It's the start of a new quadrennial, and the CCA is aware that procedures for consideration for Team Canada training have appeared less than transparent.
Does this mean they plan to follow the lead of US A and (more significantly) Scotland by holding open tryouts? Well, not exactly, but they are slowly moving in that direction and promising this year a more public process.
The CCA's Wendy Morgan, in partnership with provincial organizations, is holding a series of national talent identification camps with the aim of allowing every wheelchair curler with the ambition and ability to perform to national team standards, the opportunity to be assessed by national coaching staff.
Read Wendy's plan outline HERE.
How do you ensure a place? That will depend on the policy of your provincial association. The initial CCA guideline was to invite to the camp last year's provincial champions plus 2 or 3 others deemed deserving. In Alberta this is what will happen in Calgary this coming weekend. Team Smart (the 2010 provincial champions) will be joined by 3 curlers from Edmonton.
In Manitoba invitations were issued to 10 curlers, "all our wheelchair curlers with experience," according to provincial coordinator Elaine Owen. Saskatchewan is running the camp in conjunction with their provincial team selection camp, open to everyone qualified to play for the province.
Atlantic Canada will hold a competition and camp on January 14th and will be inviting everyone who has appeared at a National Championships or wheelchair curling camp the past two seasons.
Every province has a wheelchair curling coordinator who will be responsible for deciding who will be invited to attend their camp. The names are listed at the end of this post. Some will have been actively involved with wheelchair curling, and others only in an administrative sense.
There has been a lot of grumbling in the past by people who felt their skills had been overlooked. This time round, they at least have the opportunity to know who is doing the choosing, and where and when.
Gerry Peckham agrees that no one wants a situation where participation depends on who you know rather than what you can do on the ice. If you think you have the skills to challenge for a Team Canada place, it is up to you to make sure an invitation comes your way.
Helen Radford - Atlantic Canada
Alan Smith - Quebec
Tom Ward - Ontario
Dave Kawahara - Northern Ontario
Elaine Owen - Manitoba
Amber Holland - Saskatchewan
Kathy Odegard - Alberta
Heather Beatty - British Columbia