Sunday, March 29, 2009

2009 TSX Wheelchair Curling Championship Wrap-up

BC celebrated their third successive national title, with Jim Armstrong's rink of Frank LaBounty, Whitney Warren and Jackie Roy repeating their 2008 success to claim the 2009 TSX Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship. They beat Alberta 6-4 but the championship was not decided until the last rock was thrown.

Alberta, with Jack Smart at skip, Bruno Yizek at 3rd, Martin Purvis at 2nd and Bridget Wilson at lead, had beaten Manitoba in the morning semi-final 7-4 in a game that was not as close as the score suggests, Up 7-1 after 5 ends, they were happy to limit Manitoba to three points before running them out of rocks for the win. You can read our call of the game below.

If you were one of the many blog commenters who felt that BC, with their world championship skip, would have an easy path to the championship, you would have been wrong. Alberta began the final with a steal, with Jim Armstrong able only to limit the damage to 2 with his last rock. In the second, a lovely draw top 4 through a narrow port by Frank LaBounty for shot, was followed by an equally good Alberta tap of a front stone that limited BC to 1.

In the third, Jim Armstrong played awonderful angle raise to the button that stole a point and in the fourth, BC were first into the rings behind a rockpile out front. Alberta skip Jack Smart's attempt to retrieve the situation with a hit and stick for one, crashed allowing BC to steal 2 and go into the break up 4-2.

In the fifth, with Alberta sitting shot, BC tried a raise takeout that missed, but Alberta were unable to capitalise when their wide comearound for a second point was light. In the sixth Jack Smart tapped an Alberta stone into the four foot and it was BC's turn to be light on a draw, leaving the teams tied at 4.

Alberta succeeded in holding BC to one in the seventh and had hammer coming home. Jackie Roy draw to the button and Alberta's lead stone stopped top 4. Whitney Warren froze to shot stone and there was a succession of stones stopping short of the house. With skip stones to go, both teams used their time outs, BC throwing guards and Alberta trying to clear a way through to shot stone. Armstrong's final guard left Alberta with a yellow onto yellow onto blue onto shot stone yellow to sit two blue and win the game. He almost pulled it off, missing by no more than an inch.

Alberta coach Tony Zummack said afterward; "You play all week, through three playoff games, and it comes down to one shot and one inch." But he was proud of the way his team performed, and Martin Purvis, the alternate, who was thrown in at the last minute when Anne Hibberd was unable to travel, more than justified his selection.

For BC it was a nail-biting win but a deserved one. They had been played tough by Alberta, and were not always able to keep the front open as per game plan, but at the end of the final it was Alberta who was chasing. Coach Melissa Soligo said the last three rocks had been agonizing, but once again Team BC, this year chosen through a playdown rather than coach selected, proved they are still the team to beat.

At the evening banquet, Nova Scotia lead Nicole Durand, looking very glamorous in a red evening gown, was presented with the Sportsmanship Trophy, voted by all the curlers.

The All-Star team was kept secret from everyone until the banquet, with statistics from the final two draws withheld until the announcement. All positions were won by less than 2 percent. First up at lead was Bridget Wilson, followed by Martin Purvis at second and Bruno Yizek at third, all from Team Alberta. Manitoba's Chris Sobkowicz was the All-Star skip..

Though most people associate me with the blogging, it would not have been possible without my wife Cate's sterling work at the keyboard and her admonitions to stay focused and not be distracted by the constant stream of kibitzers passing by. Gord Stockdale, the head official was always in our corner, insisting that coaches and volunteers and even the local television cameraman not block our view of the action. And a special thanks must go to the coaches and players throughout the week who were always willing to share information and answer questions.

We couldn't have done this without everyone's cooperation in especially tight quarters, and we thank everyone who helped, from Stewart who went off to buy us 200 feet of much needed Ethernet cable, to organizing committee chair Trendal (Hubbly-Bubbly) Hubley-Bolivar who was a constant presence, and not forgetting Ian Readey for his fabulous photos.

Finally thanks to all our blog readers, especially those who took the time to express their appreciation for what we do. Wheelchaircurling.com and the blog are dedicated to making wheelchair curling the winter recreation of choice for wheelchair users, and your support makes the effort worthwhile.

126 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Team BC....I find it odd that Alberta takes three all-star positions, and Manitoba the other, while BC outright wins the round robin, the Paige 1-2 game, and the final.....the last three games all against Alberta......Do ya think that Armatrong was looking at tougher shots, with a higher degree of difficulty (not accounted for in stats)?

I was always hearing about him having to continually bail out the situation he was left by, in particular his second and third.


NEVER have I seen an all-star team without two members of the winning team.....HOW DID THET WIN?????

I understand Jim had one bad game, where he didn't bail out his team, and that was their only loss in the week.

Congrats to Team BC and particularly Jim Armstrong

Anonymous said...

All-Star selection was done on the basis of round robin play only.

Anonymous said...

Same issue.....BC outright wins the round robin.......with no allstars

Anonymous said...

All star selection does not necessarily reflect the impact of players. That is why at the Brier, they now name an impact player....For instance, a lead of a team that is getting kicked time after time, will have to simply throw short rocks, and get a great percentage, while a team in a tight game will require a lead to throw tap-backs, come-arounds,etc. Simiarly, and I am sure in this instance, BC's second and third struggled, leaving skip with tough shots that are either made or missed, regardless of degree of difficulty.

Anonymous said...

So BC, Armstrong did what they had to do to win......congratulations, and to Jim, WHAT A SEASON!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't think we will ever see the accomplishments of Jim Armstrong in one season, ever again.....A world championsip and a Canadian championship, with different teams.

Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

Once again, enjoy the media fall-out of Jim Armstrong.......without his presence, we would nave not had any media coverage. Luv him hate him (God kows why), he bring a promotional factor that cn not be close to evaluated.....He has always been the best ambassador that we could dream of.....what do you think. Eric, and for that matter, Collinda?

I understand that the Big Guy was once again, the Poster Boy of promotion.............

Anonymous said...

Surely every stakeholder (from sponsors to participants) understand what he does for the sport.......

Congratulations to Jim and his team, I just hope Whitney and Frank understand, that as multiple winners, they have had "extra help" with the professionalism of Jim Armstrong...and, no, you are not yet ready for Team Canada....thank the Big Guy for what he has done for you......

Enjoy it , but you should not be on Team Canada

Anonymous said...

Hey, Collinda....the last slam at Jim was from you before anyone was aware of his Back disability...what say you now????

William B. said...

One Second!!!!

Ever again, see what Jim has done. Chris Daw gained a National Championship and a Paralympic Gold in one season and no cried hurray for him.

Jim is the second guy to go down a trail that was all ready gone down. Let's not forget those who came before him and accomplished just as much, NO MORE then he has.

Collinda said...

Hey Anonymous!

Chicken to put your name down?! Check your information. I was not the last one to write about the inclusion of Jim in wheelchair curling program. AND if you read what I wrote carefully - I said that there is no doubting Jim's ability to curl and to call the game. What I was critical of was the way that Jim got into the program. I also wonder if you paid attention to the scores of the national championships - Jim didn't curl 100% nor did anyone else. He played well, as did many other curlers. But he wasn't perfect. In fact, our team was the only team to beat him in round robin play.

And as another blogger stated, Chris Daw also won a national championship and a Paralympic championship in the same year. Let's put all this into perspective and not get so hung up on one individual doing so much for this sport. Many of us are being interviewed in newspapers, radio, television and working hard in our own provinces to advance the sport of wheelchair curling. Jim's not doing this all on his own and he would probably be the first to admit this. AND wheelchair curling was around before Jim Armstrong arrived - AND it will continue to grow once Jim Armstrong has left the sport!

Anonymous said...

william B...You may be TECHNICALLY correct, but with the level of play at that point, MOST National participating teams could have accomplished the same thing.

The specially unique part of Jim's accomplishment is that it wasdone with entirely different teams.

Eric Eales said...

I'm getting a little tired of the straw man argument that Jim Armstrong is resented, or that there's a refusal to acknowledge his contributions to wheelchair curling. Neither statement is true, so if that's all you have to say, you will have to find another forum.

Anonymous said...

Right on, Eric.....

Jim has no eligibility issues, and you cannot disallow him because of his expertise. Period.

William B. said...

Listen;

You all can not remain blind sided by Jim. Yes; he has done alot but no more then the rest of the wheelchair curlers.

As for those who easily forget. Daw won 3 back to back championships, with 3 different teams 3 different coaches and won a silver and bronze at Worlds. No it may not a World championship but look at the in between. 3 World Cups, etc. etc. and not to forget the Paralympic title.

He laid the ground work for so many of the rest of you to follow including Jim. Fact is he was the one who helped Jim get started!!!!!

Yes, Jim is doing alot for the sport but come on, give some credit where credit is due.

I saw Daw last week play with a very weak and in expereiced team and he alone keep Newfoundland in all the games. The scores may not show it but they were way closer then they show or people expected.

Jim was never really challeged until the end game at which point BC almost screwed that up.

Look around people.....there is more then one great wheelchair curler out there.

And by the way, Chris Daw should be give a serious look at coming back to Team Canada....he has the experence, the ability and him added with Jim, Darryl and Ina would make for a Team I don't see being beating any time! EVER!

Let's look at what is right in front of us, but the right people togehter and forget the past, forget the present and look to the future and Own the pOdium in 2010

Anonymous said...

So why isn't Chris Daw still with Jim/Team Canada?Everyone knows it is not Chris's throwing ability...

Anonymous said...

Simply put, I believe it is the non-technical issues that have Chris on the sidelines. God knows, Team Canada could use one more thrower.

Anonymous said...

So, William B.,

Team Canada 2010 should be named shortly.....who should it be........

Anonymous said...

God knows team canada needs one more thrower?? did you look at the stats from the worlds.. Is team canada suppose to do better then being the world champions top 2second, second at lead etc... does anyone out there think the coaches picked the right team .... the sport is growing in leaps and bounds and everyone is getting a chance to play, we need to embrace it not turn it into minor hockey politics...........

Anonymous said...

Still need to choose a team o represent us.....

Anonymous said...

Chris S. could be at risk of being replaced, or will we go with two women on the startng lin-up?

Anonymous said...

If Daw can be controlled by Armstrong, he would make a great second for Team Canada

Anonymous said...

I think Mr. Daw has burned too many bridges with the present staff

Anonymous said...

I think Jim could control Chris, and get the best out of him....I can`t see Jim moving his now sidekick Darryl aside to make room for Chris, and I doubt Chris`s ego would let him play front end.

William B. said...

Oh Please;

Did you even take the time to talk to the guy ever.

I did....maybe you should all do that and think again.

I spoke with him and trust me, he was huge regrets, has apologized to ever one he can for his actions, etc.

This is not the same guy, he is married, gets along with ever one I saw and is very humble in his life and approaches to the sport.

As he put it, he is just happy to remain involved in what ever way he is allowed.

Come on people....let's get over the past , we all screw up....give this guy a second chance ...it would be good for the country....

no one else brings as much experience as Daw other then Armstrong.

