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    Sunday, January 18, 2009

    Team Armstrong repeat as BC Champions

    Jim Armstrong will be defending his 2008 Canadian Nationals, though this year his team of Frank LaBounty, Whitney Warren and Jackie Roy will have earned the honour on the ice rather than had it handed to them at camp.

    In the morning semi-final against Darryl Neighbour, he took 4 in the 1st and ran out a 9-6 win that was never as close as the score suggests.

    The afternoon final against unbeaten Team Austgarden was a different matter, with play in the four foot almost every end and both teams impressing the spectators with consistent draw weight.

    Armstrong stole to a 4-0 lead after 3 ends, Austgarden took 1 and then stole 2 in the 5th when Armstrong's attempt at a last rock save came up inches short of the button. It took a measurement to give Armstrong a steal of 2 in the 7th, and in the final end, down 4, Austgarden had 2 rocks counting in the back of the house with skip stones to play before Armstrong threw a takeout through a narrow port for a decisive hit and a 9-6 win.   

    Line scores are at playdowns.com

    46 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    Wow, I guess I was wrong, Jim can do it all alone. Good luck pulling that off at nationals.

    Anonymous said...

    Jim got SOME help from front end in the final....nt in the first game against gerry......In the Saturday game, Jim was lookng at a mess every end, his only point coming from an unbeievable hit and roll to the full eight foot from a rock almost in the boards.Looked like DIFFEENT TACTIC in the final, with Jim forcing the use of out-tutns to his benefit.

    Watched a couple of the gams over the weekend, and there was some great play.

    Anonymous said...

    Sems the only consistent theme to wheelchair curling this season is that wherever ARMSTRONG IS, THERE IS A WINNER....seems he is that good...

    Anonymous said...

    Eric:

    Did you get to Vernon?

    Anonymous said...

    I was told there were a numver of spectators around to watch?

    Anonymous said...

    Armstrong able to pull it off at Nationals alone? Not likely (first game against Ausgarten), but POSSIBLE!!!

    I doubt there will be any tougher teams at Natinals.

    Armstrong will have to re-group after Worlds, though, so Nationals MAY not be that important.

    Anonymous said...

    Armstrong - Daw Canadian Final??????

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

    I watched the semi-final and final and comments suggesting Jim did it all on his own are just silly.

    Frank LaBounty, especially, at 3rd was excellent.

    The semi-final was never close. Ina at 3rd struggled with draw weight and Darryl shot well below 50%, and part of that was the shots he was faced with.

    In the final the lead stones were never deep and the centre of the ice was always crowded. It was more like a skins game than the games you typically see on the TV.

    Neither side cleared the front, and indeed the draw weight of both back ends was generally pretty good.

    Despite falling behind 4-0 Gerry fought back to 4-3 and was always in the game. Even in the last end, down 4, he had 2 rocks counting back 12 and a bunch of junk up front, and it took an accurate takeout through a port for Jim to clinch the game.

    My feeling was that the final turned on Jim's experience in calling a game. He always called shots that had a high percentage for being made, and a couple of times Gerry tried or was perhaps forced into low percentage shots.

    As for concentrating on Gerry's supposedly weaker outturn, I'm not sure that happened, or if it did, was a factor in his defeat.

    I doubt Jim will have a tougher game at the Nationals, but give credit to Frank and Whitney and Jackie for sterling support.

    Anonymous said...

    I have taken that position all along, that no matter how good im is, it cannot be done alone. However, you make a good point, Eric, in that Jim's experience would shine through in the closer games. His ice-reading and tactics, as well as playing to known strenghs and weaknesses puts him (and his team) in a real advantage.

    This is where Jim will really accelerate the maturing of the Sport, and Good for him.

    You were there, Eric, did you get a chance to talk with him at any length?

    I undrstand that he is very well liked and a great guy to chat with.

    Eric Eales said...

