Friday, February 12, 2010

Team Gregory looking beyond 2010

Katie Paialunga, who plays second on Ken Gregory's Bradford based Ontario championship team, admits to looking beyond 2010, to the 2011 Nationals where she hopes the winner will be declared Team Canada, breaking the current selection process.

“We’d like to win the provincial this year,” Paialunga trold Dan Plouffe of the OrlĂ©ans Star. “However, it’s not our overall goal.”

The next goal for the Gregory rink is to win a national title in 2011, which would then lead to an appearance in the world championships. After being passed over in favour of British Columbia-based individuals to represent Canada at the 2010 Paralympics, the long-term goal Paialunga holds is to compete in the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

“We’ve got another four years to get working on being the best team,” she added

Now she just has to help her team past four other competitors in Ontario's Dominion Provincial Championships at Collingwood CC February 17-20.


Anonymous said...

Never going to happen. Selections will continue until at least post 2014!

Anonymous said...

That would mean all the teams that are now using low level amputees would not be eligible to compete at the world level and would have to restructure their teams. The alternative is for the WCF to change its eligibility rules and that doesn't look like its going to happen any time soon. I agree, selection team is the reality like it or not.

. said...

Eligibility rules are almost certain to be changed at the WCF's meeting in Cortina in April, though quite what that has to do with Canada's selection process eludes me.

Anonymous said...

You can't have a Team Canada that doesn't qualify to compete at the Worlds. Each provincial team would have to meet WCF standards at the Nationals. Presently that is not the case so a selection team is the only answer.

. said...

If a National title meant Team Canada status, then you'd find that provincial teams did meet WCF eligibility criteria. Off-hand I can't think of anyone less disabled than Jim Armstrong competing at the Nationals.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to agree with your last comment but the docs at WCF did rule Jim was qualified. Do you think an amputee that doesn't use a chair for daily use would meet that criteria? Sure wish they would clean up this mess once and for all as to who qualifies and who doesn't. The next thing you know we will see all of the old Briar and Scotties champs come out of retirement and that will be the end of wheelchair curling as we know it.

Anonymous said...

Don't panic about eligibility. I expect to see a major work over of the existing and quite frankly useless eligibility requirements. The earlier blogger nailed it correctly. At present, amputees who use prosthetics are technically ineligible, yet ALL do play (US< NORWAY, to name a couple).

There will still be a requirement for a serious and PERMANENT disability in the new rules, which will be adjudicated by a committee, not just one assessor, and their will be an Appeal process for any potential athlete.

They should call it the Armstrong rule, since that is where it shoulded how ambiguous the present rules were.

Can you imagine Jim, with two prostheses (knees), back injury, shoulder injuries, all permanent and well documented as his private disability company has reviewed many times, not being allowed to play. His next move would have been to have every amputee reassessed, and by their (WCF) own admission, all would have had to declared ineligible....then wouldn't that be a show?

No, the WCF, I hope with advice from other Paralympic sports, will get it correct this time, and the buzz word will be PERMANENT disability limiting mobility

Anonymous said...

I don't agree that the present rules are ambiguous. I do agree there has been inconsistency in the way they have been applied.

I keep hearing accusations that teams other than Canada break the rules by fielding ineligible players, but names are never mentioned.

The present rules are very clear - wheelchair curling is a sport for people who require - not use when it suits them - a wheelchair for their daily mobility - not every now and again, or when they are curling.

Perhaps the rules should be rewritten to include everyone unable to curl without a wheelchair. But that is not how it is now.

Eligibility requirements and assessment procedures are being rewritten and will be presented for ratification by the WCF membership in April.

Where someone is excluded by a classifier, they will be able to pay a fee and appeal to other independent classifiers. Likewise, teams who feel that an an opponent is ineligible, will have a way to object.

Would this topic even have come up had Canada not been host to the Paralympics, and Own The Podium had not pumped so much money into Team Canada that the coaches felt they had to do whatever it took to win?

Anonymous said...

I for one am looking forward to seeing the level of competition this year at Nationals. Obviously Katie and the team have spent considerable time and energy on improving and can back it up or she wouldn't of said what she did publicly. I would also think that Manitoba would be able to compete with Chris benefitting from the Own the Podium funding and Team Canada camps. The level of coaching expertise in BC as well as the success of those teams and athlete's in previous National would lead me to believe that they would be competitive on the World stage. I think that we may be closer to having a National Champion represnt Canada at the World's than some think and would for sure like to see at the very least a best of three between our National champs and Team Canda to determine our representative post 2010.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last blogger.

Surely if the National winner were allowed to challenge Team Canada in a series of games, the complaints about the present process, even with its latest success (2009), would go away.

If that is the general belief, then let's show some interest and support through this site, and get lobbying.

Sitting back and simply bitching makes as much sense as the handful protesting the Olympics.

. said...

The problem as I see it is that the present Team Canada has no reason to exist outside of their status as selectees for the national team. What happens to them, and to their financial support, and to the careers of their coaches if they were to lose a challenge?

Now if the four who will actually play in Vancouver were to decide to compete for BC and win a national title, and they'd have every expectation of winning, then they'd have a legitimacy that everyone could accept, and curlers in wheelchairs would end up treated in the same way as Canada's other curlers.

Anonymous said...


Competition is what it is all about. There would be nothing better than challenging and pushing both ways which ultimately would make the provincial programs stronger and overall a stronger country. The only ones afraid of the challenge would be the ones afraid of losing and that means we may not be sending our best. I respect Team Canada and the current program but I am not afraid to challenge them. I heard they flew some current provincial curlers into a camp for pre olympic competition. Why not just use your BC pool of talent, there are enough of them and are all either provincial, national, or world champions?

Anonymous said...

I doubt that Team Canada in its present form would hit the ice at Nationals, with their necks on the line. Why should they, or Ottawa want to risk it.

I DO THINK that a reasonable compromise would be a best of five (or even seven)game playoff with the National champions.

This concept has been floated before, but I doubt it has been formally proposed to the posers that be.

Surely, if they believe in the effectiveness of their own program, they should endorse such a playoff.

Anonymous said...

Never going to happen! EVER!

Anonymous said...


Haven't you had this conversation with Team canada?

Anonymous said...

I think we should be lobbying for a playoff, rather than simply bitching about it not happening. If there is no interest from us, rest assured there will be no interest from the CCA.

Anonymous said...

I agree.

If we want change, we have to ask for it. If we are satisfied with the system, then so be it.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right. Don't bitch if you are not prepared to ask for change.

And I don't see anyone supporting change.

Anonymous said...

Then you're not looking very hard.