Chris Sobkowicz at the 2011 NationalsManitoba, the current national champions, were a team born into controversy with some consideration given by the Province to not appearing at the 2011 Edmonton Nationals. Gold medals probably eased any Curl Manitoba qualms about sponsoring a self-selected and unopposed provincial representative.
A proposed Spring meeting to discuss minimum playdown requirements and/or selection protocols apparently did not materialise, but as this season begins, skip Chris Sobkowicz has gathered a group of eight who are participating in a development program sponsored by Cancade Inc.
They play in 3 mixed leagues, practice twice a week, and play in 3 different two person stick leagues.
"It's completely open to anyone," Chris told me. "It's like a sports academy where we all learn the same strategies and techniques, work collectively on our program of activities with a competitive angle, and of course enjoy each other's company.
"We'll be hosting a "You can Do it" camp later in November headed by coach Rob Lamb and the MCA. This will focus mainly on people new to the game, and offer a recreational component."
"Team Cascade" will compete in next week's Richmond International, with Northern Ontario transplant Mark Wherrett replacing Don Kalinsky from the national championship squad.
The 2012 Team Manitoba will be chosen by provincial team coach Rob Lamb from those participating in the Cascade programme.