Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Answers to 2009 Christmas Quiz

Here are the answers to the 2009 Christmas Quiz

If you answered all 14 questions correctly you scored 47 points and earned my admiration.

40+ makes you a faithful blog and website reader with a great memory and/or research

30-40 shows you are paying attention most of the time

20-29 shows you are paying attention some of the time

10-19 don't take bar bets on wheelchair curling

less than 10 - try the sledge hockey quiz

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's a Christmas Quiz!

CHRISTMAS QUIZ


So how closely do you follow wheelchair curling, and how closely do you read this blog?

Try your hand at our Christmas Quiz. Answers in a couple of days.

1. There have been six World Wheelchair Curling Championships, and seventeen countries have taken part. Scotland, England and Wales are three. How many of the other 14 can you name?

2. a. Which country or countries have won the most medals at World Championships and (b) how many?

3. a. Which country or countries have won the most golds at World Championships and (b) how many?

4. a. Which country or countries have won back to back world championships? (b) Who skipped? (c) Who coached?

5. This season tournaments have been played in

a) Taarnby, Denmark
b) Bern, Switzerland
c) Oslo, Norway
d) Kinross, Scotland
e) Prague, Czech Republic
f) Ottawa, Canada

Match the location with the national team that won: USA, Canada, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia

6. True or False

For a stone to be legally delivered

a) at least one wheel must be touching centre line
b) only one foot may be touching the ice
c) from inside the near rings, part of the stone must touch centre line
d) between near rings and hogline, part of the stone must touch centre line

7. What was special about the rocks used at the 2009 Worlds and that will be used at the Olympics and Paralympics?

a) They were the same stones used at the Torino Games.
b) They were made 5 lbs lighter to make it easier for wheelchair users to throw them.
c) The handles had a special surface that allowed them to be pulled back as well as pushed forward.
d) They had never been used before in competition.

8. Name the 3-time World Champion now coaching his national team.

9. Name the Paralympic champion now managing the Vancouver Curling Club.

10. What visiting provincial team came to Ottawa and played a 16 ender - and what was scored in that end?

11. Who is the wheelchair curler now appearing in the Canadian Curling Association's Start Curling television campaign?

12. Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong was given a formal job at the Canadian Olympic Trials Roar Of The Rings in Edmonton. What was it?

13. Which three teams appearing at the 2010 Paralympics have not yet qualified for the 2011 Worlds?

14. Name the provincial skip who will carry the Olympic torch in January in his home town.

I'll be holding all comments until I post the answers in a couple of days. Good luck and a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

No. Ontario skip chosen to carry Olympic torch for Kenora


Photo - Ian Readey

Wayne Ficek has been given the honour of representing his home Kenora by carrying the Olympic torch on it's last leg into Kenora, ON.

"I was just pretty excited, honored to be able to do it and humbled a little bit," he told The Lake Of The Woods  Enterprise. "I think it's a wonderful opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime type thing, eh?"

Wayne sits on various boards and advisory panels and was nominated by friends in the community as recognition for the work he has done over many years to advance the causes of disabled Kenorans.

He is also skip of the reigning Northern Ontario wheelchair curling champions, finishing fourth above Ontario at the 2009 Championships. His team, leads Denise Miault and Cindy Hoffstrom, second Chester Draper and third Mark Wherrett, defeated rival Thunder Bay rinks by a score of 14 – 0 against Team Dawid and 7 – 2 against Team Levesque at the Fort William CC at the launch of the club's new elevator.

The same teams will compete in January's Ontario Winter Games and the No. Ontario Curling Championships in Kenora February 5-7, 2010 for the right to represent Northern Ontario at the National Championships in Kelowna B.C.the following month.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The rationale behind Team GB's changed delivery zone


Tem GB 2nd Tom Killin
(Photo Bob Cowan)


The Institute Of Sport, SportScotland's high performances arm, has published a paper describing why Team Great Britain throw from 10 or 15 feet further from the near hogline than any other team.

The short answer is that Coach Tom Pendreigh in consultation with Senior Sports Psychologist John Marchant, and Head of Sports Science and Innovation, Malcolm Fairweather, think they found a competitive edge.

Moving closer to the hack at delivery allows the stone to cross the hogline further from the centre line, widening the range available of shots.

The coaches expected an initial "dip" in performance, evident in Scotland requiring a tie-break victory at the 2009 Worlds to avoid having to re qualify. But with the goal Vancouver 2010, and resources devoted to physical conditioning and psychological profiling, the coaches "see their hard work paying off, with a team who are more unified, happier and more performance focused than ever before."

Read the report HERE.

Some quick observations.

Recent rule changes moving rocks from centre line at delivery negate much of the presumed advantage.

Vancouver 2010 ice, based on the 2009 Worlds, will have plenty of swing, perhaps making it unnecessary to add more width by moving back.

The further away you throw, he more opportunity for things to go wrong.

Players moving forward to throw takeout weight add another variable for the person holding the broom.

And finally, other international high performance coaches have had two years to consider this experiment and have declined to follow suit. Team GB will have to keep believing that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

My personal take: this may have seemed a good idea under the old rules, and started a multi-disciplinary process that gathered a momentum impossible to stop, or perhaps stopping would have been even more disruptive than playing it out.

The wheelchair curlers were Britain's only Paralympic medallists in Torino. Their semi-professional squad faces enormous pressure to win. They've gambled on a radical change they hope will come good in March. If it does, they'll be copied. If it doesn't look for Coach Pendreigh to take the blame.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Canada vs Finland from Nov 28 in Prague at Czech Opn

Someone, probably from Finland, posted video from the Canada/Finland game in Draw 2 of the Czech Open in Prague on November 28, 2009.

The game was posted on 3 segments. The quality is not great and not every stone has been captured but embed links are below, or you can access the host site directly HERE.

The video does not always play at the first attempt.

Canada played Sonja Gaudet at lead, Bruno Yizek, Darryl Neighbour and Jim Armstrong.

Can't remember what happened and don't want to watch the video? Look up the result in the blog archive for November.

Part 1


Part 2


Part 3

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

GB finish the year win win at Lausanne Bonspiel

Team Great Britain followed their appearance in the final of the Kathy Kerr in Ottawa by traveling to Lausanne, Switzerland the following weekend. Two teams from Great Britain competed against eight teams from France and Switzerland, with Manfred Bollinger's Berne team expected to offer the stiffest opposition to the McCreadie rink.

Unfortunately, the Swiss and Berne skip Manfred Bollinger caught his hand in a door and broke a finger and was unable to compete.

