The moment of truth came for the less experienced teams during the first day of play at the 2009 TSX Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship. There were five double-digit scores posted, and only one game decided on the last rock, when Nova Scotia just failed to overcome an early four-ender, losing 7-6 to Newfoundland & Labrador.
In the opening draw defending champions BC played the Nova Scotia Host team in a game where they threw guards rather than running up the12-1 score. Their evening 13-1 win against Quebec was equally decisive.
Several of the leads struggled with heavy ice, especially during the 8:00 PM draw of a day that started 12 hours earlier with a 30 minute bus ride in from Halifax.
There are four experienced teams at the Championship, and they all won both their opening games. Northern Ontario, annoyed at themselves for not making a better show in a 9-4 loss to Manitoba, took it out on Newfoundland & Labrador in the evening. Newfoundland with Chris Daw at skip had scored an early four in an opening draw against Nova Scotia, holding on for a 7-6 win. Chris declined the excellent dinner that was put on between draws, fearing that it would affect his performance in the evening, but probably should have played on a full stomach, as he was blanked by Northern Ontario, 10-0.
Alberta looks strong despite the absence of Anne Hibbard, their second, who is unable to travel because of a hospitalization from a foot injury. Jack Smart, who played third for Team Canada member Bruno Yizek last year, is the very animated skip of this year's team. Alberta's evening draw against Nova Scotia was fought to the bitter end. Down 7, Nova Scotia didn't surrender until they were finally run out of rocks, midway through the end.
Ontario posted fives in both of their games. Skip Ken Gregory joked, "We don't play to win; we play to come back." Fives will do that for you. When they face BC in the second of today's three draws, it might be wiser not to play from behind.
The organizing committee and the volunteers at the club are a pleasure to work with. A weak computer signal in what is the basement of a sports complex was corrected when someone from the club went out in the snow to purchase 200 feet of extension cable. The food is wonderful. The volunteers are cheerful. And if it wasn't snowing, everything would be perfect.