Tuesday, February 15, 2011

CCA response to Jim Armstrong sentencing

After the details of the sentence that Team Canada skip Jim Armstrong received from US District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez became public yesterday, I offered Greg Stremlaw, the CEO of the Canadian Curling Association, Gerry Peckham, head of the national program, Joe Rea, coach of the national team, and Jim himself the opportunity to make a public comment.

None of those individuals owes me a comment personally. They do all realise, however, that what is said here will likely be read by everyone with an interest in wheelchair curling.

Here is the reply I received from Greg Stremlaw.


The CCA is aware of the outcome of yesterday’s court proceedings with Jim Armstrong. We monitored this very closely and have been formally debriefed.

At this time, there was no new information which came forth.

As you have indicated, the sentencing judge actually reduced the recommended actions and fine accordingly.

Given there have been no new facts or information which came forth which were relevant to this situation, the CCA has remained consistent with its disciplinary actions which were already handed down, including the specific conditions, that came out of the comprehensive review by the designated review committee.

The Canadian Curling Association continues to have the right to review or revisit this issue should any further information come forth which was not learned as part of our review and investigation.

The athlete is continuing to train and compete as part of the National Team Program at this juncture.

Thanks Eric.


Anonymous said...

Shame on you Greg Stremlaw! Shame on you and the CCA for disgracing the sport of curling in this country. This is supposed to be a gentlemen's game - a game where fair play and sportsmanship are paramount. A sport where all who play it don't like cheaters and rule breakers.

Everyone who knows anything about sport and ethics knows that you have dropped the ball on this one. How dare you try to pull the wool over our eyes and say that everything is ok and Jim has been disciplined. How is this possible? Is he still going to Prague to represent Canada - YES!

He may be facing financial difficulties, may have some issues at home with his mother and I'm sorry to hear that she is not doing well but that has nothing to do with what he's done. He's made his bed - now he must lie in it!

There are a huge number of people with disabilities who are living at or below the poverty line - but they're not going out and committing crimes in order to put food on the table!

What ever the reasons for reducing the fine and recommended actions don't matter. He has still committed a CRIME and has been SENTENCED.

Wheelchair curlers feel betrayed by the CCA and ashamed of what the association has not done in this situation.

Jim Armstrong is not the victim here. Wheelchair curlers, Paralympians and people with disabilities are the victims. Shameful!

Anonymous said...

As I said in the other area, if athlete's are truly dissappointed in the CCA then they should take action and boycott our National Wheelchair Championship in Edmonton. If all the teams were to show solidarity in their stance, the CCA would need this to be addressed.

Bruce Cameron said...

I have sent the following email to Greg Stremlaw and encourage all others to also email him directly. His email is readily available on the CCA web site but here it is gstremlaw@curling.ca

It is with embarrassment and great disappointment that I read your response to Eric on the blog portion of wheelchaircurling.com with regard to the CCA's position after the sentencing of Jim Armstrong.
I have been involved in curling and wheelchair curling for a total of over 50 years and not until now have I been ashamed to admit that I am an affiliated member of the CCA. The decision by the CCA has not only brought disgrace to the wheelchair community but the entire curling community and all Canadians.
You stated in your comments to Eric "the CCA has remained consistent with its disciplinary actions which were already handed down, including the specific conditions, that came out of the comprehensive review by the designated review committee."
I feel that as wheelchair curlers we have the right to know, what the disciplinary actions were, what the specific conditions were and who sat on the review committee ?
It is a sad day for the curling community in Canada.
Bruce Cameron"

There are some very good comments and points in this blog site and they shud be sent verbatim to Greg Stremlaw who is the CEO of the CCA. Posting them here is fine but in all reality it is like farting in a windstorm. If enough people send him their comments he might give his head a shake and realize how deep the feelings on this issue are and just maybe something will happen.
Waiting for Jim to tell his "there is more to the story".....what more is there to the story...admits he knew what he was doing was wrong, arrested, charged, pleads guilty and is sentenced....end of story. I feel sorry for all those who have taken the bait "hook, line and sinker" This is a classic case of bullshit baffles brains.

Anonymous said...

To the first post......Amen.....
I see he went on his regular everyday wheelchair to court

Shame shame shame

Anonymous said...

My god, people are making sense on here. Maybe some people left or did not participate becuase they feel the same way!