Great Britain went undefeated, beating a team from the Strasbourg CC 19-3 in the final. Team GB's coach Tom Pendreigh's report on the trip is HERE.

Full results are available HERE

Great Britain have one more event on their pre-Paralympics schedule, a home spiel with Sweden, Germany and Norway expected to compete.

Team GB's Aileen Nielson talks about the team's progress



 Ailkeen Nielson - photo courtesy of Bob Cowan

Though Scottish wheelchair curlers have struggled in recent years, after a bronze at the 2007 World Championships failing to bring home major silverware from the past two World Championships, Aileen Nelson told Chris Cottrell:

"Sometimes the pressure of expectation really drives you on. I think that's the effect it's had on us and we've used it in our build up and preparation for the event.

"Wheelchair curling is still a relatively new sport and I think there's been major progressions from other countries as players have become more experienced over the last few years.

"But we've been quite busy travelling over the past few months, preparing for Vancouver and things have been going really well."

Read the whole interview HERE

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Radio-Canada Estrie a visité le Club de Curling de Lennoxville

Radio-Canada Estrie a visité le Club de Curling de Lennoxville pour en apprendre plus sur le curling en fauteuil roulant.  Mireille Roberge, animatrice de l'émission "Plan de match" s'est entretenu avec quelques-uns des joueurs en fauteuil roulant de ce club incluant le 3e joueur de l'équipe du Québec Carl Marquis et le capitaine Benoit Lessard qui porte toujours une attelle sur la jambe suite à un grave accident de ski nautique survenu l'été dernier.

Le vidéo d'une durée de sept minutes est une très bonne publicité pour le jeu

video

Fort William CC now has an elevator to the bar


Terry Lynch uses the new elevator at Fort William CC
Photo - Jeff Labine


Dave Kawahara and Dave Forester get the credit for starting the process that raised $370,000 for the elevator project. Wheelchair user and club member Terry Lynch told TBNewswatch.com that curling is 10 per cent on the ice and 90 per cent social.

"I’m now a full member of the club," Lynch said. "I was always a member but now…when there is a function or event or send off of a team, I can now participate in them and be fully involved."

“There are not a lot of curling clubs across the province that are 100 per cent accessible,” said MPP Michael Gravelle told The Chronicle-Journal. “They basically raised the standard of what they can do.”

Read the article's by Jeff Labine and Graham Strong on the Grand Opening.

Rock & Roll Funspiel January 23rd in Bradford ON


Ken Gregory and Bruce Gorsline at Bradford CC
(photo Bradford Times)

The Bradford CC is teaming up with the Canadian Paraplegic Association to host the Rock & Roll Funspiel on Saturday January 23rd.

Bradford is the home club of Team Ontario skip Ken Gregory who told the Bradford Times that he changed venues from Toronto when the club made the ice and washrooms accessible six years ago.

The organizers hope the spiel will build interest in curling, and especially in wheelchair curling as an activity for those with spinal cord injuries.

"It's one of the few sports that wheelchair and able-bodied can play on equal ground," Gregory says.

The goals are to raise funds for the Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario, but also to raise awareness of the challenges and triumphs of people with spinal cord injuries living in the municipality. You can see the event poster and registration details HERE or register on-line HERE.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Jim Armstrong profiled on national TV


Roar Of The Rings - Edmonton AB

Jim Armstrong took part in the opening ceremonies of the Tim Horton's Road To The Roar Olympic Trials in Edmonton, along with many familiar faces pictured above. How many do you recognise?

He was also featured in a six minute nationally televisd profile prior to TSN's coverage of the  Women's Olympic Qualifying Final.

video

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Russ Peake and Monique LaCoste to call Vancouver Games

Alberta Sport Hall of Fame announcer Calgarian Russ Peake will join Winnipeg's Monique LaCoste as the commentators for wheelchair curling at the 2010 Paralympic Games

Jacqui Kapinowski completes 52nd marathon


Team USA lead Jacqui Kapinowski

Team USA lead Jacqui Kapinowski completed her 52nd marathon this past weekend in Palm Beaches, Florida. The next day she flew to Utah to try for a spot on the archery team for the 2012 Paralympic Summer Games.

"I don't know if I will be able to pull back the bow, my arms will be so sore," she told the Sun Sentinel.

(The winning time for the wheelchair division, won by Dane Pilon, of Fayetteville, N.C., was 1:12:47 for the 26.2 miles, more than 17 minutes faster than the runner-up.)

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 'Wheelchair Watch' column in SWEEP d-Mag



The 'Wheelchair Watch' column for December is now in the website archive.

Topics covered included an overview of November's competitions, and two major issues of concern to wheelchair curlers: widening the eligibility pool and extending the ban on electric wheelchairs.

Armstrong - "Too soon for Paralympic trials"

Jim Armstrong participated in the opening ceremonies at the Olympic Trials in Edmonton Sunday, one of four holding brooms for ceremonial first rocks. Sun Media's Con Griwkowsky took the opportunity to profile him.

Even though Armstrong found the idea of holding an Olympic wheelchair qualifier at the same time as a Canadian curling trials compelling, he figured it might be an idea best saved for sometime in the future.

"You know what? Wheelchair curling is still a little young," said the personable Armstrong, a former dentist.

"We've certainly got the infrastructure, but we don't quite have enough bodies yet. It's coming, but we're only eight or nine years in Canada. Give it a few years and, yeah, it might make sense."


Read the complete article

Fortunately we have four years to argue the case and justify a Paralympic Trials.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Get a (better) grip, says coach Ernie Comerford


Coach Ernie Comerford says: I have been experimenting with additions to some delivery sticks with handles from garden tools to see if this might help the thrower throw more easily and be more consistently accurate. Feel free to improve on these ideas.

Garden tool handles were purchased from a standard “box store” (Home Depot).  Metal tool was removed and inside drilled out to ¾ inch size.  Dowling then added and epoxy glue used to hold then into the delivery stick.

Photo 1: Shows indentation in this type of handle which “forces” the player to hold the stick in the same spot each time.  Soft rubber handle.




Photo 2: Top view. Handle is attached and aligned.  Note thumb indentation spot.


Photo 3 - Side View. Note groves on side for better grip, hook at end for hand.



Photo 4 - Shows player gripping stick.  Note thumb in indentation.

COMMENTS – This has been adapted quite well on Goldline sticks.  Some concerns on Extender Sticks as it may/can be hard to realign the handle and the throwing end once loosened or extended further.  However I believe we will find the Extender Sticks will be just as good if not better due to weight.  One player in particular believes it has made it easier for him to be much more accurate and consistent.  



