-enders stole
a comfortable 9-6 win over Korea in the opening draw, and while it is
never pleasant to give up a 4, and 4 more to consecutive steals playing
Canada, who they beat in round robin play last year, they will probably
feel their day was worthwhile, and their biggest hurdle behind them.
Germany played just one game and must
feel, with their winning 6-spot, that their luck has carried over from
last shot at the 2009 Worlds. And in the battle of the unknowns,
Japan, with 75 year old Takashi Hidai at second, beat Italy 9-6.
Canada play Norway in Draw 3 their only
game on Day 2.
New to wheelchair curling? Watch
this video 3/13/2010
BBC Sport has a series of videos
introducing wheelchair curling and also the members of the wheelchair
Michael McCreadie, skip of Team Great Britain, was the only curler to be
given the honour of carrying his nation's flag at the Opening Ceremonies
of the Vancouver Paralympics.
In the video [see
blog] he gives a full explanation of how wheelchair curling is
played, ending with encouragement for people to come out and try the
sport. There's lots of people who will help, he says, concluding:" Give
me a call and I'll turn up also."
One interesting note from the video: they edited in the last rock thrown
by Frank Duffy from the Torino Games, where Great Britain had an open
hit to win gold. It starts at 2.00 into the video.
Other videos including video profiles of Team GB curlers, can be found
Team USA give lessons in Robson
The coach and members of Team USA gave
some lessons to on-lookers in Robson Square.
Inside Vancouver blog] Out on the Robson Square ice, members of the
Team USA wheelchair curling squad were giving a demonstration and free
lesson. Onlookers with disabilities made their way into the rink and
formed a circle of wheelchairs around the American coach, who explained
the basics of “rocks,” “houses” and keeping score. Watching the
demonstration – with kids in wheelchairs and on crutches taking turns
slinging 42-pound curling stones down the ice – I got a glimpse into a
little of what Paralympic competition is about: inclusion, optimism and
Information pages for
Paralympics and Nationals 3/12/2010
I have created pages for the statistics
of the matches played at the Vancouver
Paralympics and the
I will attempt to update them at least
daily. I will also write and link to news items as I have time. Those
will likely appear first on the
There will be some coverage of wheelchair
Paralympic Sport TV where 2006 gold medal skip Chris Daw will be
providing commentary. The CCA have
announced they will be posting information on Team Canada on
their website. They
also have a space on their site for information from the
The best way to keep in touch with what
coverage may be available on this site and the blog, is to follow
WheelChairCurl on Twitter.
Highland Wheelchair CC
give-it-a-go in Inverness March 16 3/12/2010
Highland Wheelchair Curling Club are
inviting wheelchair users and those with mobility impairments to a come
and try event at Inverness Ice Centre on Tuesday 16th March between
Those taking part will be given an introduction to the sport, a lesson
on the ice, while also having a go at the Hot Shots competition, which
is part of the Try Curling initiative that is being run this month by
the Royal Caledonian Curling Club.
For further information, or to book a place at the event contact Mo
Simpson, secretary of Highland Wheelchair Curling Club, on 01463 716227
or 0779 871 0404.
Gaudet and Armstrong make Macleans
Top 10 3/12/2010
Team Canada lead Sonja Gaudet and skip
Jim Armstrong make the Macleans.ca
10 Paralympians to watch.
Takashi Hidai, at 75 this year's
oldest Paralympian 3/11/2010
[Information from the
Tokyo Five blog]
Takashi Hidai plays 2nd for Japan and at 75 years old is not only the
oldest person to ever join the Japanese Paralympics Team, but will be
the oldest competitor at the Vancouver Games.
When he was 31 years old, he was working in Tokyo as an electrician on a
construction site when a crane fell on him, paralyzing him from the
He credits the love of his wife and daughter (who was three years old at
the time) with helping maintain his positive attitude after his tragedy.
He is an accomplished archer, traveling to England in 2005 to compete in
the World Archery Championship.
“Being 70 years old (at the time), I was really surprised to make it to
the World Championships!” he said.
About five years ago, an acquaintance who participated in a local
Wheelchair Curling workshop suggested Mr. Hidai try curling. He doubted
that he would be able to maneuver his wheelchair on ice at the age of
seventy, let alone compete against people forty or fifty years younger
than him, but now excels at it.
Takashi Hidai lost his daughter, whom he said constantly encouraged him
with a smile, nineteen years ago from cancer. She was only 28 years old
and had just became a mother.
He wishes she was still here to encourage him when he plays at the 2010
Paralympics in Canada next month.
"If I don’t have headache, I
didn’t think hard enough" - Perez 3/11/2010
Team USA's Augusto 'Goose' Perez says he
loves skipping. “It makes me think. If I don’t come off the ice with a
headache, I didn’t think hard enough,” he told Grant Granger of the
Abbotsford News. Read the article
The USA team trained at the Abbotsford CC at the invitation of Linda
Kirton, who will be taking the oath on behalf of the officials at the
Paralympic Opening Ceremony tomorrow evening.
Goose took (friendly) exception to my suggestion in the
Paralympic preview that he loves the hero shot.
"If we end up wih a tough shot either because of misses or errors in
game calling on my part, then i am ready to take responsibility. I have
always avoided the hero shot which may win you games but not
championships. The fact is that in the past by our own mistakes,
probably mostly in errors of mine in calling the game, we have found
ourselves in a spot to throw not the shot we wish but the one we had to.
One thing is right, if it needs to be thrown i don't shy away if that's
the only choice we see. Remember most heroes end up dead!"
Team Newfoundland & Labrador at
RE/MAX Centre tonight 3/11/2010
Joanne MacDonald, the onlu female
skipping a provincial team, will be demonstrating wheelchair curling at
the RE/MAX Centre, home of the St. John's CC, this evening.
Aileen Neilson's Paralympic
Team Great Britain's Aileen Neilson, who
throws 4th stones for skip Michael McCreadie, will be writing a diary
for the East Kilbride News.
"It was quite a surreal moment, but this was when I knew I had arrived
at the Paralympic Games.
Picking up my accreditation card for the Games was an amazing feeling
and when I saw my name on that card with the Paralympic emblem on it, I
knew I was ready to enjoy and savour every moment of my time in
Read the rest of the first instalment
HERE. Great Britain play Canada in the opening draw this Saturday
(March 13) and I know I'll be looking for that entry.
World Curling Federation media coverage of Paralympics 3/11/2010
The World Curling Federation will not
have their media person at the Paralympics. Joanna Kelly, who took over
from The Curling News' George Karys, is in Flims Switzerland covering
the World Juniors. Dan Field will be the WCF media person in Vancouver.
Here's their Paralympic Preview media release.
Paralympic preview and predictions 3/10/2010
Play begins at the 2010 Paralympic Games
on Saturday when host team Canada takes on the nine nations with the
best record over the past three World Championships. Japan, mostly on
the basis of a 5th place in 2007, replace China, late-comers to
international play, in the one change from the ten teams who competed at
the 2009 Worlds in the same venue.
Read my analysis of the teams and their prospects on the blog entry
where you can also view some photos and add your own predictions to the
Your support does make a
With the Paralympics and the Canadian
Nationals almost upon us, I've had several emails asking what I will be
doing for the benefit of those family and fans unable to attend the
Nothing's free, even if sometimes it feels that way. Had 10% of the
regular readership donated $10 at some point this season, Cate and I
would be going to Vancouver and giving you the insider perspective that
comes from painstakingly building relationships with the coaches and
players of all the countries, not just Canada.
So will we be covering the Nationals instead; after all they are taking
place just down the road?
That would just be a couple of hundred hours of Cate and my time. What's
that time worth to you?
If you'd like to express your appreciation for the past five years of
the website, and the past two years of the blog, click on the
button on the front page to send a donation in any amount
via Cate's PayPal account.
Armstrong hoping exposure will
boost sport 3/9/2010
"We'll probably enjoy a bit of spinoff
... and get some exposure that otherwise might have taken years to get.
And wheelchair curling is a very entertaining game, it truly is," Jim
Armstrong told the Canadian Press.
Read the full interview
Armstrong wins Sport BC Harry
Jerome Comeback award 3/8/2010
Sport BC today announced that Jim
Armstrong, skip of the reigning World Champion and defending Paralympic
Champion wheelchair curling team, has been awarded the Sport BC Harry
Jerome Comeback award.