    Yes I did get the chance to talk to him. He's a very engaging person who seems committed to promoting the long-term growth of the sport rather than the long term career of Jim Armstrong.

    He understands that Canada's chances rest on more than his shoulders. He is also aware that he has yet to experience the wheelchair game at the highest international level, and he will be unfamiliar with the teams most likely to challenge Canada for podium position.

    The question will be whether in practice, on the ice under the spotlight, he will be able to both maintain his shot making and implement the tactics we talked about at the cafeteria table - pulling hitting teams into a draw game, exploiting weakness at particular turns; subtleties that he will at least recognise.

    He strongly disagreed with my doubts that weight accuracy would ever be sufficient to avoid misses being the deciding game factor. And watching the final I must admit that draw weight was outstanding.

    We know that the Koreans (and suspect the Chinese) can shoot very high percentages, and Canada will have to get close to them before Jim's game calling can be decisive. Following that logic, it will be interesting to see whether Norway, not a high shooting percentage team, can still win.

    Anonymous said...

    Readers;

    Look I agree with most of what Eric is saying and we all must remember 1 thing. There are some very strong teams across Canada that Armstrong is going to have to face. Maybe not as tough as the Koreans but come now...Alberta, Ontario and who knows what is coming out of Newfoundland with Daw.

    Strong or not, Armstrong is good but so are so many of the other teams in Canada and players for that matter; some of which we will not even see because of playdowns like Guadet.....The sport is growing andmany people have influence the game as it has developed..Jim Armstrong is just another one of the steps in development, win or lose let's not lose insight in regards to all the players of wheelchair curling in the strongest wheelchair curling country...CANADA!

    Anonymous said...

    I don't think that anyone, Armstrong included is saying that the Canada's or B.C.'s chances are solely in the hands of Jim. What is being said, that, if Canada can produce a competitive shotmaking team, that Armstrong is the extra ingrerdient (since NO COUNTRY OR PROVINCE) enjoys a player of his calibre and understanding, that can push u over the top. Everything said about the guy also suggests that there is no ego or negative "x factor" that come sith him....he is simply a very talented an intelligent guy that happens to be very good at what he does.

    Anonymous said...

    Can you imagine if the CCA did not incorporate the rule that disallows Team Canada members to play together?

    What a powerhouse from B.C........

    Armstrong
    Neighbour
    Forrest
    Austgarten or Cormack
    Gaudet or Roy


    A dynasty that will never be allowed......

    The Canadian championship would be a mockery

    Anonymous said...

    Well, no, he Canadian Championship would not be a mockery, since any curling powerhouse will still lose the odd game, and they simply hope it doesn't come at the wrong time. That said, I wouldn't like the Las Vegas odds of Armstrong and the Team Canada horde losing......

    Quite an enviable situation that B.C. finds itself.....

    Anonymous said...

    I posted some time ago, questioning Jim Armstrong's ability, since he has only played a little over a year.........obviously, I was wrong......

    So, now, the next question, obviousy ignoring his experience, is how did he get better than all, or virtually all players so quickly?

    I just don't get it.

    Anonymous said...

    I talked to Jim in Vernon, as well.

    He is very smart (well, a dentist, so no surprise), very articulate, very knowledgeable about curling generally and wheelchair curling specifically. He doesn't pretend to have all the answers, and points out that with our sport being so new, it is what he calls, a "work in progress".

    He is so approachable and unassuming, with our sport's interest at heart, I genuinely believe. Obviously, if it is ego to stroke, then as our sport improves, there will be more bragging ringts.

    He is simply a great ambassador for our sport, and I would love to see the CCA retain him as a national promoter.

    I understand Chris Daw actually held a position similar to this with the CCA.

    Keep up the good work, Jim!

    Anonymous said...

    Let's see....Chris Daw as a paid ambassador, or Jim Armstrong?

    Anonymous said...

    Okay, I have a lot to say but won't make it to long.