Photo 5 -  Top view. Thumb indentation on top. Soft rubber for easy grip.  Grooves on top only.



Photo 6 - Note pronounced hook at end.  Handle shape has been well received.



Photo 7 - Player gripping stick. Thumb in indentation

GENERAL COMMENTS

The aim was to find a handle that would make it easier to be consistent.  Concept came from the golf teaching aid (Golf Grip handles) which try to get a golfer to hold the club in proper position.  Initial trials have been satisfactory.  Cost of the handles runs about $6 to $9 each.

Smaller female hands seem to be no problem.

Thoughts have been given to angling the handle even more to make it a totally “natural” hand angle.

One player uses the handle in a reverse position and finds it fine for them.  He left part of the metal handle of the gardening tool in and glued it into the delivery stick.  He finds it lowers the angle of the stick to the ice surface.

OTHER IDEAS




Using pvc  electrical conduit pipe with a 45 degree angle.  Cost less than a dollar. Fits an all sticks.

NOTE – how player can move hand forward or backwards to their “spot”.  The angle of the force then changes.  We have not done any lengthy experimentation yet.  Concept seems fine though.

OTHER IDEAS

a) USE OF COPPER OR PLASTIC TUBING.  It may be possible to design a handle with various angles to suit the player.  A 45 degree elbow could be used on a garden handle to also alter the players hand angle.  Combos could be tried.

b) HAND MOULDS - Perhaps these could be used to make a unique handle for individual players.  Thus perhaps allowing for maximum force and control.

I hope these are helpful to some wheelchair curlers.  We are still an evolving sport technically and I am pleased to share some ideas to hopefully better the sport.

Ernie Comerford - London Ontario Nov. 2009


Communication key to USA success, says coach Brown


Jim Pierce - Team USA vice-Skip
(photo - Sitrin)


Team USA coach Steve Brown told Universal Sports reporter Josh George that involving all the team members in the game will help skip Augusto 'Goose' Perez and improve the team.

“When you can get four people, four sets of eyes (assessing the situation), you’ll be a lot stronger than one,” Brown said during a phone interview.

"Goose knows the strategy comparable to the top teams, but he is still going to make mistakes sometimes,” said Brown. “But if you have that extra set of eyes, instead of making a call that is almost guaranteed to backfire, you have someone making you take that second look.”

Vice-skip Jim Pierce commented after the US Open, "We did gain some ground in communication, which is a huge thing....Everybody has to stay in the game, you can’t just shoot your two shots and be done.”

Read what you will between the lines here, but having met the team and seen them play, I know Goose is a forceful personality who relishes the big occasion and the opportunity to make the spectacular shot. If he is able to draw on the insights of the quieter members of his team, the game calling may become less adventurous, but USA's medal prospects may improve.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

End the WCF ban on power wheelchairs now!

The World Curling Federation, at its semi-annual meeting taking place in Aberdeen this month during the European Championships (regular curling) has two items on the agenda directly affecting wheelchair curlers.

Agenda item 22 -  Should electric wheelchairs be allowed at World Wheelchair Curling Championships?  WCF Recommendation:  Electric wheelchairs should not be allowed at World Wheelchair Curling Championships or their qualifying events.

You can read my reasons for wanting the ban lifted in the Wheelchair Watch column in the December issue of SWEEP d-Mag.

Curlers using power chairs have more than enough obstacles to overcome without being victimised by discriminatory rules based on impressions rather than evidence. The ban will continue unless you contact your WCF representative and ask them to end the ban now.

A second proposal under consideration is to extend the eligibility for wheelchair curling beyond the present definition of "requiring a wheelchair for daily mobility" to including people with substantial (described and evaluated) disabilities who are unable to curl without the use of a wheelchair.

This proposal is part of a substantial discussion document prepared by the WCF vice-President Kate Caithness concerning classification and eligibility, as well as addressing the fact that there is no present mechanism to appeal a classification decision (in either direction).

There is no present WCF support beyond promises of further study for Michaael McCreadie's suggestion to include more severely disabled wheelchair users in a separate classification, mandating inclusion on competitive teams.

Final decisions on rule changes will be made at the WCF annual meeting in April, but delegates are meeting this month in Aberdeen to discuss what changes might be made.

Make your voice heard.

Jim Armstrong to be a special guest at Olympic Trials

Jim Armstrong will be one of the special guests at the Opening Ceremonies at the Tim Horton's Roar Of The Rings in Edmonton.

He can discuss with Randy Ferbey the mechanics of external team selection. Ferbey has insisted that he won't allow the CCA to influence his pick of a 5th player should he win the Olympic trials.

CCA chief Greg Stremlaw is quoted as saying that the CCA owes a duty to the Canadian Olympic Committee to not allow just anyone (a 5th) to play. "Obviously the individual can't be just anybody, right?"

Apart from the insulting inference that a skip on a competitive team would select "just anybody," Stemlaw is wrong if he cares about the overall heath of the sport he is paid to oversee.

The health of a sport relies on the enthusiasm of its participants, not the ambitions of administrators and funders. The ability to choose who you play with is the essential fertilizer of Canadian grassroots curling. Canada does well internationally because from those grassroots grow a great many teams, raising each other's play by competing as a unit to be the best.

If you define a sport in terms of podium success, you end up with a tiny group of sponsored athletes drawn from an ever-diminishing pool that will see no incentive to grow larger. That's how it is in most countries, and that's how it may, but does not need to become in Canada.

While Armstrong has bought into the apologists' argument that there has not been enough players to justify a 'win to play' system in wheelchair curling, and is fulsome in his praise for the team members who have been chosen to play alongside him, he tells me he is open to exploring other proposals after the Paralympics.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

USA beat Great Britain in Cathy Kerr final

Teams had an early start Sunday morning as the semi-finals of the the Annual Cathy Kerr Memorial Spiel began at 8.30am at Ottawa's RA Club.

Great Britain beat Chris Sobkowicz's Manitobans 6-3 and USA beat last year's Ontario champions Team Gregory 8-6.

In the afternoon final it was USA over Great Britain 9-4, with Gregory claiming bronze with a 9-5 win over Sobkowicz. Great Britain had Michael McCreadie calling the game from 3rd with Aileen Nielsen throwing last rocks. Team USA rotated their fifth player, who then skipped the USA 2 side.


In the recreation division Robert Michel was the winner and Aaron Wong-Sing was the runner-up. Both teams are from Ottawa.