Ina,
Chris D,
Darryl
Jim
and Sonja

would be an unbeatable team.

Maybe Daw is not the one with the ego problem. Look at the staff, are they really doing what is right. I understand that unless Chris S. had pulled himself that Sonja was not going in , and look how that could have been.

Is Joe really coaching any more, I think not Jim does more of that then Joe ever has.

Thoughts......

Anonymous said...

I think you are on the right path, William.

I suspect Chris D would help from the promotional aspect as the guy who "hands the baton" to the new skip, and it would appear, friend, with no animosity or regret...simply an improvement to the team.

For what I understand of the political issues, Chris certainly did burn some bridges, but it DOES appear that he has really turned the attitude around.

If he is EVER going to get back to Team Canada, it best be while im is there, since I would suspect he is the only guy that can control Chris and DEMAND his respect for the betterment of the TEAM. One thing for sure, Jim will not allow ANYONE to interfere with His team, and, I believe that is the way it is.

As for coaching, I can see that Jim has his flavour on all aspects of the Team, but I still think that Joe gets the "final say"....could likely be only with Jim's blessing.....

I know Joe respects Jim's on and off ice persona...has been that way for many years.

It is a unique situation when the skip has more experience than the coach......but I cnnot imagine Jim simply taking over the Team.

That said, it is this unique scenario that may give Chris D a chance, since with merely the same staff as before, too much water under the bridge...too many scars....NONE of WHICH Jim had to endure, so no pre-conceived notions.

THAT said, oe and Jim go back to competitive able-bodied days, and I am sure they have had very candid conversations.

I do hope Chris does get another look.

Long-winded response, but ir actually is important enough since it does affect a life.

I would be interested in other people's thoughts

Anonymous said...

I think Chris D deserves another shot. He has put in a "two year suspension" for stupidity. That is almost like a drug ban!

Anonymous said...

I doubt anyone within the decision making circle will risk bring Chris back right before 2010. WHY SHOULD THEY? They just won the Worlds with a skip that is only going to get better with a team that he can nurture along, and improve them, as well. In fact, if I was the CCA, I would reject any suggestion to take any risk with such a move. They have invested a ton of money, and finally, have a result. Leave it be.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I have to agree. Big Chris was master of his own destiny, found out he wasn't bigger than the Program, and now has his consequence. Maybe post-2010, but definitely not now.

I doubt even Jim's influence, if so desired, would not get him back immediately.

Anonymous said...

They are not going to tinker with a world championship team, the memories of the year have been great, the success of all wheel chair curlers has been great and from the coaching staff of all teams to the reporting on blogs from Eric and Company the 2008/9 season has been fantastic. The future will only be brighter.

Anonymous said...

Give Chris a shot. He is proven in pressure situations, which is what Jim and Joe are looking for, as the final missing piece....I would suggest that this experience is what Chris S. was lacking at the Worlds.

Anonymous said...

Well, with all respect, this year's world championship was a likely unexpected pleasant surprise for CCA.

They have maintained all along that pre-2010 was "work in progress", with everything geared to Paralympics. Peckham's buddy delivered ahead of schedule, but he has to do it again next year, and I am sure Jim wil be looking for the best support staff available, and therein lies a longshot chance for Chris D, replacing Chris S.

Anonymous said...

So, Eric, when will Team Canada be finalized?

I think pretty much everyone has accepted a chosen team for 2010, so who will it be?

I hear Wayne Ficek was very vocal about Team Canada in Halifax.

Anonymous said...

I heard about Wayne's rant when they were awarded the Ontario - N.Ontario trophy....I didn't hear if it was sincere.

Comments from someone that was there?

Eric Eales said...

My understanding is that Team Canada will be announced late this year when everyone on the high performance squad has been given a chance to show their form. Each of the 8 members have been told they start from scratch and each can press their claim to a place.

If Chris Daw could put up the sort of numbers (70& or more in the drills) then presumably he would warrant another look, all other things being equal, which they rarely are. Certainly Gerry Austgarden and Gary Cormack and Bruno Yozek will be anxious to press their claim.

It will be very interesting to see who gets carded in the cycle that begins in July.

In my opinion, and I have no inside knowledge, the open position is at lead/alternate with Chris S, Gerry, Gary and Bruno competing for the slot if no one else at the Nationals caught the scouts eye. But a lot could change in the next eight months - illness, family commitments, loss of form, so it's not a done deal.

While Canada is probably way ahead of any other national program in resources, available talent and skill at skip, a gold medal will come down to performance on a given day, and wheelchair curling remains a game of misses. You can try but I doubt you can coach or spend that entirely away.

Anonymous said...

Great point, Eric:

I agree, that FOR 2010, it will turn around Jim, for all the right reasons, which, by now, I trust is a non-issue.

If you accept that premise, he will automatically choose his Tonto, Darryl, at third.

Provide Ina as a front-end stalwart, and we have two spots remaining.

Sonja, in my opinion, proved her worth as front-end/alternate, and then there was one spot......

Eric, let's get a new thread on Team Canada...I cannot believe they will leave the team unannounced through next fall....how many bodies to compete in Europe next season?

in 2007, they sent all thirteen (ironically, not Jim) to Europe in various line-ups.....I hope we will spend funds now fine-tuning, not evaluating.

Even Jim will benefit from more competition.

Anonymous said...

Eric, you suggest wild-card issues, which may negate a player...any inside knowledge???

Anonymous said...

Very insightful, Eric.....sure you have no inside knowledge? Not accusing, just would like to know what is fact and what is conjecvture.....

Anonymous said...

SAW this thread earlier...who would be TC 2009? They won, with or without a hiccup.