My god!

As for a boycott of NATIONALS! Give your head a shake, no province is going to do that becuase to many are afraid to stand up to the CCA and get balck balled!

Nice try though!

Anonymous said...

Look for Jim's distraction's to affect Team Canada in Prague and yet again have to take a second seat to Jim. It's really not fair that the true representation of this team have to push through yet again negative attention to Canada.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Martin and many Slammers boycotted the Brier (provincial playdowns) for 6 years. The are the years Randy Ferby won Alberta(Martin never played in any of those years). What did it get them? Sponsors logo's on the team uniforms and a player cash pool to split to cover expenses et al. If you want something to change you need to be prepared to srtand up and be counted. If you do not, don't continue to bitch because you are still part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

It would seem Stremlaw is the Point man for media comments, and everyone else, including Jim is tehnically an employee.

BUT Jim has maintained there was so much more to say, well where is it, or even a sanitized veersion from Stremlaw?

I assume Jim likely did not even get home until late yesterday, at best, but today is a new day, or is he, too gagged?

Anonymous said...

He has maintained from the start there was another side to this, and as of this moment, nothing from him, to my knowledge in any media.

I understand the time pressure he is under, but we re waiting for what he assured us was coming. Bring it on, and I, for one, am more than happy to listen. With nothing by at least tomorrow, I guess we are right about him, and all the flowers are sure to be wilted soon.

Anonymous said...

I agree, we were tokd many times there was more coming, and, I agree that time is tough right now, BUT where is his story?????

Anonymous said...

Hello, all!!!!!

This guy said there was more. I have followed and admired him for over twenty-five years. If he DOES deserve to be chastised, then I can't prevent it. He said there is more to be said, and deep down, I truly hope there is. PLEASE, at least give him the courtesy of merely a day or so, to enable him to get his and his family's affairs in order before he addresses the likes of this forum, which, to my rcollection, has never run neutral in opinion on anything that has had Jim's name attached.

As i am sure you would agree, Eric, if Jim's name is mentioned, there is way more interest and response than in any other topic. The guy truly does live his life in a fishbowl here, from his starting to play, through his wife's untimely death, through the joy of victory to the sorrow of this portion of his story. He has always been a respected member of his community, his profession, and his passion of curling.

Give him his earned opportunity to respond as he can, or at least, spend as much time as you blog, to put youself in his shoes.

This comment, in no way minimizes the impact of what we know as of this moment, but Jim has earned enough credits in his career to at least listen to the entire story.

Anonymous said...

Richmond paralympic curler fined $30,000
By Alan Campbell, Richmond News February 15, 2011

Disgraced Paralympic wheelchair curler Jim Armstrong has avoided going to jail after being sentenced for his part in a father and son fake Viagra smuggling scheme.
Armstrong, 59, — who won gold as Canada’s skip in last year’s Paralympic Games — was fined $30,000 and placed on supervised release for a year when he appeared Monday in a Seattle courtroom.
His son, Gregory, 28, who lived with his father in the family’s $1.6 million Richmond home, was jailed for a year and a day.
Both admitted last year to smuggling around $45,000 worth of fake Viagra and Cialis — erectile dysfunction drugs — from India and China via the U.S.
For three years, Armstrong senior would drive over the border and pick up the packages addressed to his late wife, Carleen, from a mailbox.
His son, who was thrown out of UBC as a student after the charges came to light last spring, would then sell the pills at $15 a time in Vancouver area nightclubs.
But less than a month after grabbing gold in the Paralympics last March, Armstrong was intercepted at the Blaine mailbox by U.S. Customs officers, who had been tracking the package since it arrived in Los Angeles.
Sentencing Armstrong senior, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez told the retired dentist that he’d seriously considered jailing him.
“You are a trained medical professional ... you knew better,” than to provide counterfeit drugs.
He told Armstrong that he was less to blame in all of this than his son, hence his more lenient sentence.
Armstrong junior was not so fortunate.
He was sentenced to a year and a day in prison, two years of supervised release and a $5,000 fine.
The judge told him that he put people, “at physical risk of harm ... You put them at risk of death.”

It’s not yet all over for the Armstrongs, as they’ll have to return to the same court on April 12, when the judge will determine whether the men owe restitution to the drug companies whose products were counterfeited.