The results mean that Bruce Cameron, Ken Gregory and Chris Rees all qualify for the Ontario ParaSports Winter Games to be held in Kingston in January 2010. Richard Fraser will be the alternate.

During the semis and finals, the other competitive teams curled for pride and experience so everyone had six games over the weekend.

SUI overwhelm NOR in final of Czech Open - Canada take bronze

Switzerland beat a full strength Canada 8-4 in the semi-final of the Czech Open in Prague today. They opened with a single point, scored facing four Canadian stones, then gave up 3 in the second. The game turned in the 3rd when Switzerland scored 5, and Canada were unable to recover, giving up a steal of 1 in the 4th to be down 7-3 at the break. Canada did have a chance for 3 in the 6th, but only scored 1 and the teams shook hands with Canada run out of rocks in the 7th. (The 5 ender was the costliest end of Armstrong's stewardship of the team.)

Canada         0 3 0 0 1 0 x x - 4
Switzerland*   1 0 5 1 0 1 x x - 8

In the other semi, Norway scored 4 in the final end for a come from behind victory over Sweden 8-6.

Norway    1 0 0 1 2 0 4 x - 8
Sweden*   0 0 5 0 0 1 0 x - 6

Switzerland, with the highly experienced Manfred Bollinger at skip, fielded a team with just one change from the squad that struggled at the 2009 Worlds. In the final they overwhelmed Norway 7-1, allowing the single point in the final end.

Norway            0 0 0 0 0 0 1 x - 1
Switzerland*      1 0 1 3 1 1 0 x - 7

Canada redeemed themselves with a 4-1 win over Sweden to take 3rd place.

Canada        0 0 0 1 2 1 0 X  4
Sweden        0 0 0 0 0 0 1 X  1

(Q) There were a lot of blank ends. Was that intentional, to keep things clean? Wendy Morgan - "It was the game plan based on ice conditions."
*Q) And how would you describe the ice conditions?
Wendy Morgan - "Previous games heavy and inconsistent - the final game sheet 4 was the best sheet we played on during the event - the 3 blank ends were the result of outstanding execution by both teams in a defensive style of play."

Morgan professed to being happy with the trip. "It was a terrific competition - we are very pleased with our results and moving forward to the new year."

That's understandable coach-speak, but the trip demonstrated that Canada can not expect to have things all their own way. They lost to Finland in a game that did not matter, and to Switzerland in a game that did. No cause for panic, and Jim Armstrong's play will doubtless improve as he continues his recovery from injury and is able to put in the ice-time to reach the standard Canada will need in Vancouver. But Sweden, Switzerland and Great Britain have all won international events this year. Norway's play is improving ("We don't want to peak too early," says coach Christensen.) USA have a big event skip, while Korea threaten to break the rocks with their hitting game.

It's going to be interesting in Vancouver.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

GB, USA, Manitoba and Gregory in Cathy Kerr semis

The four most experienced teams won through to Sunday's semi-finals at the 5th Annual Cathy Kerr Memorial Spiel in Ottawa.

Great Britain beat Ken Gregory's Bradford team that represented Ontario at the 2009 Nationals 10-2 in today's 8.30am draw. USA had a tougher match, coming out ahead of Chris Sobkowicz's Manitobans 5-4.

GB were back on the ice at 11am, this time posting a 10-3 win over USA II. Their third draw of the day was a 16-0 rout of the inexperienced London ON side.

Manitoba had a 6-4 win over host Cameron, and a 6-5 win over Quebec, while USA beat Ottawa's Fraser 6-0 and finished with a 6-5 win over Cameron.

Gregory beat previous Ontario champion Chris Rees' Toronta team 7-5 and finished the day with a 5-5 tie against USA II.

Tomorrow's semi-finals are Gregory v. USA 1 and Great Britain v. Manitoba.

Scores from today's games are below.

Draw 3 - Saturday November 28th  8.30am
Quebec 10  -  Fraser 1
Great Britain 10 - Gregory 2
USA 1  5  -  Manitoba 4
Rees 17  - London - 2


Draw 4 - Saturday November 28th  11am
USA 1  6  -  Fraser 0
Manitoba 6  -  Cameron  4
Great Britain 10  - USA 2  3
Gregory 7  -  Rees  5

Draw 5 - Saturday November 28th 2.30pm
Gregory 5  -  USA 2  5 (tie)
Great Britain 16  - London  0
Manitoba 6  - Quebec  5
USA1  6   - Cameron 5

Unranked Finland upset Canada, Canada & Norway top pools

Canada were upset by Finland, a team that have never appeared in a World Championship, in the morning draw of the second day of the Czech Open in Prague.

They gave up single steals in the first two ends, and a steal of 3 in the 5th before making the 8-5 scoreline a little more respectable with a steal of 3 of their own in the seventh and final end. Bruno Yizek played at second in place of ina. This was a team decision to give Bruno some playing time and experience at different positions.

"Finland played very well - Canada struggled with weight control," texts Team Leader Wendy Morgan. "The team is upbeat - took some lessons learned from this morning's game."

Sweden came back from a 4-0 deficit to beat Czech 1 6-5 in a match that only managed to play 6 ends in the allotted time. Germany saw Norway take singles in each of the first four ends in a 5-2 defeat in seven ends. The low scoring reminded some of their Draw 9 match-up at the 2009 Worlds contest, where the teams blanked the first four ends.

Switzerland posted a 7-5 win over Czech 2 in the remaining morning draw.

Finland   1  1  0  3  3  0  0  -  8
Canada*   0  0  1  0  0  1  3  -  5

Czech 1   2  1  1  0  0  1  -  -  5   
Sweden*   0  0  0  3  3  0  -  -  6

Germany   0  0  0  0  1  0  1  -  2
Norway*   1  1  1  1  0  1  0  -  5

Czech 2*      0  1  0  0  3  1  -  5
Switzerland   4  0  2  1  0  0  -  7

In the afternoon draw, Canada went into the break level with Czech 1, but had steals in the next three ends to win 7-3.

"We had a slow start to the game this afternoon but rallied in the second half," texts Wendy Morgan. "Sonja sat and Bruno played lead."

Norway pounded Czech 2 by 13-1 and Sweden took 5 in the third against Finland and won 9-4.


Germany gave up a steal of 3 in the first and 1 in the second, but eked out a win over Switzerland by scoring 3 in the final end of a game that only managed 6 ends in the allotted two hours.