    First off, I have had the pleasure of seeing most of the curlers in canada. I have also met and seen Jim Play, not much but I have. And I do agree, he is a good curler. But curling has never been a one man show, not when we won the Gold, never. Curling is a team sport, ever player has different strengths on the team. But each player is just as much of the team as the other players.

    Jim is a good player, but he is not the GOD of this sport, no one is. There are players all over Canada who get pushed aside, who don't even get a chance to play or get looked at, who work their butts off in this sport, work behind the seens and just get put on the back burners. This country has the biggest population of wheelchair curlers and it only grows everyday, yet for some reason only ONE person is getting looked at, no one is giving credit to those who got this sport to the place it is, no one see's anything but Jim.... how fair is that to the rest of the wc curlers in Canada. It is funny how all the focus is on BC, last I checked this was a canadian sport not a sport from just BC. What happened to players in ontario getting a true look at for team canada, or players from any other province?

    Why is it no one can see this sport for what it truely is, and only focus on one thing? Jim!

    Why is it no one from any other province gets recongized for what they do in this sport, the time they put in, the effort, or the hours they train, why isn't anyone else picked to talk about wc curling, or interviewed about this sport, we want this sport to grow, and the only thing that is happening is wc are getting turned off this sport because of the lack of focus on other good players in Canada.

    I hope someone "higher" up there gets that this is a canadian sport, we are suppose to support each and every team players in our country, not just ONE!!! How about great job to every other curler that went to playdown or is going, good try, and thanks for playing our sport.

    Anonymous said...

    I hear what the last poster is saying, and also wonder what gold medal which he/she won was?

    I think that media tend to gravitate towards known interviews, the person they know will articulate well, respond appropriately, and give a good interview with little prompting. They also look for somenone with an interesting history, as well as someone who the public can indentify with a certain sport, and has been seen many times.

    Ergo, Jim Armstrong. Unfortunate, perhaps, but he does fill all the necessary criteria for being a good, and easy inerview.

    I have watched him many times, have not seen him sumble with an interview. He gets his point across, and fortunately for us, it is the promotion of the sport, not him.

    He has provided media attention to wc curling that otherwise simply would not have occurred.

    Be thankful we get the coverage, since if it wasn't for Armstrong, there would certainly be a lot less media attention.

    He doesn't seek the media, they find him. I am sure Eric would agree.

    Anonymous said...

    I understand your position. However, other than Chris Daw (and its inherent potential PR issues), Jim Armstrong is, bar none, the most media noteworthy individual we have. Be thankful he presents well, since he brings publicity we would never have dreamt of without him.

    Food for thought.

    Anonymous said...

    So, now back to the obvious question:

    He has only been playing a year, I understand his advantage with strategy, but HOW GOOD IS HE?

    We have tons of people that have played for over 6 years, yet it seems he could just toss them aside if he chose.

    I see no advantage to him throwing from a chair, yet it seems he is that much better.......

    Thank God he seems like a good guy

    Anonymous said...

    Okay there are things here that are very true, Jim may be a good speaker, and that's great. But Like I said why only Jim, there are others in canada that could speak for this sport, who know just as much about this sport but they aren't given the oppurtunity.Why?

    There are many issue's with this sport as well.
    1.WC is a sport for individuals that are disable in some way which does not allow them to play able bodied sports, and yes I get that Jim has bad knee's, and yes he has been classified BUT....... he can still walk, everyday, he could chose to throw with a stick from a standing position. So all those curlers who have no choice,he is taking the oppurtunity away from there, no matter how good of a curler he is!
    2. Again, like I stated before, how about all those other players in canada that no one even takes a look at, who aren't allowed to even go to a training camp to get looked at, who decides that??? Or why isn't there an open selection camp for those who think they are good enough could go show their skills, not only for skip position but every other position on the team?
    3. I have seen Daw's name come up a few times, what are the issues there, he hasn't been around team canada in a couple years now, not that I have seen at least? What is so wrong with him?? He won the Gold with his team did he not?? Should we not be in support of him for that, god only knows the rest of team canada is.