Armstrong senior’s lawyer, Richard Hansen, said his client was in “desperate financial straits,” and was losing his Richmond home, which court heard was valued at $1.6 million.

“He can hardly buy groceries,” Hansen told court, adding that Armstrong “was not profiting” from the scheme and that some packages retrieved from the mailbox contained legitimate goods.

Armstrong was president of the World Curling Players Association from 1997 to 1999. But in 2007 he suffered serious knee and back injuries in a car accident. He could no longer work as a dentist. He couldn’t curl.

But then he discovered a twist on the sport and became a wheelchair curler, and a superstar of the sport before his downfall began last April.

Despite his conviction, he has been allowed to continue to curl for Canada.

Friends of Armstrong senior, a father of three, submitted letters to U.S. authorities testifying to his good character.

“Throughout the time that I have known Dr. Armstrong, I have been impressed with his honesty, integrity and strong family values," wrote Vancouver lawyer James Schuman. "I have not known Dr. Armstrong to act in any way that was . . . connected with criminality."

Armstrong and his son are not facing charges in Canada due to insufficient evidence.

Armstrong left court Monday, having paid the $30,000, his lawyer said.

Calls to Armstrong senior, placed by the Richmond News, were not returned by press time.

Anonymous said...

He should be in jail with his son not representing Canada in Prague.

Anonymous said...

He could hardly buy groceries......
He was losing his family home ($1.6 million value)
He did not profit form this activity............
Wow, this laweyer covers all the bases.
Why would he be muling "drugs" if he was not profitting? So he could let his son continue a life of deception and criminal behaviour? Sounds quite upstanding to me....

Anonymous said...

I had a brief discussion with Jim late this afternoon. He has every intention of responding to this site....for the life of me I don't understand why he should even try to explain anything to a bunch of, in the main, morons. He told me he spent a total of THREE HOURS with the Province writer, as in Jim's terms to "finally explain this fully". Why this writer, you ask....because Jim wanted the world to know that he had never met him before, but he had shown an interest in the story; while if he went to long time supporters in other newspapers, it would again be perceived as the "old boys' school". In Jim's perspective he was very disappointed with the article, although it "got the flavour right".

He gave me the five minute version, and I must say, that even if I viewec it with a jaundiced approach, his story is very compelling, and should be grounds for a book. He stated that when he explained it yesterday, he really had no interest in claiming innocence, since the vast majority of crimes are routinely denied by the perpetrator as a matter of course.

He DID provide me with a couple of snippets, that quite frankly, are staggering. He also said that in the interview, it was prefaced by the codicile that whatever he said, unless he qualified it by stating it was third party information, or alternatively, his opinion, based on the facts, he would back up every statement with hard facts and proof.

How about the prosecutor caught bare-faced in a lie as recently as last week in a document to the judge? How about the same prosecutor lying at the arraignment, and the lie proven in October?

How about the theory that Jim sold out his son to save himself? This falls flat, since Pfizer had hired private investigators in the summer of 2009 to obtain evidence on Greg, obtained it over about a four month period (5 or 6 times) and had already forwarded the evidence to authorities months PRIOR to the infamous April arrest and alleged sell-out.

How about Jim passing a government controlled polygraph test in October, with only the US government providing the questions?

I got this in about 5 minutes with him.

He actually told me much more, but I was already reeling from what I could absorb.

He has spent TEN MONTHS under a horrific cloud, and occasionally reads the rantings on this site, and simply shakes his head.


He always said there was another side, and believe me it is mind-boggling, for the little I learned.

I do hope he gives you the story, Eric, but I assume, since nothing has been posted, perhaps he has come to his senses, and is ignoring the likes of the ranters on this site.

And, finally, he disclosed virtually all of the story, under legally disclosed confidentiality to the CCA prior to Christmas, and it is such a compelling story that they acted as they did. So perhaps YOU RANTERS should look in a mirror prior to casting further stones. And as a few of you ranters have said to date.....how about SHAME ON YOU?

Anonymous said...

WOW.........WOW.......and one ,ore WOW.........

IF what the last poster is true, what a different circumstance. I for one, wanted to believe in another story, as much for Jim's family, who have gone through SO much in the past eighteen months, as Jim himself.

I TRULY hope, we get to hear the entire story soon.......WITH PROOF????

I will reconsider ever placing a wheel in the US again...