Norway        2  2  1  1  0  3  2  2  -  13
Czech 2*   0  0  0  0  1  0  0  0  -  1


Switzerland   3  1  0  0  1  0  -  -   - 5
Germany*      0  0  2  1  0  3  -  -   - 6

Canada*     1  0  0  1  1  1  3  0   - 7
Czech 1     0  1  1  0  0  0  0  1   - 3

Sweden      0  0  5  0  2  0  2  -   - 9
Finland*    1  1  0  1  0  1  0  -   - 4

Table after round robin

Pool A
1 Norway
2 Switzerland
3 Germany
4 Czech 2

Pool B
1 Canada
2 Sweden
3 Finland
4 Czech 1

Norway plays Sweden and Switzerland plays Canada in tomorrow's semi-finals.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Meanwhile Great Britain and USA play in Ottawa

Bruce Cameron and the Capital Wheelchair Curling Club have assembled the largest competitive field outside of a national championships for the 5th Annual Cathy Kerr Memorial Spiel at the RA Curling Club in Ottawa this weekend.

Ten teams, including Great Britain and two teams from the USA are competing against teams from Manitoba, Quebec and five Ontario teams. This is also a qualifying event to become one of the three teams that wlll attend the Ontario Winter ParaSports Games to be held in Kingston in January 2010.

There are two pools

Group A                                        Group B

Gregory (Bradford)                        Cameron (Ottawa)
Rees  (Toronto)                            Fraser (Ottawa)
Claus (London ON)                        USA 1 (Perez)
Great Britain  (McCreadie)              Manitoba (Sobkowicz)
USA 2                                          Quebec   

Draw 1 Results

Manitoba 6-4  Fraser (Ottawa)

Great Britain 9-5  Rees (Toronto)

USA 2  17-4   Claus (London)

Cameron (Ottawa)  11-4  Quebec

Draw 2 Results

USA 2  8-7  Rees (Toronto)

USA 1  11-2  Quebec

Gregory (Bradford) 16-0  Claus (London)

Cameron (Ottawa) 9-4  Fraser (Ottawa)

There is also a recreational division with four teams from the Capital Wheelchair urling Club and one team from Quebec.

It's deja vu all over again for Canada/Sweden at Czech Open

The opening draw of the 2009 Czech Open in Prague matched the 2009 Worlds finalists and Canada again scored 9 to win. Canada went out to an early 6-0 lead, taking 2 with the hammer and stealing 3 and 1 before Sweden got on the board with 2 before the half-time break.

Whatever caoch Tomas Nordin told his team seemed to work as Sweden made the scoreboard more respectable with single steals in the 5th and 6th, but a 3 for Canada in the 7th brought the match to an early 9-4 conclusion.

"Fast start, were slower the two ends after the break - ice was patchy and we changed our game to deal with the conditions," texted Team Leader Wendy Morgan. Before play, coaches approached the organizers and requested that the matches originally scheduled for 6 ends and 80 minutes, be extended to 8 ends with a bell at two hours, closer to the Paralympics format.

In other games, Norway, whose coach told me prior to the tournament start that his team were on an upward trajectory but that he didn't want them to peak before Vancouver, had a steal of 4 against Switzerland but were only able to score in two of the seven ends played, losing 9-6.

Germany overpowered Czech 2, opening with a 4 then stealing multiple points each of the next four ends, running out 13-2 winners. Finland, who have yet to appear on the World stage, tied 6-6 with Czech 1.

CANADA           2  3  1  0  0  0  3  x  9
SWEDEN           0  0  0  2  1  1  0  x  4


NORWAY           0  0  0  2  4  0  0  x  6
SWITZERLAND      1  2  3  0  0  2  1  x  9


GERMANY          4  2  2  2  3  0  x  x  13

CZECH  2         0  0  0  0  0  2  x  x   2

FINLAND          3  1  1  0  1  0  0  x   6
CZECH 1          0  0  0  4  0  1  1  x   6


Bruno Yizek, Canada's 5th, did not play. He will replace Sonja Gaudet at lead in tomorrow morning's draw against Finland.


Pool A
Norway - R. Lorensen , G. Skogstad , J. Stordahl , L. Tystad , A. M. Samdal 

Switzerland - M. Villars , C. Hüttenmoser , A. Kehrli, M. Bolliger
Germany - C. Steger , C. Totzauer, J. Gäbel, M. Sieger, J. Jäger
Czech 2 - O. Vikturnová , Š. Beneš , O. Kříž , J. Coufal , J. Břinčilová , L. Procházka


Pool B

Canada - J. Armstrong , D. Neighbour , I. Forrest , S. Gaudet , B. Yizek
Sweden - A. Wilhelm, P. Burman, G. Ikonen, J. Jungnell, P. Kallin
Finland - R. Särösalo, M. Karjalainen, V. Hellman, T. Aarnikka, S. Räsänen 

Czech 1 - R. Musílek, M. Charvátová , P. Gottlieb , R. Pokorný , M. Tluk



Draw 2  November 28  9.15am local time
CAN – FIN    SWE – CZE A    NOR – GER    SUI – CZE B

Draw 3  November 28  2.30pm local time
NOR – CZE B    SUI – GER    CAN – CZE A    SWE – FIN

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Crapaud CC in P.E.I. to host Wheelchair Curling Workshops

The PEI Curling Association is looking to expand its programs this season by attracting those who are either vision impaired, or use a wheelchair.

A demonstration and workshop for interested participants, or volunteers who would like to coach and guide, is being held at the Crapaud Community Curling Club on Sunday December 6. It is hoped that representatives from all PEI curling clubs can attend these sessions.

The wheelchair demonstration will be held from 10.00am-1.00pm. For more information contact Gayle Johnston at 902-368-1071.

CLICK HERE for a link to the event.

Crapaud Curling Club has been added to wheelchaircurling.com's list of wheelchair friendly clubs. If you know of any venues not listed, please send me an email with a link to the club's website, or a phone number and they will be added to the list.

"I'll personally be disappointed without gold" - Jim Armstrong

Canada skip Jim Armstrong is one of five Olympians and Paralympians Canada.com's North Shore News selects as "athletes you should know" in the run-up to the Games.

"We'll be disappointed if we aren't on the podium," Armstrong says. "I personally will be disappointed without gold." [read more]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Team GB meet the press


L-R: Tom Killin, Angie Malone, Michael McCreadie, Aileen Neilson and Jim Sellar

Bob Cowan reports: British Curling had a media day yesterday at the Peak in Stirling, to give the press a chance to meet the GB Olympic and Paralympic curling squads.