    Anyways, I could go on forever, but interested in what people have to say.......

    Remember, this is a team sport..... Not an individual one, Jim wants it to be all about him, then by all means, go to a sport that the attention could be on him, and give credit to those who are good, who do try, and do promote this sport in there provinces!

    Anonymous said...

    The earlier poster is right that the sport is way more than Jim Armstrong. However, Jim has drawn way more media coverage, both before and since his approval to play.

    He has been a good ambassador for our sport, and I am sure will continue to do so.

    Anonymous said...

    In an earlier thread it indicated that Gerry Peckham or the Team Canada coaches simply have to be contacted if you or your coach thinks you are ready for a look.

    I understand that 2009 is obviously a done deal, but 2010 Team Canada remains open.

    Anonymous said...

    Whoa...to the blogger questioning Jim Armstrong's eligiblity.

    This is a dead issue....fully approved by the WCF.

    You can have an issue with Jim, but not his eligibility. There are a lot of world (and Canadian) players that don't "live" in their chair.

    The WCF know that the rule is flawed, and Eric, in my opinion has provided a rule that should be embraced by the WCF.

    I have not seen Jim seeking media attention, but rather they seek him. Do you think it would serve our sport better by him ignoring the media opportunities? Be thankful we have the coverage which will help the exposure we so desperately need.

    As was indicated above, if you or your coach think you are ready for a look, contact Peckham, or Joe Rea, or Wendy Morgan.

    I am sure they would welcome more real talent.

    Anonymous said...

    I cannot believe there is a snipe at eligibility, yet again......what does Jim, and the WCF, for that matter need to do to satisfy you naysayers?


    If you don't agree with the decision, contact the CCA or the WCF, but rest assured you will now be wasting your time. This issue has been literally beaten to death.

    I now believe that the WCF are happy with their decision, given the media attention the Sport is starting to enjoy.

    Live with it or quit.

    Anonymous said...

    Remember that there is a difference between...

    Eligibility vs. Disablity

    He may be eligiable but he is NOT DISABLED!!!!

    Remeber that, wait until Russ Howard knee surgery does that mean he will be playing next?????

    Anonymous said...

    Jim Armstrong, I hope, will remain a part of our sport for the forseeable future.

    We have enjoyed a much higher profile these past two seasons, in no small part to his presence.

    Enjoy what he will do for all participants in the long term, and support him and our sport for future benefit. I cannot see any downside in his participation.

    What say you, Eric?

    Eric Eales said...

    I think that any process where lines are attempted between acceptable and unacceptable disability are inherently corruptible and corrupting. That's not to say that anyone involved in the current Team Canada selection process is not doing what they feel to be in the best interests of the sport in Canada. But I would ask this question: Would Jim have been invited to play had not the Paralympics been in Vancouver and Team Canada been desperate for a skip and even more desperate to gain the podium?

    I like Jim, I think he will be good for the sport in the long term, and I think that without him, Canada's prospects for a medal would be no better this year than last.

    Gerry and Gary are decent people but neither of them inspired confidence at skip. That may have changed over the nest two years but I think the CCA had too much on the line to take the chance, and jumped at the prospect of Jim playing.

    Opposition to Jim caught both Jim and the CCA completely by surprise and they still do not understand where it comes from or accept its validity. They see it as mere negativity, which is a mistake.

    On the other hand the constant whining that "he's not disabled enough" is a crip mindset that gets on my nerves.

    Canadian wheelchair curlers have only themselves to blame for buying into the present system when it was obvious to some of us that central selection was just another way of saying your opinion doesn't count.

    Had curlers stood up for equal treatment when this ball started rolling, had they been willing to insist on being treated just like regular curlers, had they been willing to raise their own resources and not been looking for someone else to do everything for them back when the sport was getting started, then things would be different now.

    There's something very Canadian about wanting someone else to come along and rescue things.