"Each year the recipient embodies the qualities that make sport so
compelling,” said Rick Christiaanse, Executive Vice-President of Sport
BC. "Jim Armstrong is no exception. Throughout his athletic career,
Jim’s knowledge, sportsmanship and dedication to his sport have elevated
the level of both able-bodied and wheelchair curling.”
“We are proud to present him with this award as a tribute to his
The award will be presented March 31, 2010 at the 44th Annual Sport BC
Athlete of the Year Awards. Armstrong will be honoured for his long road
back to amateur sport alongside 19 other athletes, coaches, and
officials who represent BC’s best.
You can read full details of the announcement
Jim has known about the award for a couple of weeks, but asked me not to
publicise it. "I'm hoping they'll wait till after the Paralympics," he
told me, "so it won't be a distraction."
It may be a distraction, but it's certainly an honour.
Coverage of Paralympic
wheelchair curling 3/8/2010
Last year at the 2009 Worlds, Cate and I
live-blogged and reported every Canadian match. We were able to do that
because the CCA helped with our expenses.
We had hoped to do something similar at the Paralympics, but despite
approaching every possible source of funding, we were not able to cover
accommodation and on-site costs. A couple of offers of accommodation did
not materialise, so although we have media accreditation, it doesn't
look as though we will be attending Canada's defence of their Paralympic
The television consortium that covered the Olympics will be producing 25
hours of English language Paralympic programming, almost all devoted to
sledge hockey and an evening highlight show.
As far as I know, the only live media coverage of wheelchair curling
will be on
Paralympic Sport TV
The schedule is on a pdf document at
While it is personally disappointing not to be able to continue the work
we bagan at last year's Worlds and take advantage of the relationships
we established with athletes and coaches from all the teams, we can't
force perceptions of value where they don't exist.
The website and blog have been around just long enough for the service
they provide to be taken for granted. We have several thousand readers
every week, and no income.
So it goes.
Jim Armstrong "his sport and what
it's taught him about life" 3/8/2010
Canada skip Jim Armstrong tells the
Vancouver Sun's Yvonne Zacharias: "Yeah, I'm crippled."
Q: What have you learned about yourself and life from this journey?
A: Everybody in the program has their own story. Some have had
experiences most of us don't have to deal with in a lifetime. But the
silver lining is everybody leaves their ego at the door. You have that
common thread of how we got into that position of whatever disability it
is. There is that common bond. It just makes everybody that much closer.
Read the interview
Ina Forrest and
Sonja Gaudet talk about the Paralympics 3/7/2010
Team Canada 2nd Ina Forrest tells The
Vernon Morning Star these Games will mean so much more because her
family will be there to watch her. She relished having that experience
last year at worlds.
“It was fabulous to have your family attend and see what it is you do.
It makes it that much more exciting for yourself.”
Lead Sonja Gaudet says “The experience I had in Torino is a benefit for
me. Until I went there I didn’t know how I was going to react in those
(big game) situations.
“I’m pretty good at that anyway, blocking out distraction and using
distraction in a positive light. To me that’s all good.”
Read what else they had to say
Toronto Star - There's no hard and
fast rule for who can play 3/7/2010
Toronto Star reporter Daniel Girard re-works the "curling's healing
power" storyline covering Jim Armstrong's re-emergence from the ashes of
a career blighted by physical injury.
He also acknowledges controversy over how Jim gets around, "because,
unlike most other wheelchair sports, curling's international governing
body does not have a hard and fast rule for who qualifies."
WCF eligibility rules, or ambiguous written guidelines?
GB's McCreadie hints at retirement
Four years ago, just after Great Britain
saw the gold medal they had been favourites to win, flash away with
their last rock. skip Frank Duffy and 3rd Michael McCreadie announced
their retirement from competitive wheelchair curling.
Frank did quit, but Michael, who'll be 64 on March 16th, soon re-stoked
the competitive fires. Next week extends a Paralympic career that began
in the pool 38 years ago in ago in Heidelberg, Germany, and continued
with bowls, wheelchair basketball and now curling.
"It's good to know that talent is still there from way back then," he
told The Press Association's Matt McGeehan.
"(Vancouver gold) would be one of the greatest achievements of my career
and maybe a good time to say bye-bye."
Read the interview
Team Korea training in Mission,
The high demand for ice time shunted the
Korean team from their usual Richmond or New Westminster training sites,
inland to Mission BC this week, prior to the team moving into the
athlete's village over the weekend.
Moo Lee, a Canadian-Korean immigrant who has been helping Korean teams
train and compete in Canada, told
bclocalnews.com that the team was happy that not only were
Missionites hospitable and friendly, but their ice is up to the quality
that Olympians expect.
Watch USA train in Abbotsford
March 9 3/4/2010
Team USA will again be using the
Abbotsford Curling Club as a pre-competition training facility and will
hold an open practice session on Tuesday March 9 from 9am till 2 pm with
a short break for lunch.
"It's a big deal for our club," said Club Manager Tracy Sones, telling
Abbotsford News that the team had visited her club prior to the
World Championships last February.
Canadian wheelchair curlers win
Team Of The Year Award 3/3/2010
The Canadian wheelchair curling team was
named Team Of The Year after winning the 2009 World Championship.
The True Sport Foundation's award was presented at the 37th Canadian
Sports Awards, March 3rd in Toronto, recognising the country's top
amateur athletes. The winners were chosen by an independent jury and
were selected over the men’s IIHF world championship squad and the
national women’s water polo team.
Ina Forrest, Chris Sobkowicz and Team Leader Wendy Morgan attended the
Canada lead Sonja Gaudet to
carry torch 3/3/2010
The Canadian Paralympic Committee has
selected Team Canada lead Sonja Gaudet as one of 25 torch bearers to
take part in the Paralympic Torch Relay for the Vancouver 2010
Paralympic Winter Games.
"These individuals have been selected for their outstanding contribution
to the Paralympic Movement.
"Sonia Gaudet is on the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic wheelchair curling
team and is the only returning member of the Canadian team that struck
gold in Torino, Italy when wheelchair curling made its debut at the 2006
Paralympic Games. Since Torino, she has continued in her winning ways by
taking home a gold medal from the 2009 World Championships. She is an
ambassador with the Rick Hansen Foundation, the Canadian Paralympic
Committee, and VANOC, where she uses the power of sport and her
experience of overcoming challenges to motivate and inspire people of
HERE for full list
Wheelchair curling "so much
friendlier than regular curling" - Armstrong 3/3/2010
"Everybody is here after going through
their own personal difficulties," Armstrong, who was a dentist but
sounds like a fair psychologist, told The Vancouver Sun's Kent
Gilchrist. "They've been through some of life's reality, and egos are
checked at the door.
"It's so much friendlier than able-bodied curling."
Read the whole interview
The man behind Armstrong's
Canwest's Kent Gilchrist adds a twist to
the now familiar story of Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong's return to the
ice, suggesting Gerry Peckham, an old teammate and now CCA High
Performance Director, will deserve a medal for recruiting Armstrong to
"He may not be on the podium with Armstrong .. but he won't be far away
with a block-wide grin pasted on his face. For Peckham, who hooked up
with Armstrong to win back-to-back B.C. men's able-bodied titles in 1973
with Jack Tucker skipping and in '74 with Armstrong on the teeline, is
as responsible as anyone for getting Armstrong out of his easy chair and
into wheelchair curling."
Read the article
When it was announced that Jim would join the training squad, initially
as an on-ice consultant, Peckham expressed surprise that any Canadian
would object. Two year's later Peckham can indeed take credit for
persevering past initial eligibility doubts, and injecting 40+ years of
experience at skip, in a sport not yet a decade old.
USA's Jimmy Joseph hoping for
gold for daughter's birthday 3/2/2010
Jimmy Joseph told the Herkimer Evening
Telegram the Paralympic final falls on his daughter’s third birthday.
“Hopefully, I’ll be playing for a gold medal to bring her home as a
present,” he said.
Read the full profile HERE
Learn to curl in Austin, Texas 3/2/2010
Last weekend's Learn to Curl session at
the Chapparral Ice Center in Austin, Texas, brought out over 400 people,
so the club is holding another session Sunday March 7th at 9.30 am.