It was organised by Mike Haggerty (British Curling's media officer) and Katriona Bush (sportscotland's corporate media adviser), and the media interest in the curling squads was bigger than anything I have ever witnessed before.


Of course Canada's wheelchair curling team is the only one finalised at the moment, but it would be nice to see a similar event held here after the Trials.

10 teams will compete at 5th Annual Cathy Kerr Memorial Spiel in Ottawa

The 5th Annual Cathy Kerr Memorial Bonspiel will be held at the RA Curling Club in Ottawa this weekend, November 27 -29.

There will be a competitive division of ten teams, including Team Great Britain, two USA teams, Team Manitoba, Team Quebec, Ken Gregory's 2009 Ontario champions, and four other Ontario teams.

There will also be a recreational division, with four teams from the Capital WCC and one from Quebec.

Canada had been scheduled to play, but decided that the competition offered at the Prague spiel the same weekend better suited their training needs.

Monday, November 23, 2009

November's Wheelchair Watch published in SWEEP d-Mag




My 'Wheelchair Watch' column for the inaugural issue of Sweep d-Mag is available at the magazine's site and on wheelchaircurling.com, where there is an archive of published articles.

Most of this month's column will be familiar to regular readers of the blog, but if you are a recent visitor it gives an overview of what has happened in wheelchair curling since last March.

Canada leave for Prague

Canada fly out to Prague tomorrow (Tuesday November 24th) for the 4th Open Czech Wheelchair Curling Tournament 2009. It is an eight team field, with two pools for round robin play beginning Friday with a final on Sunday November 29th.


Pool A
Norway
Switzerland
Germany
Czech  B

Pool B
Canada
Sweden
Finland
Czech A

Teams were seeded and placed in the pools according to their WCF Paralympics qualification points.

Canada's first game is against Sweden on Friday November 27 (8am ET, 5am Pac)

Vancouver CC hosts Canada/Japan exhibition

Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong returned to the club displaying many of his achievements as an able-bodied curler, in an exhibition match against Paralympic contenders Japan.

It was not a happy home-coming, as Team Canada lost 8-3. The ice was reported as extremely fast, and either Japan adjusted to the challenging conditions, or Canada found it hard to believe the broom. Either way, Jim had a tough game, short on a draw for an additional point in 3, short in the 6th to give up a steal of 1, and missing an open hit in 7 to give up 3.

CAN    1  0  1  0  1  0  0  0    3
 JAP    0  2  0  1  0  1  3  1    8

Since the employment of Chris Daw as Manager, the entire lower level of the Vancouver CC has been made wheelchair accessible. The club welcomes wheelchair users and will be hosting curling events n the new year aimed at disabled curlers inspired to try out the sport by the publicity surrounding the Paralympics.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

USA 1 beat Ottawa at 2009 US Open in repeat of last year's final


Channel 2 News report below


Team USA faced last last year's finalists Team Cameron from Ottawa in the 2009 US Open final at the Utica CC in New York. Skip Goose Perez executed a perfect hit and roll to the button with the last rock of the 8th end for a single point and a 5-4 win.

USA II beat Bradford 8-7 to take bronze.

Other results:

Day 2  - Draw 3:

USA 1   7-1   USA II
Ottawa 10-7 Bradford

Draw 4:

USA II  8-12  Bradford
USA 1  10-6 Ottawa

Draw 5:

USA 1 5-6  Bradford in 9 ends
USA II  9-11 Ottawa

Day 3  - Draw 6:

USA pool of players was shuffled for this game

USA 1   1-9  USA II
Ottawa 9-2  Bradford

News Channel 2 WKTV Utica NY had a short news report.

video

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fairness demands two-tier participation - Michael McCreadie


Team GB skip Michael McCreadie, seen here at 2009 Worlds
photo - Yadranka

Team Great Britain skip Michael McCreadie is one of the world's most experienced wheelchair curlers, with decades of participation in other wheelchair sports. He feels that the time has come for the introduction of a two-tier classification that will force inclusion of more severely disabled wheelchair users onto teams competing under WCF rules.

"The original rule is a real strength of wheelchair curling. The game was established for players who use a wheelchair for “daily mobility”. Players within the sport, in my view, wish that original ethos to be maintained and strengthened," he says in a discussion document being circulated prior to the WCF semi-annual meeting set for Aberdeen in December to discuss possible rule changes..

"I am aware," he continues, "that classification attempts to confirm player eligibility and then seeks to assign individual players to a sports specific class. I believe the time is right for Chief Classifier (Dr Andrew Burt) and other experienced classifiers to identify minimum disability criteria for our sport as opposed to classification on a player by player basis."

He then proposes a radical change of rule regarding participation. Teams playing under WCF rules would be forced to include more severely disabled wheelchair users, the people at present being excluded from national teams focused solely on fielding the best athletes, rather than considering encouraging participation at all levels of disability.

"Most teams currently comprise of the most able wheelchair curlers who use a wheelchair for daily mobility. In the beginning there was the opportunity for more severely disabled players to compete for national team places. As the sport has developed across the world and the quality of play has improved, the most physically able players have started to dominate," McCreadie says.

"In the absence of divisioning within the classification system tetraplegic players, players who use power wheelchairs and those with cerebral palsy will continue to be non competitive in the current open class system. I believe the time is right to introduce fairness into the sport along the lines of what currently exists in team boccie (teams comprise of at least one class 1 player). Each team should in the future include one player who qualifies for a class that is representative of more severely physically disabled players. It may be as simple as introducing two classes into the sport for all players who are eligible. Class 1 would be the open class for all eligible players. Class 2 would be for players who are tetraplegic, players who are in the advanced stages of MS, some players with cerebral palsy or players with severe upper limb weakness or limb loss etc.

"I am not an expert in this area but I am certain that experienced classifiers could come up with appropriate profiles. In speaking to fellow national and international players I believe there is support for the introduction of a two tier system of classification that encourages, develops and retains the involvement of wheelchair players with more severe physical impairments while at the same time ensuring it retains its original aim of being a sport for non ambulant players only."



It is undeniable that where teams are selected by national associations seeking the best chance for a medal in return for their financial support, wheelchair curling has become a sport geared to the most athletic. Indeed, it was specifically mandated by Canada's "Own The Podium" program, a major funder, that the selectors choose the best available athletes, and then coach them to excellence.

The question is whether that is bad for the sport, and if it is, does mandating inclusion of players of less physical strength serve a useful purpose? Michael thinks that it does.