Let's start at a championship squad, and fine-tune.

Cannot be an issue at back-end (MAYBE DAW?????), and let's build from there, keeping the back-end happy.....

Anonymous said...

Okay, Eric:

You suggest that us bloggers that chose BC were right, but only marginally.

The fact is that Armstrong performed, could not do more, other than go undefeated, with a team that probably should not go undefeated...

Give him credit where credit is due....BC likely could have made a win in the field easy by playing Darryl, but for whatever reason, kept the competition competitive.

Good for Melissa and Jim, and congrats for doing it in such a way.

Anonymous said...

Look out next season, the rest of the World

Anonymous said...

Is there any real chance that Daw will be reconsidered????

Anonymous said...

Not this side of hell freezing over or the current team in charge being hit by flying pigs.

His place on the team was based on his ability as skip in a group without a replacement. His draw game was always his weakness, and this time round he would have to compete on his shooting ability, and not his physical presence.

Doesn't really matter whether he is a changed person or not, it's what have you done for me lately, and the answer to that is - not a lot.

Chris Daw said...

Well;

Most interesting the comments yet again,

funny how those which are most vocal with the comments are still not willing to sign a name to it.

I guess that will happen when pigs fly 2.

Anonymous said...

The joy of anonymity is its spontaneity.

Chris, you have a fork in you, and you created your own issues when you should have opened your eyes and not your mouth.......that fork says that you, sir, are done like dinner.

Anonymous said...

Come on, if Armstrong is prepared to give him a shot, how about it?

I think, if his head has been rehabilitated, his shooting could help Team Canada

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I don't think Jim is in this to be a babysitter. Team Canada is HIS team, and he will be protective of it, as he was in the able-bodied game. He will require commitment from all players, and in return will commit to keep everyone focused.

Right or wrong, Chris D. would be too big a potential distraction.

Anonymous said...

Have the coaches or Jim been approached about bringing Chris back?

Anonymous said...

Jim is Chris's best (and,likely, only) shot........Maybe Jim should be asked.

Anonymous said...

Okay, people, let's get real.

Team Canada 2009, ignore it or not, have not hit the podium since 2006, when they backed into Gold (good on them).

Peckham recruits Jim Armstrong, needing some help with leadership...Chris Daw has caused so many issues, that no one will play with him.

They bring in Jim, no one really knows the extent of his disability, and gets axed by the WCF in 2007.

They reapply, with Jim showing up for evaluation, in 2008.

Meanwhile, Daw has "resigned" for personal issues in late 2007, likely to maintain his carding.

Once Jim has been approved for play, Daw is completely replaced by Armstrong, with Armstrong not bringing any of the headaches and interaction caused by the last few years.

Armstrong now leads the Team, no politics, and a dream for Coach Rea ......therefore, what do you think of Daw's chances?

Anonymous said...

Chris:

Your future lies with Jim, and quite simply, having won the Worlds this year, without you, your options are limited at best, and even if Jim wants you, his bargaining is limited.

Your stock looked way better when Team Canada could not hit the podium in the past few years.

One year with Armstrong, and it is a new world.

Anonymous said...

Chris.....unfortunately, for you, Jim landed.

Your stock as a skip, good or bad, was reduced to zero, with Jim providing experience only dreamt of, and no baggage, in fact, to the contrary, Jim simplifies Joe's job, to yhe point that he probably does not even have to travel all the time with the team.

Their "unexpected" win this year cemented the team, and, unfortunately,it does not include you.

Chris Daw said...

Well, interesting perspectives....

That you for you insightful comments regarding me and the program. Always a joy to read....

Jim is good for the prgram no doubt....

My place in the program (if any) will or will not be determined in time.

Thanks to you who support me and to those who don't thanks anyways for your comments thay make for great entrainment.

Chris D, said...

Oh sorry folks,

by the way, for those who won't play with me....

Thanks for playing with me over the last 2 years.....

Jo, Flex, DJ, Lanie, Ken, Collinda, Kaite, Mike, John, Brad, Mark, Jim, Darryl, Paul, the whole group of those who I help teach though the develop curling program.

Thanks to Danny and Gerry for the opportunity to continue with the program

Just needed to say thanks....

so thanks....

Anonymous said...

It seems you all have so much insight...

What are all these issues that Chris Daw has caused. You all keep say he has but no one has ever spoke exactly what all these issues are????

What are the Issues???

Anonymous said...

You know what, that is a great question...any chance that the "anti-Daw" sentiment is so deep-seated that no one knows or remembers the issues?

Anonymous said...

The past two posters have certainly hit the nail on the head. Everone seems content to "talk around" the Daw issue(s), yet, to my knowledge, no one, Chris included, have pointed out what the issues are.

It COULD be, but I honestly doubt it, that Chris and staff are mired in personality conflicts.

Seems that whatever the issues are, Jim bridges across them...or is Jim simply a little better alternative to Chris?????

Eric....any insight?

Anonymous said...

Knowing Jim from his able-bodied days suggest that he simply is not a "little better alternative".

I did not follow wheelchair curling before Jim started, but everthing regarding Mr. Daw seems to stem from some time earlier.

Jim brought the "missing link" to the program...experience, maturity, a quick learn on throwing (remember, he has only two seasons of throwing, and will get better), an entity that is easy to promote.

That said, I wonder, IF the Program had been operating on all cylinders, ie, with a competent skip, would the CCA have pursued him?

What is your opinion, Eric?

Eric Eales said...

My feeling is that wheelchair curling began as a private club, a small group of invited wheelchair users coached to represent Canada in international competition. It has only slowly, far too slowly in my opinion, moved away from that model.