Anonymous said...

If true, that does certainly put a different light on things....it simply sounds to unbelievable to be true!

MAYBE it is just that ......TOO UNBELIEVAble.

That said, I have to doubt Jim would risk what he has left, if it is not true.

Anonymous said...

Come on, this has to be a fairy tale. IF and I say IF, my apologies to Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Come on, who's kidding who?

Anonymous said...

Wow.......sounds like maybe the paper left out a lot of information, your 5 minutes tells more than the reporter from a 3 hour interview
Thanks for sharing your conversation
Maybe now we can cut the guy some slack

Anonymous said...

Okay, WHAT are the chances this guy is right?

If so, I guess one would have to revisit opinion on this......I honestly am intrigued, but not yet convinced.

Has Jim contacted you, Eric?

Anonymous said...

Get real, sone anonymous guy posts something and it changes facts? Don't think so.

IF it was real, fair enough, but if I was personally provided that kind of news, I would be proud to have broken this.

At any rate, if true, my most sincere aplologies to Jim, but it seems he has not chosen to respond.

I must admit, that under the circustances, I would have done the same thing for my own son.

. said...

Jim has indicated a willingness to put forward his side of the story on this site. However he and I need to find a mutually convenient time for that to happen as he is preparing to leave for Prague.

If and when it does it will be in a separate post.

Anonymous said...

How about it seems like everyone is lying except Jim, including the guy who ran the postal store who has no vested interest in any of this. Remember he saw Jim pick up numerous packages on many occasions and recognized Jim personally.

Better go back to the first posts people. Stop playing us for fools. Guilty is guilty and nothing is going to change that. One person placing five or six posts together in a row doesn't mean we should now forgive or tolerate this kind of behaviour. If Jim had proof that would have exonerated him I'm sure his lawyer would have used it and been able to get a not guilty verdict.

Eric, is Pfizer still going to be a sponsor or have they disassociated themselves from us?

Anonymous said...

Good laugh.

Actually there over 120 packages from all over the world. Does this mean he was trafficking to all over the World....nice assumption, Clown.

And NO WONDER we have not heard from Jim

. said...

Pfizer are a sponsor of the Canadian Paralympic Committee - not the CCA or wheelchair curling.

Jody said...

Hello Wheelchair Bloggers. My name is Jody Armstrong. I am Jim Armstrong's daughter and Greg Armstrong's sister. I am currently living and working abroad. My father is presently on a flight to Prague and is unaware of my current statement.

I have been following the many rants, raves and support on this blog for 3 years since my dad joined the wheelchair curling world, a place where he felt at home and accepted. My family and I watched as he regained the spark that had been missing since his body began to fail him and he was forced to leave able bodied curling.

I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion; however, I would like to remind that there is often much more to a story than what is printed in the press, or even the “facts” of the prosecutors report. Keep in mind, the prosecution can publicly present their side of the case, but until all is said and done, nothing can be said publicly in defense.

This has been a long, tiresome, stressful and difficult chapter in my family's life. I think it is unfortunate that people with varying physical abilities, who have faced such great adversity, can so easily react like pit bulls and vultures. I understand that my father has been an easy target and that there has been a great deal of misinformation or complete lack thereof, making it easy to form ignorant opinions.

It is not my place to state the facts or our story, but on a very basic level, I would like to point out that our US mail box was used by our every member of my family to ship clothes, books, magazines, music, and various other personal items on a regular basis. Does anyone shop online? Victoria Secret? Ebay? Yes, sometimes there is more than meets the eye.

Also, I am sure most of you have watched Dateline, 60 Minutes, 20/20, or Oprah and have gained an understanding that US Federal Law is not a simple structure and is an extremely costly and prohibitive experience.

The press is notorious for utilizing an individuals’ comment to suit a certain slant, usually by shortening it or taking it out of context.

Thank you for allowing me to be heard. I am grateful that our family is able to move forward and I hope that you can as well.

Jody Armstrong

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

To the blogger questioning Jim............WHY would he lie, to be caught up in yet more innuendo?

If there was NOTHING further, than so be it, let it die down and move on.

BUT in no uncertain terms, he stands behind what he has been saying for months, and to try to convince a bunch of pessimists with have baked notions makes NO sense, and drags this sordid thing out even longer.

I am still convinced Jim has a lot more to tell.