"It's all about participation, Eric," he told me when I expressed some scepticism about his solution. "We have to avoid the idea that unless you are some super-fit paraplegic or amputee, then it's not worth trying wheelchair curling because you have no chance of being selected for representational play."

But even if one agrees that allowing coaches and selectors to exclude all but the best athletes is bad for the overall development of the sport, is creating artificial categories beyond stating minimum wheelchair usage requirements a plausible solution?

It is worth noting that Germany's 2009 World Championship bronze medalists included a third, Marcus Sieger, who because of his level of disability would probably not have been considered for Canada, or Scotland, or Norway or for any of the teams centrally selected. He won his place because Team Germany were essentially a self-selected club side. Yet it would be hard to imagine that a physically stronger draftee would have performed more valuably.

(I admit to a prejudice against classification. I don't like the idea of being defined as a smaller percentage of someone else. I'd rather be 100% me. I also suspect classifications are at best subjective and at worst corrupting.)

The actual proposal for changing eligibility, to be presented by WCF vice-President Kate Caithness at the December meeting, suggests expanding participation beyond users who require a wheelchair for daily mobility, to include anyone with (specified) significant ambulatory impairments who is unable to curl without using a wheelchair.

My response to Michael's exclusion concerns would be to set a minimum wheelchair usage requirement and do away with central selection, which is the engine of exclusion, even at the cost of financial support for the favoured few.

Allow teams to come together, and those with the ability and ambition will find the resources to fulfil their dreams. The present system makes athletes nationalistic totems, surrogates for the political ambitions of their associations or the careers of their coaches. So maybe selection wins your country a medal. A week later, who other than the athletes, their parents and their enablers, cares?

You can read the full text of Michael's document, as written, as the first comment below. A response by Judy Mackenzie follows.

USA 1 beat both Canadian visitors on Day 1 of US Open

USA 1 beat visiting Team Cameron 8-4 and Team Gregory 10-6 on the first day of the US Open in Utica, NY. Ken Gregory's Bradford ON team posted the one Canadian victory, a 9-4 win over USA II. In the remaining match USA II beat Ottawan Bruce Cameron's side 5-3.

The four teams are playing a double round robin with a final Sunday November 22nd.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

US Open begins at the Utica CC November 20

Just four teams will be competing at the US Open this weekend at the Utica CC in upstate New York.

Two USA teams, including the five players chosen to represent USA at the Paralympics, will face Team Gregory from Bradford ON and Team Cameron from Ottawa ON.

USA I - Augusto Perez (NY), James Pierce (NY), James Joseph (NY), Tammy Delano (NY). (Jacqui Kapinowski (NJ) is recovering from the flu and will not be playing in this event.)

USA II - Patrick McDonald (CA), Bob Prenoveau (NY), John Powell (TX), Dennis Williams.

Tean Bradford - Ken (Mr. TV) Gregory, Katie Paialunga, Jim Primavera, Collinda Joseph.

Team Ottawa - Bruce Cameron, Doug Morris, Jamie Eddy, Chrstine Lavallee.

The format will be double round robin, with Draw 6 scheduled for Sunday morning, followed by the final.

The small field is the result of a surfeit of November tournaments here and in Europe, forcing coaches (and funders) to choose which events to support. Great Britain, who have attended Utica in the past, this year decided to go to Ottawa's Cathy Kerr spiel the following weekend, and were not able to extend their trip to cover both events. Canada will be flying in the opposite direction, leaving next week for a tournament in Prague.

Manitobans form their own Association

Richard Dudek, Presdent of the newly formed
Manitoba Wheelchair Curling Association



Effie Loubardias, Secretary


Dennis Thiessen, Membership



Joyce Horvath, Treasurer

Wheelchair users in Manitoba will now be represented by their own MCA affiliated Manitoba Wheelchair Curling Association. Newly elected President Richard Dudek explains:

"This was done because we were at one time part of the Manitoba Wheelchair Sports Association. but in 2008 funding was deleted and we were on our own.

"We have struggled but are now a going concern. As chairperson, I have just signed an affiliation agreement with the Manitoba Curling Association. Our mandate is twofold: to create a large base of wheelchair curlers who will take part in recreational curling to begin with and then hopefully curl competitively; and to continue the competitive aspect of the sport and foster a larger number of teams working towards this goal.

"We are currently seeking sponsorship through grants and the corporate sector. it is my hope that we will be able to conduct four or five curling clinics throughout the province, and perhaps host a mid-west challenge for competitive curlers in the new year."

Richard Dudek can be reached by email at this address.

Manitoba's best known wheelchair curler is Chris Sobkowicz, who was the primary mover in starting wheelchair curling in the province. He then decided to concentrate on his involvement with Team Canada, and represented his country at the 2009 World Championships where he won a gold medal, though he did not make the 2010 Paralympic team.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Golden Ears Club hosts mixed stick spiel


Winners Tim Gabert and partner with
Rich Green and Gary Cormack


Team Korea fielded 3 teams


Team Canada back end Jim and Darryl with
event winners Tim Gabert and partner


The 3rd annual '2 on 2' Golden Stick Open Bonspiel was held at the Golden Ears Winter Club in Maple Ridge BC this weekend. 18 teams took part, including 6 wheelchair pairs. The winner was Tim Gabert and partner, seen with Jim and Darryl, and Rich Green and Gary Cormack in the photos above.

Sweden take 2009 Rolli Trophy


Sweden's skip Jalle Jungnell

(photo Yadranka)

Tomas Nordin coached Sweden beat Norway 8-2 in the final draw of the 2009 Rolli Trophy, stealing seven points in four consecutive ends and finishing top of the table with an unbeaten record.

Great Britain tied 4-4 with Bern I, fighting back with single steals in the final two ends to finish in second place. Bern I, led by the likely Swiss Paralympic team skip Manfred Bollinger, finished third.

Conditions were challenging on the weekend, with heavy ice and very large swings. Results are HERE.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How hard was that, Ken?


(TV screen capture)

Who's the guy in the wheelchair in the CCA's Start Curling television campaign?

Hint: he skipped the 2009 Ontario Provincial Champions at the Canadian Nationals last March.

Sweden beat GB, remain unbeaten at Rolli Trophy Day 2

Sweden (4-0-1) are the only unbeaten team after 5 draws at the end of the second day of play for the Rolli Trophy in Bern, Switzerland.

They handed Great Britain (4-1) their first loss, 6-5,  to head the table. Norway (2-1-2) lost to GB and drew with Bern I (2-1-2), while Germany (2-3) posted two easy wins after a shaky opening day.

