Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thank you

I'd like to thank those who took the time to thank me for the website and blog.

Chis Daw has begun a new wheelchair curling blog that deserves support. I will certainly post comments there as they occur to me.

You can find it at http://wheelchaircurler.blogspot.com/

I will also endeavour to keep the wheelchaircurling.com calendar updated.

All the best
Eric

Saturday, December 31, 2011

And so it goes

The wheelchaircurling.com website, and later this blog which allowed me to add photos to posts, grew from a desire to promote curling as a viable winter recreation choice for wheelchair users. I also hoped to influence the direction of the sport's development, by sharing my ideas on how the game might be played and how it might be organised.

Since 2005 I have been the sport's unofficial archivist, reporting what would otherwise have gone unrecorded; understanding that a sport grows from its history.  But it was never intended to be a lifetime commitment and I am drawing it to a close before it becomes a chore rather than an enthusiasm.

I will keep the website and blog open, the articles and records available. Anyone who has read the articles and blog post comments will know my opinions. They have never been a secret and do not need a valedictory.

My thanks to those who have supported my efforts over the years. I have made many friends through my involvement in wheelchair curling, and I will continue to follow the sport with interest. If I have one regret it is that I lacked the physical skill to play competitively. I hope that my contributions in other areas have made a difference.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Answers to the 2011 Christmas Quiz

Here are the answers to our 2010 CHRISTMAS QUIZ. Maximum score 20 points. The questions are in a previous post, or you can just read the answers and make up your own questions.

I. Cate's answer was they are all blondes, but I cannily did not admit to having noticed. The official answer is they are all featured in the 2012 Women of Curling Calendar.

2. Sweden's Jalle Jungnell cut his 2010 Paralympic Bronze medal in half, and used the two halves to make new medals. He gave one to his 3rd, Glenn Ikonen who failed a drug test just before the playoffs and thus was not awarded his own medal.

3. Michael McCreadie represented Scotland and was the only wheelchair user at the 4 Nations Tournament at Fenton's CC in Kent, England last January, winning the Tom Ballantyne trophy - a five match competition between Scotland and England.

4. Sheila Swan coached the Scottish side at the 2011 Worlds in Prague because newly appointed British National Coach Tony Zummack was still waiting to receive his work permit.

5.Russia were 4th at the 2011 Worlds, losing the bronze medal game to Norway.
6.Norway's Tone Edvardsen was the first power-chair user to compete at a World Championship

7. Sweden, Germany and the host Czech Republic finished the 2011 Worlds tied with a 2-7 record. After tie-breaks, Sweden qualified for 2012 as the 8th place finisher.

8. Aileen Neilson was the first female skip at a World Championship, though in 2010 she had thrown 4th stones for Great Britain on a team skipped by Michael McCreadie.

9. Jalle Jungnell of Sweden switched from skip in 2010 to coach in 2011, and is expected to revert back to skip in 2012.

10. Japan cancelled their national championships scheduled to begin shortly after the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed much of the infrastructure where Japan's curling is based.

11. The $1,000 prize was offered by R. Vallee Home Rentals at the 2011 Nationals in Edmonton for a shot that covered the pin during the pre-game throws to decide hammer.

12.Although no one covered the pin, Manitoba skip Chris Sobkowicz threw a stone that finished within 4cm, winning him the $200 consolation prize

13. In 2011 Manitoba broke BC's streak of National Championship titles from 2007 - 2010. Prior to then, Team Canada were National Champions.
14. Jimmy Joseph is the only survivor of the four ever-present Team USA members from 2008 through 2011. Goose Perez, Jim Pierce and Jacqui Kapinowski all retired this year.

15. Slovakia will be the only rookie team at the 2012 Worlds in South Korea.

16. Norway won the 7th Annual Cathy Kerr Memorial, playing without skip Rune Lorentsen, who did not travel with the team.

17. Quebec's Team Lessard won the 6th US Open in Utica the week before the Cathy Kerr, going undefeated during an 8 team round robin.

18. The South Lanarkshire WCC used a donated haggis as a target at a fun spiel, possibly as an alternative to having to eat it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The 2011 CHRISTMAS QUIZ

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CHRISTMAS QUIZ

Welcome to this year's Christmas Quiz. The questions have all been taken from posts written during the course of 2011 and reflect our international readership. Good luck. The 20 answers will appear in a couple of days.

1. What do Canada's Sonja Gaudet and Heather Smith-Dacey have in common with Scotland's Eve Muirhead and Sweden's Anette Norberg?

2. Who cut his Paralympic medal in half? Why?

3. Which wheelchair user represented his country in an international curling tournament at which all the other players were able-bodied?

4. Who coached Scotland at the 2011 World Championships?

5. Canada repeated as World champions in 2011 - which play-off team failed to win a medal?

6. The 2011 Worlds allowed powerchair users to compete for the first time. Who was the first athlete to compete using a powerchair?

7. Which of the 3 national teams teams involved in relegation tie-breaks avoided having to re-qualify for the 2012 Worlds?

8. Who was the first female to skip at a World Wheelchair Curling Championship?

9. Who was the first wheelchair user to coach a national team at a World Wheelchair Curling Championship?

10. Which country had to cancel their national championships in the face of natural disaster?

11. At what event did a sponsor offer a $1,000 sponsors prize for a hammer-deciding throw that covered the pin?

12. The $1,000 prize was not won, but someone won a consolation $200 for a shot that ended less than 4 cms from the pin? Who made that throw?