“I think there’s potential here just to try a sport that really works
for every age group or physical ability,” club member Janet Hunter told
The Daily Texan. “We have people curling from age 8 to 80, even
Read more about Austin’s Lone Star Curling Club.
Gary Cormack to talk about his
Torino gold medal 3/1/2010
Gary Cormack, who played second for Team
Canada 2005-2008 and won a gold medal at the 2006 Torino Paralympics, is
giving a talk about his journey to the podium.
The multimedia presentation for the whole family is at the Surrey (BC)
Museum on Saturday, March 6 from 1-2 p.m. Details
Cormack was drafted into the Chris Daw led team in 2005 when Ontario's
Bruce McAninch left the program. In addition to his Paralympic medal
he won a Canadian national title with Team Canada in 2006, and also
participated in the 2007 and 2008 World Championships.
He will skip the 2010 BC Hosts team at the Canadian Nationals in Kelowna
BC starting March 15th.
BBC Sport introduces GB's
professional wheelchair curlers 2/27/2010
The BBC sent a reporter to Stirling to
watch Team GB prepare for the Paralympics. As he mentions, curling is
the winter Olympic sport that captures the attention of the British
public, and after the struggles of the GB Olympic teams, the pressure
will be on the McCreadie rink, described as professional wheelchair
You can watch the video
In the video you can see them delivering from in front of the hack as
opposed to near the hogline. WCF rules say that the stone at delivery
played from between the hack and the top of the rings, must touch the
centre line. Stones played between the top of the rings and the hogline
can be up to (approx.) 6 inches from centre, the outer edge of the stone
within 18 inches of the centre line.
GB's McCreadie "quietly confident
of gold" 2/26/2010
Team Great Britain skip Michael McCreadie
told reporters assembled at the team send off celebration at their teams
home ice at Braehead: said, “We’re quietly confident of bringing home
the gold medals.”
Bob Cowan reports Michael saying: "If we play at our best we will be
a real handful for any country in the world .... The GB Paralympic teams
work just as hard all year round and prepare for our winter games just
as much as the competitors who are presently out in Vancouver for the
You can read the rest of Bob's report
Also a report from the
Though the GB team, all Scots, have as much experience and as many
medals as any team in the world, for the past two years they've been
undertaking what Tom Pendreigh their coach calls a "skill acquisition
project." This has included throwing from the top of the rings rather
than the near hogline.
Pendreigh expressed surprise when I contacted him last week at the
skepticism his project has provoked from those outside his program. He's
certain of its advantages and feels his team has overcome "expected and
managed" performance dips in the run up to the Paralympics.
GB plays Canada in the first draw, and a good result will give
McCreadie, who is still inexperienced at skip, all the confidence he
needs to reach the podium.
Wheelchair curling coming to New
The Canadian Paraplegic Association of
New Brunswick are working with the Fredericton Curling Club to introduce
wheelchair curling to the province.
"Several of our clients said, 'What about wheelchair curling?' New
Brunswick and P.E.I. are the only provinces in Canada that haven't
fielded wheelchair curling teams to the national championships. Our
clients were saying it would be nice to formally introduce it in New
Brunswick," the CPA's Haley Flaro told
The Daily Gleaner.
"When the Fredericton Curling Club moved into the coliseum, we now had a
relatively accessible rink. That was an opportunity to try and get
The give-it-a-go day is Saturday February 27.
Read the article for more information
Team GB putting on a demo Feb 24
at East Kilbride 2/22/2010
Team Britain will demonstrate their sport
at the East Kilbride Ice Rink, East Kilbride centre, on Wednesday 24
CLICK HERE for details.
Lessard sees off Victoria CC
challenge at Quebec Provincial 2/21/2010
Benoit Lessard skipped his Lennoxville CC
team to a sweep of the challengers from the Victoria CC in Quebec City.
He won the third match of the best of 5 series 11-4, settling down after
going behind 4-0 on steals in the first two ends.
The big end was again the downfall for Jean-François Sylvestre, who
allowed a steal of 5 in the 4th.
Lessard 0 0 1 5 1 2 2 X - 11
Sylvestre 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 X - 4
The Quebec champions round out the ten teams that will contest the
Canadian Nationals in Kelowna BC, March 15-21. It will be their second
appearance, after going a very respectable 3-6 in their rookie year.
Team GB enter and win Scottish
Team Great Britain, all Scots, were one
of ten teams competing in this weekend's Scottish Championship at
Aberdeen. They went unbeaten, stealing in the 5th and 6th to take the
final 7-2 against Jim Elliot. (thanks
Full results are
It was never a possibility that Team Canada would compete in a national
championship prior to the Paralympics, though Jim Armstrong, before his
latest injury, had told me he was open to competing in his provincial
championship had not the Nationals been forced to schedule at the same
time as the Paralympics.
Hosts Team Lessard 2-0 in best
of 5 Quebec Provincial 2/20/2010
Ben Lessard led his Lennoxville CC rink
to a 2 game lead in their best of 5 series against Jean-François
Sylvestre of the Victoria CC in Quebec City.
The Lennoxville team has only been
curling for a couple of seasons, but that experience showed in
comfortable 16-4 and 11-2 wins over the rookie visitors.
"The difference for our team was in not
giving up big ends," explained assistant coach Dan Janidlo. "The second
game was close until we scored 4 in the 7th."
Teams: Lennoxville - Benoit Lessard
(skip), Carl Marquis (3rd), Denis Grenier (2nd) and Johanne Daly (lead)
with Nicole Huberdeau (5th), coach Alfred Whittier assisted by Dan
Victoria CC - Jean-François Sylvestre
(skip), Michel Verreault (3rd), Allan Burridge (2nd), France Sévigny
(lead) with Maxime Aubé (5th), and coachesJacques Palasse, Pierre
Morneau and Jacques Deschênes.
Championship information can be found
Ottawa's Cameron wins Dominion
Ontario Championship 2/20/2010
Bruce Cameron's rink curling out of the
RA Curling Club brought Ottawa its first provincial title when he beat
three time champion Chris Rees from Toronto 8-3 in the final of the
Dominion Ontario Championship.
Cameron lost his third to surgery just before the event but steered his
side back from a 3-1 deficit after 2 ends to post four steals in an 8-3
Cameron 1 0 1 1 1 2 2 X 8
Rees 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 X 3
His win doubles the number of rookies (8 excluding alternates) slated to
appear at the Nationals in Kelowna BC, March 15-21, with the final team,
Quebec, to be decided tomorrow.
Full championship details can be found
Quebec holds first Provincial
Wheelchair curling in Quebec began at the
Lennoxville CC where Al Whittier, assisted by Daniel Janidlo moulded a
group of established athletes accomplished in other disciplines into a
team that represented their province for the first time in 2009.
This year a late challenge from Qubec City has meant that there will be
a Quebec provincial championship with the winner earning their passage
to the 2010 Nationals in Kelowna March 15-21.
The best of five matches series is scheduled for this weekend in
Lennoxville. Games times are Saturday February 20, 1pm and 4pm, and
Sunday 21st at 9am and if necessary noon and 3pm.
Rees crushes Gregory's hopes of
repeat Ontario title 2/19/2010
3-time Ontario champion Chris Rees
(Toronto) booked his place in the final of the 2010 Dominion Ontario
Provincials by beating defending champion Ken Gregory (Bradford) 10-1 in
the semi-final. Gregory, who had relied on a last end 4 in the morning's
last round robin draw to squeak into afternoon play, had no answer for
Rees, who took 2 in the first and then stole to 9-0 lead after 5 ends.
The Rees rink, with Carl Bax (3rd) Dal Wrigley (2nd) and Shauna Petrie
will hope to revenge an extra end round robin defeat, when they meet
Ottawa's Bruce Cameron in Saturday morning's final - 10.30 am at the
The semi-final loss will disappoint a team that had travelled to Utica
for the US Open (as did Bruce Cameron) to gain competition experience.
Frank Cannarella (3rd) will also lose his record of appearing in every
national championship, an achievement he shared with 2010 Team BC skip
Lines scores can be found
Final end 4 puts Gregory in
Ontario semi-final 2/19/2010
For most of the game it looked like
defending Ontario champion Ken Gregory would become entangled in a
three-way tie of 1-3 teams for third place in the Dominion Ontario
Provincials at the Collingwood CC this morning.