There have been several personnel changes that drew public attention, but no official explanation from the participants or the CCA as the sponsoring organization.

There is now a great deal of public money being spent to support the national team and the sport in general, and it is only a matter of time before it becomes impossible to maintain a "need to know" position on matters of public interest.

Chris' disappearance from the national program, and Jim's inclusion in it are two examples of events that would have benefited from more frankness and public explanation.

I think there will be changes, but only after 2010. My hope is that the whole program will be re-evaluated and become more responsive to the people who are actually playing the sport across the country.

My aim in working on the website and this blog, has always been to evangelise the sport, to make it the winter recreation of choice for wheelchair users. I am less interested in gossip, especially anonymous gossip, but I do think the sport would benefit if the principals (and I am not a principal, merely a conduit) would take it on themselves to let everyine know the what and why of where we are and where we are going.

A last point - I would be far more tempted to answer questions if they were adressed to me in email.

Anonymous said...

Hello, Eric:

I would suggest that Jim's appearance is an obvious consequence of the then shortfall on the Team.....no leadership on ice, and no skip.

Chris's departure is, obviously, not nearly as clear, and obviously Jim filled the void that Chris left, as well as the void that he could not fill even if he were still part of the Program .....but why did he depart?

Was it simply to pre-empt his being cut?

Anonymous said...

So, Eric, would you be in favour of the National champion challenging Team Canada in a series, with the winner representing Canada?

Eric Eales said...

Ask the question: "Why does Team Canada as presently constituted, exist?"

The answer is to win medals at international competition in general and at the home venue for the 2010 Paralympics in particular.

There has been large sums of money and effort expended to ensure that as far as it is possible to plan and prepare, Canada wins gold in Vancouver.

There is no conceivable reason for Team Canada to exist as an entity separate from the National Championship unless it was conceived as the very best team Canada could put on the ice.

Therefore there is no possibility that Team Canada would be allowed to play against the national champions, for fear they might not win.

By the same principle, saying that no more than two Team Canada members could play on a BC provincial team, had nothing to do with equalising competition in BC or nationally. It was to protect the integrity of the coach selected Team Canada format against possible defeat.

People arguing for a Team Canada versus national chmpion match-up are, I suspect, thinking able-bodied curling, not wheelchair curling as it presently exists.

Team Canada is the embodiment of what the CCA on behalf of its sponsors says is the best possible team that Canada can put together. If in the future the national champion becomes Team Canada for a year, then they would and should take their chances against domstic challengers.

I have said for years now that while I understand that the CCA feels it is necessary to attempt to create a team of all-stars in the hope that it will meld together in time for gold in 2010, moving away from the regular curling model is destructive to wheelchair curling's prospects for long term growth.

Conjuring up a skip who has played for 50 years and for many at the very highest level, will probably mean the policy will pay off in terms of medals. But Jim's real contribution to the sport will come not through vindication of the selection process or the efforts of Own The Podium. It will come if he can encourage the game at the grassroots.

I think he has the interest and the drive to do that if he is given the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Eric, I agree with you in the main. Jim was asked about defending the Team Canada model,and his initial indication was positive, POST 2010. I don't think anyone can argue that there is no chance for major change in the next 10 months, including bringing back Daw.

The only point that is a sticking point is that Jim would like to see a series of gamess...best of three or five, so that one accident in one game does not negate the entire system as we know it. I think the idea has merit, and something like that would be endorsed by Jim.

I doubt the concept is in the minds of the coaches, though.

It would be intersting if Jim carried the conept through against the wishes of his handlers.

I cannot imagine him accepting any more criticism of him or Team Canada if a play-off would negate the issue. The only other issue is what happens to the Team Canada players for Nationals? As with this year, we can't have Jim in a playoff against himself.....

Anonymous said...

So does Team Canada be disallowed from Nationals, and then compete against the winner?

Not criticizing, just wondering.

I think Nationas would be shorted without the likes of Jim, Bruno, and the two Chris's

Anonymous said...

Hey...great blog, now.....How about it......our Team Canada will be missing from next year's Nationals, due to a conflict with the Olympics...so, how about it....a CHALLENGE for Team Canada from the 2010 National winner....to be played in a best of five series by November, 2010....winner to represent Canada at the 2011 Worlds.....IF Team Canada wins easily (don't lose a game in the Challenge)....park it for 2 years, and all the staff keep their jobs until 2013....in time for 2014 Paralympics in Russia....

What say you, Eric????

You seem to have the ear of Ottawa...

Hw about approaching Jim, to start?

Anonymous said...

Interesting concept, Team Canada vs National winner....seems it answers both sides of the issue.....the "advantage" of a select side vs. a team that won their way there.

I agree, that it should be more than a one game play-off, which ASSURES the better team winning.

What do we do with Team Canada members for Nationals? (maybe nothing...they would have a bye to the new National Final....winner of the series is the real National Champion)

What do you think, Eric?

Anonymous said...

What happens to funding post 2010?

For that matter, what is funding like today? How much, and by whom, for what?

Shouldn't these questions get obligatory answers, Eric?

Anonymous said...

If Jim has the best interests of the entire wheelchair program at heart, and believes in the concept of building from the "ground up", rather than benefit filtering from the "top down"......will he consider resigning, if the CCA refuses to implement a Team Canada / National winner play-off post 2010?

He is the Profile guy, and I can't see the CCA ignoring him (or your view, Eric), if he is adamant about it.

Eric Eales said...

If the people writing the cheques felt that a national champion in the traditional sense would be a strong enough team to ensure medal success at world events, there wouldn't be a coach selected Team Canada.

Why then would they allow a Team Canada versus National Champion event?