    Wheelchair curlers in Canada have had their hands held and their bills paid, and the price they are paying is having no say in how the sport is arranged.

    And that is not going to change this side of 2010. There's too much money at stake, too much national prestige and too many reputations and careers on the line.

    After 2010, if the curlers are determined enough and prepared to accept the consequences of independence, there is a chance that things will change. By that time, Jim probably will require a wheelchair for his daily mobility, as the rules clearly and unambiguously state. At that point I would want him on my side.

    I would make wheelchair curling a sport where people curl from wheelchairs and leave it at that. Parsing degrees of disability is a fruitless exercise and one that will always be more trouble than its worth. Instituting rules to protect "people of disability" is a mistake. I think that there is a place for quads on wheelchair curling teams. Chris Rees in Ontario and Frank LaBounty in BC and others are showing that you can be an excellent curler as a quad - though maybe not at last rocks.

    If change does happen, though, the curlers can expect to be treated as ingrates, so they had better be prepared to organise and support each other.

    Anonymous said...

    Well, Eric:

    Generally points well said. I do feel that everyone should keep in mind that Jim's involvement and play has been approved by the WCF who, generally have no interest nor appetite for anything that Canada wants.

    He has been assessed under the present rules, he has been approveed by THE ONLY ASSESSOR in the world, thus the only common thread relating to assessment over the years. There can be NO AMBIGUITY when only one assessor is used, and Jim is eligible.

    Ask Whitney or Frank....Whitney was one of the critics until he met Jim and discussed his disability. I know his physical issues go far beyond knee prostheses, but no one even asks.

    End of story.

    Anonymous said...

    How do we continually get back to Jim's eligibility?

    He is eligible, he will play, because he certainly is good enough, and as a Canadian, let's embrace him and the rest of our Team and wish them well next month.

    I, for one, would be embarassed to have the curling community think we are as petty as we appear.

    As you say, Eric, get past the "crip" mentality, and let's get on with making our sport everything it can be.

    Anonymous said...

    Eric, are you suggesting that until 2111, Jim should be ineligible? You have met him, so what say you?

    Anonymous said...

    Man, if you want response, mention Armstrong in pretty much any context, and WHAM

    Anonymous said...

    No doubt, the topic of Jim is always something to talk about it seems.

    Comment:

    I think Jim is a asset to this team, I do think that after 2010 he should coach this team, I think his knowledge would be usefull, but we still need to give everyone a fair chance, and only inviting 11 players from canada to be a part of this selection is bull...... It should be open to whomever thinks they have a shot, and not only be judged by wendy morgan and joe rae, they can "make" the scores whatever they want!!! There should be a panel of people who make the selection after seeing people from all over the country. We are relying on two people who are close friends, who happen to be close friends with everyone on team canada to select our team?? So if you don't get a long with them, or they just don't like you, how do you have a fair chance at being on this team, or even trying out? If they agree they do not like you then they will make the marks come out in their favor!!!

    The system for selection in canada needs to be relooked at, and once every player who thinks they are good enough try out, and they have a panel of more than two (who are friends) look at them, we will know who can make the team, until then... you better suck up to the coaches or your not going far in professional sports for wc curling.

    Bruce Cameron said...

    The comments made by the poster who has seen most of the WC curlers in Canada can be respected as opposed to those made by the "left" coasters who when they look east can not see over the mountains.

    Eric, if Gerry Peckham did not have the position he holds with the CCA, his buddy Jim Armstrong would not be a wheelchair curler today....it is that simple and has nothing to do with the fact the 2010 Paralymics are in Vancouver.

    People's memories are very short as they very quickly pass judgement on an individuals ability or lack thereof. In 2007 Darryl Neighbour skipped the same team that Jim Armstrong skipped in 2008 and they both won the Canadian Championship. With Jim Armstrong skipping they won the 2009 BC championship. Can not someone give credit to the team members and not just constantly ragging on and on and on about how good they think Jim Armstrong is? Lets hear it for Frank, Whitney and Jackie.....lets not forget Darryl.......he is also a Canadian Champion.