Down 5-3 after 6, he gave up a steal in 7 but then posted 4 in the final
end to give Ottawa's Bruce Cameron his first defeat 7-6. He closed with
a 2-2 record, good enough for this afternoon's 2 vs 3 semi-final against
Toronto's Chris Rees who beat Richard Fraser 9-4 to finish 3-1.
Cameron (3-1) went straight through to Saturday's final having stolen a
9-8 win over Rees in round robin play.
Final camp and exhibition
matches for Team Canada 2/18/2010
Team Canada have their final training
camp this weekend at the Richmond CC.
Their last tournament game was in December, but they have brought
invitees like Alberta's Jack Smart and Manitoba's Chris Sobkowicz into
camp to play alongside Jackie Roy and Bruno Yizek for practice sessions.
Last weekend they won 2 of 3 three matches against Whitney Warren's Team
This weekend I am told the Richmond CC has arranged games for Friday and
Saturday though I do not have details. The team will attend Friday
evening's Olympic women's draw.
for those looking for team news I have this from Team Leader Wendy
Team Canada is very excited about the upcoming Paralympic Games in
our home country!
We do not feel pressure to compete in Canada, we welcome that
opportunity as a rare privilege!
'Home field advantage' for us, will be having family and friends to
share this experience with...to celebrate the wins, have comfort after
losses and live support in the stands.
Team Canada has been focused on team building, refining strategies,
enhancing communication skills and technical tweaking for the last 2
We have had several practice games at our 2 January camps and our final
camp this weekend, in Richmond, will focus on final details of
competition and event readiness.
We recognize the presence of expectations...that is the reality of sport
at the highest level. The roster of countries and players competing in
2010 is one of experience, talent, and this 2010 field is very level.
Team Canada is healthy, anxious to play and most eager to put the Maple
Leaf on our backs!
Our primary goal is make the playoff round. Our focus however is one
game at a time.
We look forward to cheering on our Ladies and Men's Olympic teams this
week in Vancouver.
Go Canada Go!
I also had a lengthy and less general conversation with Coach Rea that I
will use in a future post.
Ottawa's Cameron through to
Dominion Provincial final 2/18/2010
Bruce Cameron's Ottawa rink rolled to a
third victory on Day 2 of the Dominion Ontario Provincials at the
Collingwood CC. beating Tpronto's Chris Rees 9-8 on a steal in an extra
end. At 3-0 he is assured of a first place finish in the 5 team round
robin, and will go straight through to the final.
Bradbury's defending champion Gregory lost to 2008 champion Rees 7-5 in
the morning draw but registered his first win in the afternoon, beating
Iderton's Claus 11-3. Claus beat Ottawa's Fraser in the other morning
game; his team's first ever competitive win.
Cameron plays Gregory in the final round robin draw with Gregory needing
a win to assure at least a tie-break. If Rees beats Fraser he'll go into
the 2 vs 3 semi-final. If Fraser and Gregory win tomorrow, there will be
a three way tie for second. If Cameron and Rees win there's a 3 way tie
for third. If Rees and Gregory win they'll face off again in the
Cameron vs Gregory
Rees vs Fraser
Standings after 4 draws
You can find line scores
Cameron takes early lead at
Dominion Ontario Provincials 2/17/2010
Bruce Cameron's Ottawa rink won both
their games on the opening day of the Dominion Ontario Wheelchair
Curling Championships at the Collingwood CC. Cameron, out of the RA
Curling Club beat fellow Ottawan Richard Fraser from the North
Greenville CC 9-6 in the morning draw despite giving up a steal of 4 in
the 3rd. In the afternoon Cameron posted a 14-1 win over Iderton's Lance
Cameron's rink suffered a blow when their third, Doug Morris. underwent
a scheduled back surgery yesterday. Jamie Eddy moved from second,
replaced by rookie Andre Beaudin, who has been practicing with Team
Cameron all season.
Eddy is in his fourth season of curling and the second on Team Cameron.
He represented Canada at sledge hockey in the Lillihammer and Nagano
Paralympics. He is legally blind and uses binoculars and a CCA approved
guide light to assist his accuracy.
Defending champion Ken Gregory lost his opening draw to Fraser 10-9,
after going behind by 6 after two ends. Fraser took 2 with hammer in the
eighth for the victory.
In the day's other game, Toronto's Chris Rees, the 2008 champion, beat
You can find team members and line scores
it would take a gun to keep me out
of the line-up now! - Armstrong 2/16/2010
Want the definitive word on Jim
Armstrong's injury status? The message is the same as already described
on the blog, but here it is, as requested, from Jim himself.
Thanks for inquiring about my health again. As we had discussed a few
weeks ago, I certainly did aggravate my surgerized left shoulder.
Ironically, I strained it lifting a box, because the shoulder was
actually feeling good enough, I actually forgot to be as careful as I
should. I had it medically assessed, and, given the time frame, further
surgical repair, even if needed, would be impractical, and would
certainly have taken me out of the Paralympics.
Fortunately, our Program now has on staff a tremendous physiotherapist,
Paige Larson. Paige has huge professional experience providing treatment
for Team Canada at a number of Olympic and Paralympic Games. I have been
getting treatment regularly, every two or three days, and I am certainly
improving week to week.
As you have indicated, I am struggling with everyday mobility, but it is
now more of an inconvenience than a threat to my ability to play. I know
it still looks worse than it is, since my neck tends to accommodate for
the shoulder tenderness, and I am now dealing with neck stiffness.
The entire team and staff are ready to rock, and it would take a gun to
keep me out of the line-up now!
All the best, and keep up the good work, Eric.
When I mentioned Jim's health to national team coach Joe Rae earlier
today, he said; "I'll shoot him if I catch him lifting heavy boxes
again before the Paralympics."
Had the team prepared for the possibility of Jim's absence? "We have
prepared for all eventualities, for the absence of any of our players.
And no, I'm not going to say what those plans are."
If I were Joe, neither would I.
Team Gregory looking beyond 2010 2/12/2010
Katie Paialunga, who plays second on Ken
Gregory's Bradford based Ontario championship team, admits to looking
beyond 2010, to the 2011 Nationals where she hopes the winner will be
declared Team Canada, breaking the current selection process.
“We’d like to win the provincial this year,” Paialunga trold
Dan Plouffe of the Orléans Star. “However, it’s not our overall
The next goal for the Gregory rink is to win a national title in 2011,
which would then lead to an appearance in the world championships. After
being passed over in favour of British Columbia-based individuals to
represent Canada at the 2010 Paralympics, the long-term goal Paialunga
holds is to compete in the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
“We’ve got another four years to get working on being the best team,”
Now she just has to help her team past four other competitors in
Ontario's Dominion Provincial Championships at Collingwood CC February
Top secret biomechanical
research aids TC shooting accuracy 2/12/2010
Team Canada's wheelchair curlers have
been part of a top secret research program out of the University of
Alberta that has been analysing and subsequently fine tuning delivery
motions using computer analysis of high speed photography.
Phys. Ed. lecturer Pierre Baudin said that the research on wheelchair
curling was significant because it had not been explored before.
“Probably the biggest impact we had was on the wheelchair curlers.
Nobody had ever done research on wheelchair curlers before and so we
were starting from scratch there and a lot of the things they were doing
were biomechanically incorrect [...] we changed a number of things for
all the curlers.”
Read the article
There's a lot that goes into a successfully thrown stone and certainly a
biomechanically efficient delivery is an important element. But so too
are being disciplined about where you place the stone, and the chair in
relation to the stone, and the broom in relation to the chair and the
stone, in addition to being able to regulate the speed of the throw when
contact with the stone is measured in fractions of a second.
Working out what motions best accommodate a particular wheelchair users
muscle set can help, and if the analysis breeds confidence, so much the
Armstrong injury update 2/12/2010
Several people have mentioned to me that
from their observation, Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong is carrying the
injury to his non-throwing shoulder with obvious discomfort. While there
has been no official comment from the team, my understanding is that the
injury is uncomfortable, and does affect his mobility, but is not
expected to be an issue as far as playing is concerned.
