Thursday, December 18, 2008

Team Canada "not a closed shop" as 2009 version named

The additional two week wait is over and the coaches have finally announced the line-up for Team Canada 2009. As predicted in my November 27th post it is:

Jim Armstrong  (Richmond BC)
Darryl Neighbour  (Richmond BC)
Ina Forrest  (Armstrong BC)
Chris Sobkowicz  (Winnipeg MB)
Sonja Gaudet - (Vernon BC) alternate
Joe Rea (Prince George BC)  coach   Playing positions not yet decided.

The team includes three players from Team Canada 2008 (Darryl, Ina and Sonja) with Sonja the only holdover from the 2006 Torino gold medal team.

In a telephone interview shortly after the announcement, Team Director Gerry Peckham made the following points:

*There was very little to choose between any of the candidates, and the delay in announcing the team was to give the coaches additional opportunities to observe the players in meaningful competition.

*Sonja Gaudet earned her place with her performance, though there would have been a bias towards taking two women to avoid the risk of default were one to become injured.

*There was no regional bias at all. The coaches saw no problem with having an all-BC team. Chris Sobkowicz earned his place by his performance.

*Though a sports psychologist works with the team and has input in coaching discussions, team dynamics within the squad were excellent, with every player happy to work for the team, and with any other player.

*This team has been selected for the 2009 Worlds only. The squad of eight will be retained and may even be enlarged next year as several people not currently on the squad have caught the attention of TC coaches.

*The squad will start with a clean slate after the Worlds and will have to compete for their place on the 2010 Paralympics side.

*Team Canada is not a closed shop - any player, or player's coach, who feels that TC coaches should evaluate their performance are encouraged to contact either Joe Rea or Wendy Morgan (or Gerry himself.)


Anonymous said...

What a team...look for more changes in 2010 because that team is not Paralympic Material....

You just watch....

More changes to come.

Anonymous said...

That is a very solid team. Unless one of them forgets how to curl over the next year, I would find it very hard to improve on that selection. That is a Paralympic quality team. I am confident they will represent us well.

Lets Rock 'n Roll

Bruce Cameron

Anonymous said...

Pretty disapointed to not see Gary on the team or Sonja Gaudet on the ice. Well there all gone, hold your heads high Gary,Jerry,Chris,Sonja, hope it works for the new team, always a tough call.

Anonymous said...

Those are strong words this early Bruce, team dynamics have not been proven here...

Anonymous said...

There is enough depth, that if team dynamics are flawed, it can be fixed b a personnel change.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone does not like to see the old guard changed.

There is enough new talent to demand a major change.

Anonymous said...

So who else MIGHT get a look next year?
My bet that if this team medals, it will be all bets off for any change for 2010.

Neighbour and Forrest have already proven themselves, Sobkowicz will be a lead or second, and Armstrong is only going to get better.

Anonymous said...

To the first poster:

What do you see as improvement to this team?

Anonymous said...

I am not the first poster, but the only possible improvement MIGHT be tweaking at front end. ANd I say MIGHT.

Good decisions, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I think the coaches really stepped out with their choices.

They canned two of the 2006 team outright, and relegated the other starter to the alternate role.

Athlete carding issues, upset athletes, etc.,etc.,

I do believe that the starting positions were the old guard to lose, and lose they did.

It will be an interesting couple of months....I am sure that there is still room for shuffling in the next year.

Anonymous said...

Does appear the coaches were ready to switch things up a bit.That said, Forrest, Neighbour and Armstrong had to be automatic. but fact is, there is still qite a change.

Coaches obviously have an open mind

Anonymous said...

Armstrong will have a couple of months to work with this combination.

I don't believe this particular group has ever played together as one team.

Therein lies the only risk, and a reason to maintain this team for the next year.

Anonymous said...

To the poster expressing a concern about "team dynamics".

Granted, it is a huge plus, BUT DO YOU THINK THE 2006 TEAM HAD "TEAM DYNAMICS"?????


Anonymous said...

perhaps dynamics was the wrong word but in defense of the 06 team, they did pull it together in Torino and agree to disagree that was the only way it could happen for them to win. I only wish the best for this team but my point is there is alot more that goes on in wheel chair curling then viewers may think.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest team dynamics shud be fine....Armstrong, Neighbour & Forest have curled together in two recent spiels and Chris played with Armstrong in Scotland. The sports psychologist has been "monitoring/assessing" the dynamics and seems to be satisfied with that portion of the team.

That's our team for the 2009 Worlds so lets believe in them and give them our full support.

Lets Rock 'n Roll

Bruce Cameron

Anonymous said...

I don't see any significant way to improve on this team. Fine tuning at front end, maybe, but even at that this is as good as it gets.


Anonymous said...

the 2006 team was a disaster waiting to happen. If this team, with the same synergy played now, they would not have been even close. That team dynamic was suicidal.

Anonymous said...

Just logged on and it looks like a winning team to me. Nobody ever likes change however the experience already there,combined with the new blood should add a spice that if it takes off will be hard to beat.
Glad to see the coaches are open ended to looking at new players as I truly believe that there is enough talent across this great country of ours to field a couple of contenders.
Lets get behind this team and start the chant WORLD CHAMPS.

Until they get some games behind them it will be difficult to know how long it will take for the team to come together, but all have experience and I am going to suggest it will not take them long.

Congrats to Jim,Darryl,Chris,Ina and Sonja for a job well done.


Wayne Ficek
Northern Ontario

Anonymous said...


Hi everyone....Chris Daw here.

I find your comments more then enjoyable to read. Why you may ask?

Because you were not there and you where not us. PERIOD!

We came togther as a team a whole team a team that by the way won GOLD. It seems many of you forget the presure some of you forget or do not know what it means to wear a maple leaf on your back and the words CANADA! And in this sport CURLING!

The expectations of you are far greater at the Paralympic games then any of you know, I can say this I have been to many. A friend of mine said something to me once. You can win 10 World championships and you are great; you only need to win 1 Olympics/Paralympics and you are not forgotten.

The team in 2006 was and is a great team! What we did was and will never be forgotten. We were the first and you can not compare then to now as that is unfair. The sport has progressed far to much. To say "team dynamic was suicidal." is far to harsh, you know why....well I will tell you 5 people in this country that have Gold medals that can tell you why and I will also add in Joe, Wendy and Trevor for that matter as they wear those medal as well.

I think you people who are on here are far to harsh on the accomplishments of those who have come before you. At the PAralympic games or at Worlds or at Nationals, even provinicals.

Remember the past is the past and those who lived it laid the future for those who are living it.

Let's be supportive of all the past, present and future and stop slaying or reading into things we don't know about!

And I would love it if people would try signing their names to the comments sometimes as it seems way to easy to hide behind the words ..... Anonymous


Chris Daw

Anonymous said...

Very true, Chris:

As you indicate, the sport has morped considerably in these past few years. However, no one can take away the fact that your team won gold in 2006, and perhaps, would not be as effective today, but would Jim Armstrong be as effective today as he was in his hayday?

You won in a different era of a neophyte sport, but win you did.

Anonymous said...

Hey, did anyone see Jim Armstrong on Global News?

Another neat little promo for our sport.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

But, is she good enough to crack this starting line-up?

Personally, I think she is great, but this is a new era in our sport.

Anonymous said...

She should be happy to be the alternate on this squad