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Welcome from the Organizing Committee

On behalf of the Cashspiel organizing committee I would like to welcome you to the Okanagan International Wheelchair Cashspiel to be held at the Kelowna Curling Club on March 19 - 20, 2005, and to wheelchaircurling.com.

Whether you are here as an athlete, a volunteer or as someone curious to know more about wheelchair curling we hope that you will find the information you need.  Use the menus at the top or bottom of every page to navigate the site.

This Cashspiel marks a coming of age for wheelchair curling. Not only is it the first event to offer prize money, it has been organized entirely by local volunteers and financed by local sponsors. Wheelchair curling has grown a lot in the two years or so since dedicated CurlBC coaches first organized give-it-a-go days at clubs in the lower mainland, Prince George and the Okanagan. Many of us now play in integrated leagues and often on integrated teams at our local clubs. Kelowna Curling Club and Vernon Curling Club have been especially generous to Okanagan curlers in allocating ice time for regular practices.

Curling at the international level has not stayed still either, with 16 nations competing in the recent World Championships. We're excited to be welcoming not only 5 current members of Team Canada but also the Great Britain squad, who include the current and repeat world champion Scottish rink.

Read the Mayor's welcome letter here.

With wheelchair curling now a Paralympics sport, interest has never been greater, but we all know that we must compete with longer established sports if we are to grow. Similarly we cannot rely just on the energies of busy CurlBC coaches who have responsibilities beyond wheelchair curling. This cashspiel is our statement that wheelchair athletes can organize a great event, gather financing within our communities, form our own teams, and compete - just like every other Canadian curler.

When we first approached corporate sponsors in the Okanagan we promised that they would be associating themselves with a group "committed to promoting a positive view of wheelchair athletes, not just as flag bearers for integration, but as athletes in their own right, committed to becoming wheelchair curling champions." With us, we promised, goes a "message of abilities enhanced, disabilities overcome and lives fulfilled."

We kept our part of the bargain and our sponsors kept theirs. Add in the volunteers who went out and hustled for sponsorship, organized the socials, the ice, the accommodation, the welcome gifts, the t-shirts, the posters and this website, and we think you'll find it's going to be not only a great competition, but also a party!

See you on the ice,


Eric Eales
Kelowna March 2005

 

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