Jim is fortunate in that he can use his legs in addition to or in place
of his non-throwing arm, to brace his delivery.
Experienced users of manual wheelchairs know what a strain is placed on
shoulders. Throwing rocks from a chair compounds that strain. So it is
no great surprise that Jim, with body already worn from decades of
sweeping, may be feeling pain, particularly if he felt the need to play
catch-up in training after being inactive after last year's shoulder
surgery and car accident.
Though Canada would prefer a fully fit Armstrong throwing fourth stones,
his major contribution to the team is not the ability to throw takeout
weight. Were his injury to worsen, they could easily let him skip from
lead. Were that to happen though, would they just move Sonja, Ina and
Darryl up the order, or would they bring in Bruno at third and sit
And who would skip were Jim not able to play? Canadians, especially the
coaches, hope these questions will never need answers, but what would
Canada's only female skip bringing
her team to Halifax 2/8/2010
Newfoundland & Labrador's provincial team
will play a series of exhibition games at the Halifax CC this weekend,
February 13-14, against Team Nova Scotia. Both teams finished at 3-6 at
last year's Nationals in Nova Scotia.
Newfoundland & Labrador lost their skip when Chris Daw relocated to
Vancouver, so Joanne MacDonald steps up from 3rd and will become the
first woman to skip a provincial side. Darlene Jackman, Lanie Woodfine
and Felix Green all return from last year's rookie provincial squad.
Team Nova Scotia have added Debbie Earle to last year's team, and the
exhibitions will be their first opportunity to compete as a provincial
Games are at 9am and 1pm on February 13th, and 11am and 3.30pm on the
Team Canada finalists for True
Sport Foundation's Team of the Year 2/7/2010
Team Canada are one of three finalists
for the True Sport Foundation's award of Team of the Year, to be
presented at the 37th Canadian Sports Awards, March 3rd in Toronto.
They are up against the men’s IIHF world championship squad and the
national women’s water polo team.
“The annual Canadian Sport Awards is the ideal time to honour our
amateur athletes,” said Victor Lachance, executive director of the True
Sport Foundation. “It will be a great way to cap off the thrill of the
Vancouver 2010 Olympics and get revved up for the Paralympic Games.”
Read the press release
Meet the new champs, same as the
old champs 2/7/2010
It was deja vu all over again in Edmonton
and Kenora as Jack Smart and Wayne Ficek successfully defended their
Smart's Calgary rink, with Anne Hibberd and Bridget Wilson maintaining
their record of making every Alberta provincial team, beat Edmonton's
Cliff Nuspl 11-2, completing a tournament where they averaged 8 point
winning margins in their 5 games.
It was a much tighter affair in Kenora, where local favourite Ficek
faced Thunder Bay's Carl Levesque, 7-4 winner over Dawid in Saturday's
semi-final. It was a back and forth game with Levesque stealing an early
lead but being held to a single with hammer in the 8th, forcing an extra
In the extra the play was in the four foot with Ficek second Chester
Draper drawing to the top of the 4, and Thunder Bay's Ron Brunelle
playing a tap back. Ficek 3rd Mark Wherrett drew to the four foot but
Levesque, facing two, put his last rock in the four foot just behind the
t-line to sit shot.
Ficek, with his last rock, drew down to it to win by a measurement.
Final score 7-6.
0 2 0 3 0 1 0 1 - 7
Levesque 1 1 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 - 6
Alberta and N. Ontario Provincials
Day 2 2/6/2010
In Edmonton, Jack Smart finished round
robin play with a 13-3 defeat of Edmonton's Donaldson in just 6 ends at the Alberta Provincials. Nuspal beat Keith
12-3 in 7 ends setting up an all Calgary (Smart and Keith) and all
Edmonton (Donaldson and Nuspl) semi-final.
Both semi-finals ended in early 6th end handshakes, as Smart beat Keith
14-1 and Nuspl beat Donaldson 9-1, setting up a north vs. south final,
12.30pm at the Jasper Place CC.
In Kenora, Wayne Ficek beat Richard Dawid 6-3 to advance to Sunday's N.
Ontario provincial final against the winner of the Levesque/Dawid
semi-final. Results will be posted
Alberta and N. Ontario Championships
Current champion Wayne Ficek took 6 in
the 3rd end of a 9-3 victory playing Thunder Bay's Carl Levesque on home
ice in the opening draw of the Shoppers Home Healthcare 2010 N. Ontario
Championship at the Kenora CC.
Levesque had a chance to get back on track in the evening draw, facing
fellow Fort William curler Richard Dawid. Steals in end 3, 4 and 5 saw
him cruise to a comfortable 11-2 win.
Results will be posted
Wayne Ficek - Skip, Mark Wherrett 3rd, Chester Draper 2nd, Cindy
Hoffstrom & Denise Miault alternate at lead, Tom Wherrett - Coach
Carl Levesque - Skip, Ron Brunelle 3rd, Rick Bell 2nd, Sharon LaFroye -
lead, David Kawahara - Coach
Richard Dawid - Skip, Gino Sonego 3rd, Terry Lynch 2nd, Linda Kontunen -
lead, Mike Bergquist - Coach
In the Alberta Championship at the Jasper Place CC, Edmonton,
defending champion Jack Smart beat Edmonton's Nuspl 8-3 in the opening
draw, and fellow Calgarian Keith was doubled up by Edmonton's Donaldson
In Draw 2 it was Smart over Keith 14-2 and Nuspl over Donaldson 8-4.
Jack Smart - Skip, Anne Hibberd 3rd, Martin Purvis 2nd. Bridget
Wilson - Lead
Tony Zummack - Coach
Dale Keith - Skip, Bruce Matthews 3rd, Ron Pawlyk 2nd, Wanda Pizzinato -
Lead, Curtis Junor - Alternate, Glen Brunelle - Coach
Cliff Nuspl - Skip, Warren Fleury 3rd, Mike McMullan 2nd, Shawna Walsh -
Romeo Johnson - Alternate, David Jerke - Coach
Don Donaldson - Skip, Doug MacEachern 3rd, Don Munroe 2nd, Bonna Gerlitz
- Lead, Marie Laframboise - Alternate, Wanda Crawford - Coach
Championship weekend for Alberta
and N. Ontario 2/4/2010
Two teams from Calgary will travel to
Edmonton's Jasper Place CC to challenge two Edmonton teams for Alberta's
Provincial Championship. Jack Smart's Calgary champions make one forced
change. Last year's 5th, Martin Purvis, replaces Bruno Yizek who'll be
on Team Canada duty during the Nationals. They'll play with the
confidence of knowing that they have represented their province at every
national championship, coming within a whisker of gold in 2009.
The second Calgary team has Dale Keith at skip, Bruce Matthews at third,
with rookies Ron Pawlyk at second, Wanda Pizzinato at lead and Curtis
Junor as the alternate.
This will be Keith's third appearance at the Provincial Championship,
his first as Skip. Matthews is also making his third appearance at this
event. The team is Coached by Glen Brunelle, Coordinator of the Calgary
Wheelchair Curling Association.
The Shoppers Home Healthcare 2010 N. Ontario Championship sees 2009
champion Wayne Ficek fielding an unchanged team, as his Kenora club
hosts Thunder Bay rivals Carl Levesque and Richard Dawid from the Fort
William CC. These three teams have just returned from the Ontario
Parasport Winter Games, where Levesque took silver and Ficek took
Team USA works with non-profits
to boost adaptive curling 2/3/2010
Team USA is based at the Utica CC and
works closely with SITRIN (Success Through Adaptive Recreation and
Sports) which has joined forces with The Central Association for the
Blind and Visually Impaired, and United Cerebral Palsey to raise funds
to enable all their patients curl.
USA Team Leader Marc DePerno, a SITRIN employee, told the Utica Daily
News curling has become a competitive sport for some, but it's also a
fun and dynamic rehabilitation tool.
"First and foremost," DePerno said, "it's about collaboration --
friendships, getting out and about; adaptive sports provide an avenue
for you to improve your quality of life and self esteem, and make
friendships. It's a chance to excel in an area of life you didnt realize
you could, and when a person comes to try it, they usually get hooked."
Physically, adaptive curling is excellent, too, DePerno said.