    Anonymous said...

    On a more interesting topic tan eligibility, Jim, as the only memeber of Team Canada on the B.C. team, has some interesting choices for a fifth player.

    Who have they picked? I wonder who Gerry would have taken?

    Anonymous said...

    Why does Manitoba and BC have their playoffs so early?

    Now, teams that participated have nothing to work towards for the rest of the season, and the Nationals are very late in the season.

    Anonymous said...

    Come on, Bruce:

    ou are comparing apples and oranges, when yu try to compare National Championships.

    Look at the number of teams now than a couple of short years ago.

    Times are changing dramatically and quickly, and with it the competitiveness of the sport.

    You cannot deny that Jim Armstrong has helped accelerate the improvement, and will continue to do so.

    Is it a team sport? Absolutely.

    Does Jim add aspects to the game that would have been literally years developing? Absolutely.

    Congrats to the ENTIRE B.C. team, but don't yu think that Frank, Whitney and Jackie enjoy and appreciate playing with Jim?

    Ask them.

    Anonymous said...

    I have to agree with the poster that suggests the selection system is flawed.

    Unfortunately, there will ALWAYS be dissatisfaction with any selection process, but when looking at this year's Team Canada, one has to concede they seem to have gotten it pretty well right.

    It will not change before 2010, and I suspect this comes as no surprise.

    Let's advocate for change post 2010, and let the Canadian champion challenge Team Canada for the right to go to the Worlds.

    Let's advocate for Jim Armstrong to be on the coaching staff.

    But let's start now, so we can see some change by 2011.

    Let's ensure that there is healthy conversation about our future at the Canadian championships.

    Let's appoint or elect a Player representative to present our suggestions, rather than simply bitch on a blog.

    Now let's really hear some comments.

    Anonymous said...

    The poster's suggestion regarding change is bang on the money, and this forum is a great place to initiate dialogue.

    I completely agree with the proposal regarding a challenge to Team Canada.

    Perhaps a best of three play-off?

    Anonymous said...

    The blogger who suggests abolishment of the select team by a challenge is bang on.

    Having a player to represent the competitive player to the CCA is also the right idea.

    But who has the strength to be heard by the CCA?

    Look out....you know it is coming.....the only player that would have our sport's interest at heart and has experience in this arena.....is......you guessed it.......Jim Armstrong!

    Anonymous said...

    Finally....a thread with a positive and constructive spin....let's hear other comments............

    Al said...

    Oh Please....remember that Chris Daw has been all of what you folks have been asking for. He has beening doing it for a long time. He has asked for player representation, he is the won that approached and obtained the TSX funding, he has recruited a ton of players including help programs in Northern Ont. Sask., MAN. Que. Halifax and Newfoundland. Working on New Bruns, Pei. Yukon.

    Far to many of you forget what he has done for the sport including help Jim when he first got started.

    I know alot of you may not think much of him but I met him and worked with him and he has work his ASS Off for this sport and I will say more then Jim has!

    He is not the same guy he was....

    He is a 3 time Canadian Champion, Paralympic Gold Medlist, Athlete rep for both Olympic and Paralympic Athletes. He spoke up to both Joe and Wendy and Gerry P. for that matter and look what he got ....Tossed aside, forgotten and hated by some.

    Let's remember who forged that path to where we are...... a very deicated person who when asked has given is all...

    Let's presurre him into giving us the real answer to why he left....I bet it would surprise alot of you and I personally have spoke to him about it and it was NOT that he was going to be replaced.

    Anonymous said...

    I, too, would like to hear the real reasons for his leaving. I am also sure there are two complete sides to the issue, and both should be aired.

    Anonymous said...

    Obama preaches transparency, maybe Daw and the CCA could as well.

    Cou7ld be an interesting read, Eric.