Friday, March 18, 2011

Weekly Poll #11 - Who will make the podium at the Edmonton Nationals?

There have only been two winners of the Canadian National Wheelchair Curling Championships; Team Canada from 2004 to 2006, and British Columbia since then. Will this be the year that national honours leave the West Coast?

BC has lots of experience and a proven track record, plus four players who appeared in last year's final, albeit on opposing teams. Skip Gary Cormack and Vince Miele return from last year's championship team, alongside 2010 silver medallists Frank LaBounty and Alison Duddy. They may be the team to beat.

Alberta field a very experienced team, three of whom won All-Star recognition last year. This year they have Bruno Yizek returning from Team Canada gold medal duty as skip, and having come within an inch of success previously, will be home province favourites.

Ontario are confident that skip Chris Rees can improve on his 2008 silver medal, and had the toughest route to the Championships, competing in a six team field, defeating two past Ontario champions.

Manitoba have made the podium at the previous three Nationals, falling just short of the final but taking home three bronze. Skip Chris Sobkowicz is another very experienced skip who in unlikely to be happy with anything less that a final this year.

Northern Ontario are determined to make up for a disappointing 2010 appearance, Nova Scotia have shown they can beat anybody and are capable of making the podium if they gain some consistency.

Quebec are a much more experienced squad after another year of competition and have travelled as a team to prepare for this year's event. Some early success will be the confidence boost that they have perhaps been lacking in the past.

Saskatchewan and Newfoundland are fielding similar teams to last year and may struggle to improve on past performance. The Edmonton host team, despite the commendable optimism of their coach may just be surprised by the level of play at this championship and will do well to earn a plus record.

But that's just my opinion.

This week's question is which teams will make the 2011 National podium? Choose the three buttons on the right margin of this page that represent your choices, and give your 1-2-3 selection in the comments below.

Last week's poll attracted a good response, with 58% feeling that mixed gender teams are a good idea, with 42% opposed.

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