"The great thing is, it does not require as much physical mobility as
other adaptive sports," DePerno pointed out. "Curling basically opens
the door to a whole other area of disabilities."
Read the whole article.
USA's McDonald has another
chance to represent his country 2/3/2010
Californian Patrick McDonald, the only
Team USA curler not competing out of the Utica CC, is profiled
What’s the coolest thing about being a Paralympian?
“I get to represent our country again,” says the patriot, who served as
a Cavalry Scout 19 Delta from 1989 to 1992.
Karen Blachford named as 2010 RBC
Karen Blachford, a member of the original
Team Canada and who retired from the national squad after winning a gold
medal at the 2006 Torino Paralympics, has been chosen by the Royal Bank
of Canada to be a 2010 Olympian.
Their website description of the program: "The RBC Olympians program
hires both Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes as community
ambassadors who bring Olympic messages of excellence and leadership to
Athletes are provided with the opportunity to gain valuable skills that
will help them prepare for life after sport, while also receiving
much-needed funding to help them realize their Olympic and Paralympic
CLICK HERE for details of her citation.
Whitney Warren skips to BC
provincial title 1/31/2010
Prince George's Whitney Warren, one of
only two players to have appeared in every National Championship, will
this year skip the defending national champions on home ice. His team of
Frank LaBounty (3rd), Gerry Austgarden and rookie lead Allison Duddy
beat Gary Cormack 7-1 in the final of the three team championship.
Cormack, with Rich Green, Vince Miele and Corrine Jensen blanked the
first three ends before taking their single point at the half-time
break. Warren scored two in the fifth, stole one in the sixth and made
it handshake time with a steal of four in the seventh.
Both teams will compete in Kelowna at the Nationals, March 15-21, with
Cormack's team playing as BC Hosts to round out a ten team field.
It is worth noting that both Warren and LaBounty are quads who use power
chairs. They have also won gold at the previous three national
championships, twice with Jim Armstrong at skip and in 2007 with Darryl
Full provincial championship details
sweep in Perth 1/31/2010
Norway finished the final pre-Paralympic
tournament with a six game sweep against major opposition in Perth,
Scotland. The beat Great Britain, Sweden, Germany and Switzerland and
two Scots development teams.
The final table is
Though Norway's new coach Per Christensen has not officially announced
his Paralympic team, it appears from
Bob Cowan's photos of the event that the team may be the one that
competed at the 2009 Worlds.
advances to final of BC provincial 1/30/2010
Paralympian gold medalist Gary Cormack's
CVCG Avengers, with Rich Green (3rd) Vince Miele and Corrine Jensen
advance to the final of the BC Provincials after beating Whitney Warren
and Cyril Kinatkin in the three game round robin.
Whitney, with fellow multiple National Champion teammate Frank LaBounty
(3rd), Torino gold medalist Gerry Austgarden and rookie Allison Duddy
will face Cyril Kinatkin in a semi-final.
The semi-final is at 10am and the final at 2pm Sunday January 31. The
losing finalist will become the BC Host Team.
Results can be found
Team Canada coach Joe Rea talks
to his hometown paper 1/30/2010
Team Canada coach Joe Rea tells Jason
Peters of the Prince George Citizen that coaching the national team has
fulfilled the dream of wearing a Team Canada jacket that eluded him as a
"To have this opportunity to go to a Paralympics in your own country and
represent your country is the biggest honour I'll ever have," he said.
Read the interview
Norway pull ahead of strong
Paralympic field 1/30/2010
Norway posted two more wins against
Paralympic contenders on the second day of competition at Perth,
Scotland. The defeated Sweden 6-4 and Gemany 7-6. They also beat
Scotland I 6-4 to end the day 5-0, two games ahead of Great Britain
Results can be found
Norway start strong at season's
last pre-Paralympic spiel 1/29/2010
Five national teams and a couple of
Scottish development squads are competing at the Dewar's Centre in
Perth, playing alongside teams competing for the Scottish Ladies'
Norway started well, beating Scotland II
9-7 and then Great Britain 6-4. Their coach, Per Christensen, who has
yet to officially announce his Paralympic side, had said he didn't want
his team to peak too early and Norways performances too date have been
patchy. But they have been the side that Canada has found difficult to
beat when it mattered.
Great Britain straddled their loss with
comfortable wins over Scotland I and Scotland II, with Aileen Neilson
reportedly throwing fourth stones.
In other matches, Sweden beat Switzerland
6-3 while Scotland I overcame Scotland II 6-4. Results can be
Using the Paralympics to
publicise the sport 1/28/2010
Team GB third Aileen Neilson gave an
extended interview to
Paul Thomson of the East Kilbride News. She talks about her life
before her disability, how she came into wheelchair curling, how she has
prepared for Vancouver and her hopes for success.
Scots curlers, who make up the Great Britain team, are generously
financed by the government and appear to see publicity as part of their
responsibility to the sport. I have recently linked to articles
mentioning every member of their team.
Team USA also feature regularly in the press and media, as the USA
curling authorities understand that the national team is their best
advertisement for increasing participation. Again I have linked to
articles on all the team.
Canada has instituted a pre-Paralympics media protocol explicitly
discouraging informal press (including me) contact with team members,
and insisting that all requests for interviews be cleared with a "media
liason officer." Standard procedure. apparently, but just one reason why
you'll find so little information about the team on this blog, or read
mainstream media stories covering anything other than Jim Armstrong's
phoenix-like rise from the ashes of a ruined able-bodied curling career.
Team Canada, also funded by public money, should be doing everything in
their power to court publicity, realising that often means not only
going out of their way to contact media with stories, but supplying
journalists, notoriously lazy, with material.
Instead they issue no press releases, or invitations to watch the team
prepare. They don't train in different locales while inviting local
curlers to interact with the team, which would attract local TV.
You can call it necessary focus, and claim that gold in Vancouver wipes
away all objections, but making a two year campaign solely about winning
a gold medal puts everything in just one basket, and we can only hope
it's a sturdy one.
To be successful a sport has to make its audience care about the
participants. If all Canadians are asked to care about is a gold medal,
then it's a disaster getting anything less. But more, once the
competition is over, people will stop caring, and that's no way to
nuture a sport and provide for the future.
USA skip in "I compete clean" TV
anti-doping campaign 1/28/2010
Team USA skip Augusto Perez, and his
photogenic family, are part of the US Anti-Doping Agency's latest media
See blog for video.
Premier championnat provincial
de curling en fauteuil roulant
Curling Québec est fier d’annoncer la
tenue de son premier championnat provincial de curling en fauteuil
roulant qui sera présenté les 20 et 21 février prochain sur les glaces
du club de curling Lennoxville, dans la région de l’Estrie.
Le directeur général de Curling Québec ne cache pas son enthousiasme
face à cette annonce : « Nous sommes particulièrement excités d’assister
à ce moment historique du curling au Québec. La plupart de nos
championnats provinciaux existent depuis plusieurs années, certains
datent du début du siècle dernier. Par contre, de vivre la première
édition d’un événement qui perdurera dans le temps demeure quelque chose
de spécial ».
« L’an dernier, nous avons identifié et envoyé pour la première fois une
équipe du Québec au Championnat canadien de curling en fauteuil roulant.
Cette année, cette équipe devra remporter le titre québécois pour
mériter ce privilège » mentionne M. Berthelot.
Précisons que l’équipe championne représentera le Québec au Championnat
canadien de curling en fauteuil roulant qui sera présenté du 16 au 21
mars à Kelowna en C.-B.
La directrice générale de l’Association québécoise de sports en fauteuil
roulant (AQSFR), Mme José Malo, applaudit cette initiative : « Le
curling est un sport inscrit au Jeux Paralympique d’hiver et gagne a
être connu puisqu’il peut être pratiqué par la majorité des personnes en
fauteuil roulant. Il a été important pour nous de supporter les clubs
qui ont initié cette pratique au Québec. Je tiens aussi à souligner le
dynamisme et la grande réceptivité de Curling Québec dans ce mouvement.