This notion is a sidetrack away from the principle that part of the reward from taking up curling is that with skill and hard work and dedication and a little luck you can prove yourself best of your region, your province and your country.

Until wheelchair curlers themselves say they will not be bought off by the special treatment promised by membership of a national high performance squad, it won't change.

The sad thing about all the resources poured into the national team, is that in my opinion at least two of the teams at the nationals could have competed successfully against what were, after all, mainly club sides at the Worlds.

As I have said before Team Canada began as a private club, and despite the sincere desire by those in charge to do what is best for Canada's medal prospects (not the same in my opinion as doing what is best for the overall sport) it is still being run that way.

Wheelchair curlers, through their provincial associations, can change that.

In BC we had a very similar situation, and four years of lobbying and constant pressure pointing out the harm their selection process inflicted on the sport in BC, finally brought about change. That change was a political decision taken by the CurlBC Board, and change at the Team Canada level will only come about as a result of political action.

Anonymous said...

In BC we had a coach (Melissa Soligo), who, for whatever reason, tired of the selection process. My guess is that she was tired of the criticism by those not chosen, but would defend the fact that selection assured a stronger squad.

Her opinion would be interesting, since her BC Teams have enjoyed the most success.

Anonymous said...

Eric: In defense of the selection process, i don't know of anyone that was missed by the initial process in the group of 13 or 14. There MAY be one or two additions now, and they have said they are always looking for new talent.

If you accept the premise that Jim will be skipping Team Canada for the next while (who could or should replace him), why not hire him as a player/coach, and for now, let him scout out new talent?

He is knowledgeable, and, I am sure did not spend his time in Halifax with his eyes shut.

This would be a great transition from the players (on ice) and the present coaches.

I think this would also help to build the "team dynamics" since a player has some input into the final picks.

What do you think, Eric?

Anonymous said...

Back to the other issue, Eric, does funding occur or continue without winning results?

Probably not.

HOWEVER, at this point in time, I think you could pay Armstrong to skip any of the top few teams in Halifax and now convert them into International winners......how about letting Jim skip VARIOUS "club sides" at international bonspiels (there are many), and exposeing provincial teams to international experience.

Provincial associations could underwrite such a venture, with a much better assessed result than anthing else.

Anonymous said...

The above blogger has a GREAT idea. All provincial associations should be able to budget on trip per year. The teams get a hands on sense of what it takes to win, get a specific strategy tutorial from the best in the world (Armstrong) in a truly on-ice(way more beneficial) experience. It also answers the problem of the CCA keeping a hand on who is out there for future assessment.

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting idea. I believe the CCA has been keeping Chris Daw on retainer in the past, so ther should be at least some funding around even now.

It seems like a nice meld between all stakeholders.

What is your thought, Eric? It seems you believe in Jim's commitment to the sport.

Anonymous said...

I'll bet the CCA would not allow Jim to participate in such an idea....which means it must be a great idea....your comments, Eric?

Anonymous said...

What makes anybody think Jim would even consider such a scheme?

I certainly see the merit of the concept. Armstrong is the only one-ice guy that could be analytical enough to make it work, but who says he would do it?

Anonymous said...

Any merit to this type of provincial training, Eric? Seems it brings the elitist attitude of the CCA a little closer to the "back to basics".

Anonymous said...

Okay, Eric:

You are the voice of wheelchair curlers......
does this kind of scheme have merit?

Obviously, this has no chance without Jim's approval........does seem to link the selected to the rest of us......

Anonymous said...

Eric:

This seems to have some merit in improving the competitve aspect across Canada......

Does it make sense to you?

Anonymous said...

Who has the "_____'s" to approach the CCA?

Financing........CCA has some, provincial associations have some.....and players could pay for their airfare, or whatever......

the winner?......all of us....IF we do well, why have a select team?

If not.....we have had a GREAT experience, and now know where we have to go..........
, ABSOLUTELY NO LOSE SITUATION FOR ALL......

Anonymous said...

I think it is a GREAT IDEA......every prvince that gets involved has a true barometer to see how they measure up, and CCA sees where there are rising, or existing stars....

Anonymous said...

Eric:

We HAVE TO take the sport to the next level....numbers and competitive look......
We have, it appears, Jim Armstrong available........let's use what we have friendly to us...he may not be around for the long term, so why not take advantage of his notoriety while we have him?

If he is for our sport, there is an opportunity that should not be missed, as it is available.....

Let's force the CCA to use "their guy" for our advantage.....

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the CCA just give Jim control of the program?

The probable result?

He would be a player/coach...on the short term (pre-2010), none of the staff are compromised.....he starts to REALLY check out potential additions to the new Team Canada pool...IF (and likely financing diminishes post 2010) CCA has a concern for continuity that will work post 2010, leave it with a guy that has been well established...remember Jim was president of the World Curling Players Association when they went head to head with the CCA...

Eric, comment, or endorse.

Anonymous said...

An interesting concept....I would like to beieve that the CCA does not control Jim....as I understand it, he is still not on the CCA payroll...let's test the water while we can.......At least have him available for each and every provincial association for a week-end session.....I understand he did this in Regina this year, and look at their results.....

Anonymous said...

Okay, Eric, reality check......

does this make sense at any levelÉ

It is not enough to simply sat the CCA will dismiss this, as against their principles.

I appears that Jim Armstrong is an advocate for our sport, and why not utilize his charisma and influence.....

I think the CCA would embrace such a plan, if for no other reason than to show their `interèst...

Let`s take advantage of the politics, and not just be lost in rhetoric....

Anonymous said...

Eric:

why would this concept at least not be floated with the CCA?

