Saturday, December 3, 2011

wheelchair curling thriving at Ilderton CC

For those not beholden to national fundraisers like Own The Podium, wheelchair curling is about enjoyment - something easily forgotten amidst reporting's natural emphasis on competition and drama.

Ilderton Ontario's program has been rebuilt on that firm foundation. The coach, Ernie Comerford, after relocating to London Ontario and looking to recreate the success he helped biuld in Calgary, saw Ilderton CC had the closest accessible ice. It also had a storied history, hanging three Canadian Championship banners plus the Torino Paralympic Gold Banner; a leagcy of Chris Daw's early involvement at the club. But participation had collapsed post Torino, and it took a whole winter to encourage the first two wheelchair users to enter the ice in the Spring of 2008.

Since then there has been a steady growth in participation at the recreational level, while two teams played in this year's Cathy Kerr, one reaching the semis. Two players, Mark Ideson and Mike Munro, attended the National Training program and participated on Team Canada II in Richmond in November.

This season the recreational group meets on Sundays from 11 am until 1 pm.  The competitive group plays in a regular mixed league weekly and attends separate practices during the week.  The Club intends to enter two teams in the January 2012 Provincials near Ottawa, with the hope that will expand to three in the future.

The Club belives in outreach, and owns a set of demonstrations rocks to promote the game and recruit newcomers at local malls.

Here is a video af highlights from the 2010-2011 season that gives a taste of the positive energy that motivates the club.

Wheelchair Curling is alive and well in the London area and it keeps getting better, says Ernie.  Anyone interested should contact Ernie Comerford at 519-203-0087 or by email at

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