Grâce à ce travail d’équipe cet événement deviendra une tradition
Pour la première édition, deux équipes s’affronteront dans une série 3
de 5. L’équipe qui a représenté le Québec l’année dernière au
championnat canadien et aussi représentante du Club de curling
Lennoxville est composée du capitaine Benoit Lessard, Carl Marquis (3e),
Denis Grenier (2e), Johanne Daly (1ère) et Nicole Huberdeau (5e). Cette
équipe est entraînée par le duo formé d’Alfred Whittier et Dan Janidlo.
Ils seront opposés à l’équipe représentante du Club de curling Victoria
(Québec), formée de Jean-François Sylvestre (capitaine), Michel
Verreault (3e), Allan Burridge (2e), France Sévigny (1ère) et Maxime
Aubé (5e). Leurs entraîneurs sont Jacques Palasse, Pierre Morneau et
Les parties débuteront le samedi 20 février à 13h. La cérémonie
d’ouverture sera présentée à 11h et pour l’occasion, nous procéderons au
dévoilement du trophée qui sera présenté à l’équipe championne à la fin
de cette compétition.
Rick Mercer curls from a
Canadian comedian Rick Mercer filmed a
segment on wheelchair curling shown on Canadian TV last year.
For those who missed it, you can
view it on our blog
No change in WCF attitude to
powered wheelchairs 1/27/2010
When issues concerning wheelchair curling
arise at the World Curling Federation, the executive looks to their
vice-President Kate Caithness, for guidance. Wheelchair curling is very
much "her baby.'
To see how closely and emotionally involved she is, you have only to
Autumn 2009 issue of Paralympian Magazine
(pdf). Without her,
not only would wheelchair curling not be standing on a world stage; it
is doubtful that Canadian wheelchair users would be playing at all.
The CCA created a team so that Canada would be represented at the World
Championships. Then BC, under Linda Moore, were determined that Ontario
wheelchair curlers, who made up the original team, would not go
unchallenged so CurlBC spent money to create a team. Eight years later
we have eight provinces and nine provincial teams, represented at our
own national championships.
So we owe Kate Caithness a debt of gratitude for pushing the sport into
existence. Her latest project has been to re-examine eligibility and
assessment procedures that may bring even more participation.
Which makes it all the more puzzling why the WCF stands by its
recommendation that powered wheelchairs be banned from WCF sponsored
competition, including World Championships and the Paralympics.
Here is a link to my January Wheelchair
Watch (Issue 4) column which outlines the issues as I see them.
GB's Jim Sellar to retire if
successful in Vancouver 1/27/2010
Team Great Britain's Jim Sellar, the
likely fifth in Vancouver, told the Bellshill Speaker that he will
retire from competitive sports if successful in Vancouver. Sellar (53),
who is also a champion bowler, has curled for nine years and has
represented Scotland at five World Championships, winning gold in 2004.
Read the article
Gregory takes gold at Ontario
Parasport Winter Games 1/24/2010
Ken Gregory's Bradford rink rebounded
from a morning final round robin draw defeat by beating Thunder Bay's
Carl Levesque in an extra end of the gold medal tie-break game at the
Ontario Parasport Winter Games at the Kingston CC.
Gregory went out to an early 5-0 lead with a steal of 4 in the second,
but gave back a steal of 3 in the fourth. Levesque took 2 in the eighth
to force the extra, but conceded a single to lose 8-7 to the far more
experienced Bradford team.
Levesque 0 0 3 1 0 1 0 2 0 - 7
Gregory 1 4 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 - 8
Team Gregory will now be favourites to repeat as Ontario Champions at
the Provincials February 17-20 at the Collingwood CC.
In sign of maturing sport, 7 of
9 provinces hold playdowns 1/23/2010
Nine provinces have agreed to send teams
to the Canadian Nationals taking place in Kelowna, BC from March 15-21,
the same dates as the Paralympics.
It had been hoped to have 10 provincial teams, but PEI
made a late decision to wait another year before competing. BC will
supply an additional "host" team to make up the numbers as happened last
year in Nova Scotia.
In a very positive sign of the maturing of the competitive side of the
sport, seven of the nine have held or will be holding playdowns to
choose their representatives. Team Saskatchewan were chosen last
December, but Team Sobkowicz in Manitoba and Team Fitzgerald in Nova
Scotia have already won their berths.
Team formation in BC has been limited by the three females remaining
after Sonja Gaudet and Ina Forrest made Team Canada and three-time gold
medalist Jackie Roy, who trained with the national team, chose to stay
in Vancouver to support them. Three teams compete for the two slots at
the Juan de Fuca Centre, January 29 - 31. Ex-Canada teammates Gary
Cormack and Gerry Austgarden will be opponents, though neither will
skip. Teams are
HERE and draw details
Alberta are holding a four team round robin with playoffs February 5-7
in Edmonton at the Jasper Curling Club. Two teams will be from Calgary
and two from Edmonton. Calgary's Jack Smart came within an inch of
taking the title from BC at the 2009 Championship, but this year will be
without Bruno Yizek who'll most likely be bench warming in Vancouver.
Anne Hibberd, who was unable to play last year, steps in at 3rd while
Martin Purvis continues at 2nd.
Curling in Quebec has been centred on the Lennoxville CC, but they
received a late provincial challenge from the Victoria CC in Quebec
City. Lennoxville will host a playdown February 20-21. They will hope to
have their skip, Ben Lessard back from the serious injuries he sustained
in a water-skiing accident last summer. He'll play with Denis Grenier
and Carl Marquis. Competition for the two female slots will be decided
at a try-out session between Johanne Daly, Johanne Poulin and Nicole
Kenora hosts Northern Ontario's three team playdown February 5-7, with
local Provincial Champion Wayne Ficek hoping to again upset the Fort
William CC's Team Levesque and Team Dawid from Thunder Bay.
Ontario have avoided the angst of last year by agreeing not to penalise
areas supporting more than one team.This year the OCA agreed to allow
participation up to the total team limit allowed regular curlers; so
five teams will compete at the Collingwood CC from February 17-20.
Bradford's 2009 Provincial Champion Ken Gregory will face Toronto's
Chris Rees, Ottawa's Bruce Cameron and Richard Fraser, and Ilderton's
Lance Claus, skipping a rookie squad coached by Ernie Comerford, who
jump-started wheelchair curling in Alberta.
Chris Daw commenting from the
The Vancouver Sun's Lyndon Little, in an
interview posted on Kelowna.com, talks to ex-Team Canada skip Chris Daw
about his new life as manager of the Vancouver CC and his thoughts on
Canada's Paralympics prospects.
Little writes that Daw insists the last thing he wants to do is to put
any undue pressure on the team wearing the Maple Leaf.
"All I'm saying is that I feel this team has every opportunity to hit
the podium," assesses Daw. "Having been there before, my advice is they
can do it as long as they keep their energy levels up and that their
focus on the process remains level. They can't afford to look at the
prize before they have it."
Read the full article
PEI sponsoring another
wheelchair curling clinic 1/23/2010
The PEI Curling Association is sponsoring
a free demonstration and workshop at the
Community Curling Club on Sunday January 31. A similar event was
held in December, but the inclement weather kept many people from
attending. It is hoped that representatives from all PEI curling clubs
can attend these sessions.
The wheelchair curling demonstration will be held from 10.00am-1.00pm.
Those interested in participating should contact
Gayle Johnston at 902-368-1071.
“We are delighted to be able to put on this workshop and clinic,” said
Gayle Johnston, Technical Coordinator for the PEI Curling Association.
“We encourage anybody who uses a wheelchair, to come out and see what it
is all about. Curling is the most social of sports, and disability
should be no barrier to participating and having fun.”
PEI had hoped to field a provincial team at this year's Nationals, but
have decided till 2011.
Final international during
Scottish Men's Championships 1/23/2010
Bob Cowan reminds me that Great Britain will host the final
international spiel before the Paralympics when they share the ice with
the Scottish Men's Championships at the Dewar's Centre in Aberdeen.
Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Norway will compete in the seven team
field that includes two teams from the Scottish Wheelchair Curling
Association's performance pool.
The wheelchair event begins January 29th and you can find the draw
GB 3rd Aileen Neilson is interviewed in the East Kilbride News
Team Gregory 4-0 at Ontario
Parasport Winter Games 1/23/2010
Ken Gregory's Bradford rink is leading
the six team field at the Ontario Winter Games. With one draw to play
they have a 4-0 record, and having already beaten Carl Levesque's 3-1
Thunder Bay squad, look set to take home gold regardless of the outcome
of tomorrow's draw. They play Kenora's Wayne Ficek, and may be looking
for some revenge after the 13-0 drubbing the were handed in a tie-break
at he 2009 Nationals.