There is no downside, and the CCA and us anti-selection both get what we want..

Anonymous said...

Eric:

Your position?

Alternatively, please provide Jim Armstrong's contact email address.

Eric Eales said...

I was living in California at the birth of the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) that stated it was a matter of principle that wheelchair users (and others) not be denied the rights of citizenship afforded non-wheelchair users.

There were all sorts of arguments why this was not possible, but the decision was decided on principle, not practicality, understanding that practicalites are always accommodated when they have to be.

National team selection (like BC team selection for me) is a matter of principle. There is no principled reason why wheelchair curlers cannot be treated like regular curlers when it comes to national team selection, desire for medals notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

So, Eric. let's bridge the chasm with the CCA, and put it to them that we are happy to accept "their guy" as an intermediary and enjoy his ability to bridge the gap....or is Jim's interest simply li service?

Anonymous said...

Okay, Eric......why not pursue this with the CCA.....and if so, will you float it?

Anonymous said...

I think we all may be over-thinking the issues. We have a sport that has enoyed international status likely long before the support at grassroots would substantiate it.

Let's accept that as an axiom, and work to improve this.

Like its status, we have been provided, at this point, with one athlete of notoriety, Jim Armstrong.

We likely have a limited window of opportunity to utilize, what actually is, a CCA decision of inclusion.

By accident, we inherited a guy that has proven his interest in athletes, with his time with the World Curling Players Association.

Let's not lose the opportunity, and put it to him to launch this proposed CCA-athlete venture, to the betterment of the provincial / regular athlete.

It may be a time that is limited, so let's not miss the opportunity.

Eric, what do you think?

Anonymous said...

Please, Eric,

I asked earlier for Jim's email or phone number

Anonymous said...

Eric:

do you agree, in principle?

If so, let's canvass Jim, and, if that goes well, hit the CCA.


No downside, in my opinion

Anonymous said...

Yes.

It is time to allow Jim to show his support, and us to support him.

The Newfoundland team were certainly picking his brain in Halifax, and he seemed for than amenable to the questions.

Why not use him?

The CCA wheelchair staff certainly weren't there.

Let's press this and see what, if anything, we have available.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree, Eric....

no downside in pressing the CCA

Anonymous said...

Is this viable, Eric?

Seems we should strike while the iron is hot....use Jim while we can

Anonymous said...

Eric, I agree.

We have a unique situation, when the skip of Team Canada could also coach.

We should see if a mentor program, in some form, could be developed, would be made available.

I understand that Jim actally went to Regina last fall, on Curl Saskatchewan's invitation.

Anonymous said...

I have to think any plan that gives back to provincial associations would be readily embraced by the CCA......

how would one incorporate the plan?

Anonymous said...

I believe a mentorship program would be very well received by the CCA.....who will ask?

Anonymous said...

Enough discussion....what is your thought, Eric?

Anonymous said...

I am sure Jim, (or Darryl, for that matter) would make themselves available..........

Anonymous said...

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS, ERIC??????

Anonymous said...

A CCA mentorship program?

Sounds pretty proactive for them

Anonymous said...

Where do you stand, Eric?

Anonymous said...

With the CCA, if it is not Howard or Martin, who cares?

Anonymous said...

Eric,

what is your position?

I think this would be an opportunity for Team Canada to give bac to us wannabees, and get some insight into what they get in their training sessions.

Anonymous said...

The CCA has a discover curling program in place and has for 3 years now.

Most new teams have come out of that program.

Chris Daw has been doing the mentorship/development program and Jim went to Sask. after Chris had broken his hip and was unable to attend.

Dennis Moulding went on the same ground to Quebec.

The program has also secured funding, developed wheelchair curling and visual impaired curling as well.

The development program has been a resounding success, hats off to Danny L. at the CCA, Chris Daw for all his work, that most of you readers are unaware he has been doing for years. Hats off to Jim, Danny , Gerry P. and Chris for the continued promotion of the sport.

What I think most of you all need to be aware of is that people like Chris Daw, Jim Armstrong , and the CCA have been working very hard behind the scenes for years.

Just because some of you don't see everything all the time in the public eye does not means GOOD people are not working to make sure the sport is gorwing and developing.

I say congratulations to Jim, and the CCA and Chris Daw. All of these people take alot of abuse on these boards and are given very like credit for the work they do.

In particular the likes of Jim Armstrong and Chris Daw

Like them or not they do a GREAT JOB!

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is the type of Program envisioned. As I read this thread, I think there is more of an interest in mentorship of potential, or existing provincial champions.....the "next step", if you will......more of a bunch of "competitive camps"....fine tuning deliveries, a little more sophisticated strategy, ice-reading, adapting a game plan to suit you players, etc., including the possibility of travelling to a wheelchair event with Jim...time management,etc.

In all fairness to Chris, the only guy to provide the "advanced package" would be Jim...

Eric????

Anonymous said...

Any person or team can call Danny at the CCA and request a clinic be
held throught the Discover curling program.

DOes any one know that the CCA has a program which will allow them to
get $3000 off the purchase price of a new wheelchair?

(Moderator adds: Eric is looking into whether this program is still available)

Anonymous said...

An advanced clinic and a beginners clinic has been available for years....

People need to research what is in pre-existance before they ask for what is already there.....

and to add....no ones has or does ever give Chris credit for what he knows or deos for wheelchair curling. Look beyond the rumors people he has been fighting for all of you for years....

Anonymous said...

Once again, the suggestion is a new, advanced program for existing players, rather than an entry level program

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to Chris, he could not provide a true advanced clinic. If he is still providing them,then I fear they are very self-limiting.

Ask Chris how much he has learned from even limited exposure to Jim

Anonymous said...

