Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong is getting back on the ice as he rehabs the surgically repaired shoulder that was further stressed in a car crash. "The accident probably set me back a couple of weeks physically, though of course there has been a lot of family stuff as well.
"We had a wonderful celebration of (late wife) Carleen's life ten days ago," he told me this morning just before leaving for practice at the Richmond CC. "And yesterday 106 people were part of Team Momma Armstrong at the CIBC Run For The Cure. It took several of them, but they pushed me round the whole course.
"Now I am doing lots of physio to get the shoulder fit, and beginning to throw some stones. I'm thankful to have wheelchair curling to concentrate on after all that has happened this summer.
"I'll be traveling with the team to Norway and Scotland, probably to provide some comic relief. Everyone has been very supportive and understanding that I haven't been able to participate very often in the training camps. I am really impressed with how the team has come together. If you had asked me a year ago whether a selected team could work together as well as this one does, I would have been skeptical. But I think our team spirit will be one of our advantages next March."
Asked his reaction to Sweden coach Tomas Nordin's initial impression that the wheelchair game was very similar to regular curling, Armstrong said: "Tomas is a great curler and very experienced and will do well. But my understanding of the wheelchair game has been a lengthy learning curve and it takes time to appreciate the nuances. Not having the big weight to clean up trouble has to be taken into account, although I suspect that in the future the top teams will develop the ability to throw the 7 or 8 second takeout accurately."
Team Canada will be competing in Norway's Halden International October 16-18 and then Scotland's Kinross International October 20-22.