2010 Ontario Parasport Winter
Games - Jan 22-24 1/19/2010
The Royal Kingston CC is hosting the
curling component of the 5 sport 2010 Ontario Paasport Games from
January 22-24. Six teams wil be competing: Ficek (Kenora), Levseque and
Dawid (Thunder Bay), Rees (Toronto), Gregory (Bradford) and Cameron
The first draw of the round robin event is 10am Friday Jan. 22 with the
final scheduled for 2.30pm Sunday Jan. 24. Tie-breaks will only be held
in the event of a tie for gold.
The complete Games schedule can be found
HERE. Results wll be posted on the Ontario Curling Association's
(The Nordic skiing has been cancelled because of lack of snow.)
Team Fitzgerald win Nova Scotia
Team Fitzgerald beat Team Brown 3-1 in a best of 5
series at the Lakeshore CC today to become Team Nova Scotia.
The series was tied at one overnight, but Fitzgerald stole one for a 5-4
win in an extra end in Draw 3 and, up one without the hammer in the 6th
and final end of Draw 4, stole 2 to win 7-4.
Mike Fitzgerald, Laughie Rutt and Trendall Hubley-Bolivar, who all
played in the 2009 Nationals, will be joined by rookie Debbie Earle at
the Nationals in Kelowna March 15-21.
Four sport Paralympian Tom
Killin profiled 1/16/2010
Tom Killin, expected to play second on
Team Great Britain in Vancouver, began his Paralympic career at Arnhem
in 1980. Now 59, he has competed in four Olympic sports at the games
over a 30-year period, including basketball, fencing and table tennis.
"It takes you right round the world, you see some amazing places" Tom
told Adam Morris. "I'm away somewhere every month, it's a full-time job
Read the complete profile
Team Great Britain officially
The Royal Caledonian CC, the governing
body of British curling, announced a familiar five names as the official
Team Great Britain. Michael McCreadie will skip an all Scot squad that
includes two other members of the team that suffered the heartbreak loss
to Canada in Turin., Angie Malone and Tom Killin. They are joined by
Aileen Neilson who took a leave of absence from her teaching job to
train ful-time, and Jim Sellar who has attended four World
Said Michael McCreadie: "It is an honour for me to Skip the British team
at the Paralympics in Vancouver. I make up 20% of the playing Team and
there are four others who are truly world class performers. We have
worked extremely hard to get back into winning ways, with the results
from this year's tour clearly indicating we are on the right track.
Preparations have gone really well and we plan in the next nine weeks to
hone ourselves into a formidable adversary ready to take on the rest of
Read the official announcement
Curling is expanding in the San
Francisco Bay area 1/16/2010
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that
curling is coming to downtown Oakland. The San Francisco Bay Area
Curling Club is expanding beyond San Jose and Fremont, with a curling
Open House at the Oakland Ice Centre on January 30th.
It being California, the rocks are cooled before use.And with one of the
largest populations of young and active physically disabled people
living in neighbouring Berkeley, there's lots of candidates for
Curling began with mostly Canadians, but now it's mostly locals with
plans to get local High Schools involved. Read the whole article
"Don't hold back," says Team USA
skip 'Goose' Perez 1/16/2010
Action Online, the magazine of the United
Spinal, includes Team USA's Augusto Perez in a group of athletes asked
to talk about their outlook on life. As befitting his style of play on
the ice, Goose is forthright and positive.
“The first thing is to get over the idea that people look at you because
of the chair or any other device. People got better things to do than to
worry about how we look, and if they do it is their problem not yours,”
Read the rest of his refreshing outlook on life
Fitzgerald tied after first day of NS playdown 1/16/2010
Two three man teams are playing a best of
five series to decide who claims Debbie Earle and represents Nova Scotia
at the Nationals in Kelowna. [see 1/7/2010 post below]. In draw 1 it was
Fitzgerald 8-2, with reuslts reversed in the evening as Brown won 7-3.
There will be two draws Sunday (17th) and a decider Friday January 22 if
CLICK HERE for Ian Readey's photos of the day's play.
Team Sobkowicz takes Manitoba
Chris Sobkowicz will represent Manitoba
for the fifth time at the CanadianNational in Kelowna, March 15-21, after
defeating Richard Dudek in a best of three playdown at the East St. Paul
Curling Club. He made one change from the 2009 team, George Horning
replacing Michael Alberg. Alberg played for
the challengers, with Don Kalinsky and Effie Loubardias.
Manitoba are an experienced side and will
be favoured to improve on the bronze medals they won at the previous two
Nationals; especially with with BC losing JIm Armstrong and Alberta
losing Brno Yizek to the Paralympics.
Italy take the 2010 Identa Cup
Andrea Tabanelli skipped Team Italy to a
6-0 record to win Germany's 2010 Identa Cup. Italy was one of two
Paralympic teams in the seven team field. Jens Jager's Germany finished
4th with a 3-2-1 record.
At the 2009 Worlds Italy lost their opening draw to Germany, but then
won four consecutive matches, including a 9-5 defeat of Canada, before
fading to a 4-5 record overall.
HERE for full line scores and the final table.
Nova Scotia playdown winner gets
Making wheelchair curling a mixed gender
sport was, according to WCF VP Kate Caithness, a key selling point in
the campaign to join Paralympic Games. Recruiting female curlers,
however, has been a struggle in Canada.
Nova Scotia came up with a creative solution by having a two team 3 on 3
playdown with the winner claiming Debbie Earle, the lone female, as
their fourth member.
The playdown will be best of five games played January 16 and 17, and 22
if necessary at the Lakeshore CC in Lower Sackville, site of the 2009
Team (Richard) Brown has Terry Cousineuau and Keith Williams and Team
(Michael) Fitzgerald has Laughie Rutt and Trendal Hubley-Bolivar.
The Lakeshore CC program has been going a few years now and has an
active core of players who participate in regular league play and also
the stick curling league. A new group is getting started at the Halifax
CC, meeting on Sunday afternoons at 3.30 and supported by the Canadian
Paraplegic Association. For more information contact
Team Saskatchewan selected
The five person team that will represent
Sakatchewan at the 2010 National Championship in Kelowna next March has
been selected. There is one change from the 2010 team, with Terry Hart
replacing Calvin Bird.
The team: Del Huber (Regina) Gil Dash
(Wolseley) Marie Wright (Moose Jaw) Darwin Bender (Regina) and Terry
Hart (Regina). The team will again be coached by Lorraine Arguin (Moose
Jaw) assisted by Bob Capp (Regina).
Official Team Canada profiles online
Did you know that Darryl Neighbour has 13 siblings? Find out more about
the Team Canada members on the Canadian Paralympic Comittee's website.
Jim Armstrong -
Darryl Neighbour -
Ina Forrest -
Sonja Gaudet -
Jim Armstrong interviewed on Shaw
Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong gave an
interview to an old friend, Fanny Keifer of Vancouver's Studio 4 Shaw
Cable broadcast. Sitting in a regular studio chair, he talked about his
transition to wheelchair curling, how strategy in the wheelchair game is
different from regular curling, and stumbled into describing eligibility
for wheelchair curling in terms of what the rules may become next April.
You can watch the 14 minute interview
2010 Identa Cup
in Schwenningen, Germany January 8-10
Jens Jäger's Team Hunters, who will
represent Germany at the Vancouver Paralympics, are hosting the 2010
Identa Cup in Schwenningen, January 8-10.
Seven teams will compete, including
squads from Switzerland, Italy and the Czech Republic. The draw is
Curl at the Callie
Things may be looking up for wheelchair
users in Saskatchewan as I have been contacted twice since Christmas by
people involved in promoting the sport.
At the moment activity is centred on the
Callie CC in Regina and wheelchair users have ice time on Monday
afternoons. Darwin Bender and Del Huber of
Saskatchewan, who finished a very creditable 4-5 in their first
appearance at the Canadian Nationals in 2009, are part of a wheelchair
team that plays in an Open League Wednesday evenings.