Results are HERE. The competition ends tomorrow after draws at 9 and 11.30am.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bob Weeks profiles Jim Armstrong

Noted curling author Bob Weeks has a profile of Jim Armstrong in the Globe and Mail. It rehashes the same information that has been appearing in the mainstream media for several months now.

Jim told me that he'd done the interview. "Bob Weeks is a good guy," he said. "I'll be disappointed if it turns out to be only about me."

Jim has always emphasised two things abut his connection to wheelchair curling: that he's in it for the long haul, and it's not all about him.

It's understandable that editor's look for the celebrity angle, but it's a missed opportunity when a curling writer makes no effort to look beyond personality.

GB 3-0 on first day of Rolli Trophy

Michael McCreadie's Great Britain are the only team with 3 wins after the first day of the Rolli Trophy in Bern, Switzerland. Sweden tied with Norway and sit 2-0-1 while Bern I is 2-1. Germany, perhaps struggling to regroup after the excitement of their Berlin Awards ceremony, are 0-3. RESULTS HERE

"We're technically more advanced," says Canada lead


Sonja Gaudet - Canada lead
photo John Sims - Team Canada

"Our technical ability is quite advance compared to other teams,” Canada lead Sonja Gaudet told her home town newspaper The Vernon Morning Star. [read article]

Jens Jaeger's Team Germany win national award



Jens Jäger


Germany's wheelchair curling team skipped by Jens Jäger was presented with the National Paralympic Team of the Year award in Berlin, beating out teams competing in basketball and volleyball. Germany won bronze at the 2009 Worlds, beating USA with a last stone redirection that, if you haven't already seen, is worth a view


Christine Steger has replaced Astrid Hoer on the team that will compete in Vancouver in 2010.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Origins of wheelchair curling reported in Vancouver Sun

Lyndon Little, writing in the Vancouver Sun, has an informative overview of the origins and the implementation of wheelchair curling, without mentioning that it is a sport for people requiring use of a wheelchair for their daily mobility. You can read it HERE.

2-on-2 bonspiel at Golden Ears CC (BC) Nov 14-15

Twenty teams have registered for the stick bonspiel being held at the Golden Ears Winter Club in Maple Ridge, BC, this weekend. There will be three Korean teams playing as well as Jim Armstrong and Darryl Neighbour from Team Canada and several other local wheelchair curlers.

Matches are 6 ends, with 6 rocks per end. All participants must use delivery sticks. Sweeping is allowed in front of the hogline. First draw is at 9qm Saturday and games continue through midday Sunday.

Jim Armstrong talks injuries, team spirit and game calling



Jim Armstrong greets Korean skip Haksung Kim
at Richmond International - (photo John Sims - Team Canada)

"The shoulder's improving; slowly, but improving," Jim Armstrong told me this morning. "There was no question that it had to be repaired, and I was told that the rehab would take four to six months, but I didn't really buy into that. Now I am having to learn patience. We had a physio with us on our last trip and that helped and I am also doing the rehab exercises. I can push the chair. I just don't go up hills on my own. But everyone around me is being very supportive and my throwing shoulder is fine.

"This team is a great group. No egos, everyone working hard and willing to learn. I've told them that I wouldn't trade any one of them for anyone that I have seen play. Bruno stepped up in Richmond when Darryl was sick, and played really well. He had a chance in Europe to play a couple of games away from home, get over the nerves that come with playing for Canada. He was ready to step in when we needed him in Richmond. It's tough being a fifth. You have to be prepared without being anxious that you're not on the ice.

"I'm still adapting the way I call the game. The whole premise of calling without sweepers is very different. For a shot that you'd give a foot of ice for with competent sweeping, you might need two feet without that help, and then you probably add six inches because you don't want to risk scraping a guard. And that's if the throw's are accurate.

"I believe that wheelchair curling is a hitting game and will become even more so. When people tell me it's a tap-back game I say maybe, but only on straight ice and I haven't seen any of that. Some teams will attempt to play in the centre to even the odds, and take their chances.

"Korea can certainly hit and I was impressed by their technique. They'll be strong challengers in Vancouver. They just lack experience. As I tell Darryl, if there was an experience tablet you could take I'd have prescribed it already. I'm still on my own learning curve, keeping the game plan simple. When you put down the broom, and the rock's on the way, there's no help."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

8 teams contest 2009 Rolli Trophy in Bern, Switzerland



Manfred Bollinger skips Bern I
at this weekend's Rolli Trophy in Bern


The 2009 Rolli Trophy begins Friday, November 13 and features teams from Great Britain, Germany, Sweden and Norway as well as four domestic Swiss teams. Manfred Bollinger, who is expected to skip Switzerland's Paralympic team, will skip the Bern I side.

Results should be available HERE. Norway won last year's tournament, beating Bern II, with Scotland finishing third.

Canada's next game is an exhibition against Japan in Vancouver November 23rd, prior to flying to Prague for the 4th Annual Czech Open at the end of the month.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Canada take $1,000 for Richmond win


3rd Darryl Neigbour celebrates the last rock of the final - 
a tap back of Korea's red shot rock to score 3 for Canada


All photos - John Sims, Team Canada

The three most experienced teams, the only teams that had previously played together, shared the $2,000 purse on the final day of the Richmond International.

The morning semi-final between Korea (4-1) and Alberta (2-3) did not see a repeat of Korea's narrow four ends apiece 7-5 round robin win. Korea posted steals of 3 in the second and seventh ends to ease to an 11-2 victory and a place in the afternoon final.

KOR   1  3  0  0  3  1  3    11
AB     0  0  1  1  0  0  0     2

The final began with Canada taking 2, but then, sitting 2, skip Armstrong's last rock was light, giving Korean skip Haksung Kim the opportunity to throw a six second double takeout that scored 3.

Jim Armstrong hit back with a double takeout of his own to score 5 in the third. Canada then stole 2 when Korea, after a timeout, crashed a guard with their last rock. Korea fought back with one in the fifth and a steal of 2 in the sixth. In the seventh, Korea were lying 1 guarded when Armstrong tapped a Canadian stone back to displace shot stone and score 3, and the teams shook hands.

CAN   2  0  5  2  0  0  3    12
KOR   0  3  0  0  1  2  0     6

The winners received $1,000, with $600 going to Korea and $400 to Alberta.



Team Canada - 1st
Richmond International



Team Korea - 2nd


Team Alberta - 3rd

You can see more photos from the Richmond International HERE. John Sims is the media attache and photographer for Team Canada at the Paralympic Games