13. Which province broke BC's stranglehold on Canadian national titles?

14. Four Americans were ever-present on Team USA for the 4 years from 2008 through 2011. Of the four, who's been chosen compete in 2012?

15. Nine of the ten teams at the 2012 World Championships will have competed at that level before. Who's the tenth?

16. Norway travelled to Canada to compete at the 7th Annual Cathy Kerr Memorial Spiel. How did they do? Who was missing from their team?

17. Team Lessard from Quebec were beaten finalists at the Cathy Kerr. What event did they win the previous week?

18. The South Lanarkshire WCC changed the rules at a recent fun event. What Scottish delicacy was used as the target?

A very Happy Christmas to you all from Eric and Cate.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Michael McCreadie quits international stage

Scotland's Michael McCreadie has announced his resignation from international competition.

"I am no longer a member of the World Class Performance Squad," he told me. "Since the summer, although playing reasonably well and achieving some good results in International competitions, my heart wasn't in it any more - the enjoyment had gone. It was not an easy decision to make. I had to do what was best for me and ultimately the squad.

"I wish the coach and the squad every success in the future." 

Tony Zummack, the national coach, responded: "I do feel that Michael McCreadie will continue to be involved and support wheelchair curling in the future. I respect his decision to retire from international competition and also respect the time and commitment he made to the National Program."

Michael, 65, was a member of the Scottish team that contested the first World Championship in Switzerland, 2002, where he won a bronze medal playing 2nd under Frank Duffy. He won gold medals playing 3rd at the 2004 and 2005 Worlds, and was the British flag bearer in Torino in 2006 where he won silver.

He followed Duffy into retirement after the crushing last rock Torino defeat, but was soon back and skipped his country to bronze at the 2007 Worlds, a success that eluded his teams the following 3 years.

After the Vancouver Paralympics, where he skipped but threw 3rd stones, he announced he would take a year off. He returned this season, but with the Scottish team committed to his partner Eileen Neilson at skip after her silver medal at the 2011 Worlds, his role was to skip Scotland's B team. That is the position he has now quit.

Zummack is not immediately replacing him. "I am keeping the National Squad at 7 athletes and have had some of our development athletes come in to train and play with us and will have someone in place for the Lanarkshire International." (Jan 17-18)

Michael McCreadie played in 72 World Curling Federation events, ending with a 45-27 record, 2 gold and 2 bronze Worlds medals and a Paralympic silver medal.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nova Scotia has new champions

Team Brown - Nova Scotia Champions coached by Bill Fletcher
Richard Brown, Terry Cousineau, Steve Parfitt and Paige Fougere

Richard Brown, Nova Scotia wheelchair curling's other skip, finally broke through to win his first provincial championship over the 5 time champions Team Rutt at the Lakeshore CC this weekend.

Brown, who skipped the winless NS Host team at the 2009 Nationals, faced opponents missing the services of skip Mike Fitzgerald who had relocated to New Brunswick, but as the best of five series began, his team of Terry Cousineau, Steve Parfitt and Paige Fougere could have been forgiven for thinking little had changed. Laughie Rutt, stepping up to skip but throwing 3rd stones in favour of Trendal Hubley-Bolivar, led his title defenders to a 10-2 opening night victory.

Game 1
Rutt * 1 0 1 1 3 1 3 x 10
Brown  0 2 0 0 0 0 0 x  2

Team Brown regrouped Saturday to steal the first 4 points of Game 2, and then hang on as Rutt, down 7-4 after 7, fell just a point short of forcing an extra end.

Game 2
Rutt * 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 2 - 6
Brown  3 1 0 0 2 1 0 0 - 7

It was deja vu in Game 3, as Brown again stole 3 in the 1st and added another in the 2nd before surrendering a 4 spot in the 7th to fall behind 7-6. Brown took one with hammer to force an extra and then stole 2 to lead the series 2-1.

Game 3
Rutt * 0 0 1 2 0 0 4 0 0 - 7
Brown  3 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 2 - 9

Sunday saw Team Rutt return to the form they showed in the opener as they posted 8 unanswered points to level the series at 2-2, after again giving up an opening end steal.

Game 4
Rutt * 0 2 4 1 1 x x x - 8
Brown  1 0 0 0 0 x x x - 1

The series decider returned to the pattern of Saturday as Team Brown, despite never earning the hammer, stole 2 in the 1st, added a single in the 2nd and stole 2 more in the 5th, finishing 8-3 winners and Nova Scotia Champions.

Game 5
Rutt * 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 x - 3
Brown  2 1 0 2 2 0 1 x - 8

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Scots put haggis to good use

Bill Masterton, Gary Marshall, Jan Drife and Steve Sutherland
[photo - Paul Webster]

The STV website reports that South Lanarkshire Wheelchair Curling Club marked St Andrew's Day (November 30) with a haggis curling competition.

The huge haggis, donated by sponsors Damn Delicious of Lanark. was used as the target in the competition that drew over 30 curlers to the Hamilton Ice Rink.

Bill Masterton, Gary Marshall, Steve Sutherland and individual winner Jan Drife secured the inaugural title. (photo on blog)

South Lanarkshire Wheelchair Curling Club chairman Arthur Bell described the day as "filled with lots of skill, sometimes a bit of luck as the beastie was whacked away, and always lots of fun. That's what amateur sport should be about."

Learn To Coach course in Greenock (SCO) January 8th

The Royal Caledonian CC, guardian of curling in Britain, is offering a workshop introducing coaches to wheelchair curling. The session costs £15 and will cover the basic delivery styles and skills used when teaching wheelchair curling.

CLICK HERE for details and a registration form.