Yes, an advanced program could ONLY br provided by accredited coaches (not likely) or Jim..wy Jim?

Because coaches cannot provide that intuitive transition from competitive able-bodied to wheelchair strategy and priorities. You have to, in my opinion, have thrown for something that matters (a championship)from a wheelchair to understand the transition.

There is NO ONE that can provide this, other than Jim Armstrong...The next question is, as asked earlier, would he?

My bet is that he would, subject to availability.

Eric, your comments?

Anonymous said...

You know, maybe the earlier blogger has a point.

How about Chris and Jim doing a two level clinic?
hris has done a lot of them, and Jim could fine tune on the more sophisticated stuff. Chris would get a re-introduction to the gam as it has improved, and everyone gets an opportunity to upgrade.

Chris D said...

Dear Readers,More like hi all;

Ummm....... Well I am not sure how to respond to this. So I will leave it like this, Jim brings a ton of experience, there is no doubt about that. However, I think that it is unfair to believe Jim is the only person that can bring anything to this program of any importance. Weather it is advanced or not, we must all rely on the experts which are available regardless of who it is. We need to remember Jim, himself is still learning this game and replys on a ton of people in conjuction with his experience to better position himself and the teams he plays with. I think that it is unfair to almost burden Jim with what is almost being imposed as a set all to be all to wheelchair curling. I am not opposed to Jim infact I have more than imbraced his involvement but remember Jim is one person within an elemant which is vastly growing with every person who is willing and able to contribute.

You the bloggers yourself,should know this.You have come up with some great suggestions which should be reviewed, you have come up with idea's on how to improve the selection process, the national championship process, team canada representation and even Eric himself has given suggestions on how the game should be played. I applaud you all!! But lets now forget this is not one person, this is a group of individuals with a set of collective thoughts and passion for how to improve a sport, lets not tunnel our vision, reach outside the box and embrace every oppurtunity by every individual weather we like it or not.

Joe Rae, Wendy Morgan, Gerry Peckham and Danny have all made lasting contributions, as have the players which are current and past to the developement of this sport. Let's not forget that everybody and yes even you reading this can make a change, as long as we all work together.

These are my thoughts, like them or not!!!

Anonymous said...

Question to the reader:

Have you ever been to an advanced Clinic that Chris has run?

I was at one in Halifax with Chris Daw and Helen Radford and it was very advanced and no where close to self limiting.

Let's remember that Chris Daw does not have free rain to go run clinics. All materials are checked , rechecked and even supervised by the CCA's top people like Helen Radford. I found the clinic and the materials very useful in advancing my ability to play!!!

Anonymous said...

As indicated earlier, Helen Radford does not have "chair experience". Nor does Joe Rea. Therein lies the problem.

Chris Daw has the "chair experience", but not the strategy for the game now (or then, for that matter).

Lots has changed in the past couple of years.

The ONLY person with "chair experience" and strategy is Jim Armstrong.

I don't see any argument to this.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that if you attended a clinic run by Chris and deemed it as advanced, then you are a newbie.

One of the reasons the CCA pursued Jim was in anticipation of his understanding of the wheelchair strategy, since that is where the program had a huge void.

This is not a slam on Chris, just the reality of the situation, wich has been resolved.

Contact Peckham and ask him directly. It is so very obvious.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Chris:
ou know that trying to have a non play
You know yourself that there are strategic aspects of this game, ice-reading, etc. that simply is not part of your game. No slam at all, just a cold, hard fact.

You would also agree that a non-playing coach is very limited in what he can do to fine-tune your release and set-up.

So would you not agree that the best source for all would be Jim Armstrong.

I am not suggesting the ONLY source, but the best "one stop shopping"?

Anonymous said...

Come on, Chris:

I doubt your contract with the CCA will be renewed, since you are no longer an intregral part of Team Canada.

Yur poorly veiled attempt to discredit the job that Jim could do will not save your contract in my opinion.

Why don't you contact Jim and split the load...you handle newbies, and Jim handles advanced strategy and delivery.

Anonymous said...

Our sport will be limited until the lid comes off the "old school" of teaching.

Why do you think Team Switzerland has Russ Howard as a coach?

It develops the game with new ideas (to the Swiss).

The game, Chris, has developed to the point where you (as you know) could learn a lot from Jim, as well.

Anonymous said...

The synopsis of the situation.

Armstrong is a student of our game, much like he was in the able-bodied game.

He brings an analytical and fresh look at the sport.

I am sure Joe Rea listens to him now.

He will have new and innovative suggestions that would have to be considered.

He is the only player with the transition experience to provide valid insight into the "senior" level of play.

Can anyone argue?

Anonymous said...

Eric:

Your silence is truly deafening...what say you?

Anonymous said...

Jim brings an appropriate analytical approach to strategy and will adapt this as necessary.

NO ONE has the experience to understand so much of the intuitive aspect that is necessary, other tha Jim.

Sorry, Chris, for now, the game has passed you by.

Anonymous said...

Why will Jim (or Joe allow it) to spread his strategy and technical expertise to people that he may have to beat?

Eric Eales said...

To those asking what I think, I have added a new post. In a nutshell - we need far more wheelchair curlers if we are going to attract serious attention outside of winning medals. And we need to raise the general level of competitive play way above where it is now for the experience of a Jim Armstrong to be especially useful.

I suspect Jim is still working through his ideas on how to improve the wheelchair game, and how his experience could best be put to use.

And notwithstanding the fervent advocacy of his supporters, I will be inspired when the new Chris Daw demonstrates, as I am sure he is capable of doing, the ability to build something in NL outside of his own playing career.