Monday, November 22, 2010

Comment from Team Canada coach Joe Rea

Team Canada coaches this season are undertaking two tasks. The first, to prepare a team that will travel to Prague next February to defend their World title and hopefully gain their first points towards qualifying for the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. The second, to organise a series of talent identification and development camps across the country, giving those wheelchair users not currently part of the national program, an opportunity to demonstrate their skills.

Whenever there is a post about Team Canada the comments tend to concentrate on personalities: why has this person been favoured over that, why isn't this person being considered, my dad's bigger than your dad and so on. To 'clear up any confusion', National Team Coach Joe Rea writes:

"Just to clear the air about who attended the Richmond Camp last weekend: it was Jim, Darryl, Ina, Sonja, Bruno, Chris Sobkowicz, Gerry Austgarden, Gary Cormack, Whitney Warren and Frank LaBounty. 

"These players were invited to camp because of their record in Nationals last season and/or being part of the last cuts to Team Canada. 

"We will also have a second team competing in the Richmond (RDC) spiel at the beginning of December consisting of Gerry Austgarden, Anne Hibberd from Calgary, Whitney and Frank. Bruno Yizek will start playing with a second Korean team, which is a player short.

"We are continuing with the regional camps in each province to help identify potential Team Canada pool participants over the balance of this season. I hope this clears up any confusion."

Attendance at the provincial camps is at the discretion of provincial, not national coaches. Although CCA guidance was for provincial champions and perhaps one or two additional players to be invited, different provinces have taken different approaches to who and how many should attend.

"By the end of the season," Joe Rea told me, "we will have seen most if not all players with the skills and attitude to become part of Team Canada. If anyone feels they have been overlooked, they must ask their provincial coaches to recommend that we take a look at them. Players are asked to make a big commitment, and one of the things these provincial camps allow us to do is explain what is expected. We understand that players seen at the beginning of the season will not have had the same opportunities to practice as those seen later, but the evaluation process is not just about statistics."

In addition to the Richmond spiel in December, Team Canada hope to take a team to Scotland in the middle of January, though whether that will be the medal team or a development team hasn't been decided.

At the end of the season, after the provincial camps, there will be a large Team Canada training camp of players who will form the core group for the 2014 Paralympics, though it will still be possible to break into this group next season.

"Standards of play have risen significantly over the past several years," says Joe Rea. "We need players who have the time and commitment to put in the necessary work. We also need players who understand the game, and have what it takes to be a team player. The aim is for an open and honest evaluation to make the Canadian Team.”

The CCA, to their credit, have made an effort this year to give everyone who's shown ability, an opportunity to impress national coaches. The path is clear - convince your province's wheelchair curling co-ordinator that you should attend a camp in your area, and then show who you are and what you can do. You may not make it, but at least you'll have had the opportunity to try.


Anonymous said...

Seems liike a solid commitment to uncover available talent from across the country. Is Chris Daw attending the B.C. Camp?

. said...

Not as far as I know. Invitations via CurlBC regional coach Al Moore (husband of TV curling broadcaster Linda) were sent to "virtually everyone" not previously associated with the Paralympic program. As I have suggested before, if Chris wants to try a come-back, then he has the access and the opportunity to make that desire known. Lobbying on his behalf may flatter him, but is unlikely to affect things one way or the other.

Anonymous said...

It appears to be "a solid commitment to uncover available talent" truth is, it is unlikely to help talented players feel like there is any possibility of representing Canada when these camps are "informational sessions and not tryouts for the pool".
What happened to the overwhelming response to the CCA survey that teams that win nationals should get the opportunity to represent Canada?

Bruce Cameron said...

The coaches comments are interesting.

I would like to comment on the skill evalution of Team Quebec. Three years ago they entered the Cathy Kerr bonspiel as a first year recreational team. This year they won the Gold in the competitive division. Their performance at the Cape Cod summer spiel, Utica and now the Cathy Kerr has been outstanding. Ben Lessard (skip) and Carl Marquis (third) have adapted the Team Canada style of delivery and are very effect with it. that should appease the Team Canada coach. They are currently curling as good as any member of the current Team Canada "pool". Both these athletes have "proven track records" in other sports. Ben Lessard is a successful World class water skier. Carl Marquis has competed at the provincial and national level in sledge hockey and track events. Yes they might be weak in the strategy part of curling but I will tell you they have a coach who is working very hard with them and that part of their game has also advanced dramatically. If these two Quebec curlers do not make the Team Canada pool competing for 2014 team spots then the program is not transparent....plain and simple.

Carl Rennick, CoCoach, Team Bradford said...

If the CCA is truly committed to identifying talent from across the country and to quote the National Coach, "will have seen most if not all players with the skills and attitude to become part of Team Canada"--they missed a great scouting opportunity at the Kathy Kerr Memorial Bonspiel in Ottawa this past weekend (Location of the CCA's head office). In attendance were three current Provincial Championship teams, two past Provincial Championship teams, a very competetive contingent from Manitoba, and the players from the United States National Program.

Anonymous said...

i think eveeryone is simply wondering if Daw is even interested in attending a camp.

Anonymous said...

The whole statement by Joe is very defencive statment. We make plugs at people thoughout the whole thing. Team Player, more than stats. Basically he and Wnedy can select who they want and if the person is not selected than they can have what ever reasin they want,

You your self Eric state, Al Moore contacted everyone but not Chris, WHY?

Why does someone not contact him, may he is waiting to see if the program is open to have a look at him and not the other way around. I don't think Chris is the type of person to be flattered by people asking for him to be looked at, I think maybe he is waiting to see if someone what to look at him.

This is the only thing that make sense as Al ha snto contacted him.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Canada wins Gold loses 1 game at the paralympics and people critize the coaches, the CCA, and the National program. Really people could we have done any better. I am sure there is great curlers out there, process and procedures in place will identify them that's been stated. In the mean time 5 truly great athletes have done nothing to warrant that they are or should be replaced in the near future. As the CCA and coaching staff work through the process of recruitment try to at least be positive to the way the program has been run, the success the teams have had and the continued success of the program.

. said...

Some quick comments on the comments:

I wonder whether the organisers of the Cathy Kerr specifically invited Wendy Morgan or Gerry Peckham, both Ontario based, to attend? May have made a difference if made early enough. Something to consider for next year.

I agree that as soon as coaches add intangibles into the qualification mix, then they are giving themselves permission to choose anyone. That's not to say they did not pick the team most likely to win a medal.

To change the selection system, to make Team Canada mean more than a tribute to its funders, individual wheelchair curlers have to organise, affiliate and change their province's support for the current system. That takes work but it could be done. At the end of it, you'd still have to beat a BC team drawn from Jim, Darryl, Ina, Sonja, Gary, Gerry and several others good enough to appear in the final of last year's national championships.

Finally, say what you will about Chris Daw, but he is not shy. If he was interested and felt it was possible to rejoin the national program, he would not need to wait for an invitation.

Anonymous said...

I am a wheelchair curling coach and I for one would like to congatulate Team Canada on what they have accomplished SINCE the sports beginning. The bench mark for inclusion into the program is very high as it should be. Club and provincialcoaches need to be working WITH our athlete's to develope them into National Program candidates. This also means understanding what our National Program is looking for and helping athlete's work towards that goal. One day we may see a provincial team win Nationals and be declared Team Canada to compete at the Worlds. I personally do not feel we have enough strength at each position in each province to be there today, but yes, someday. If we do our jobs at the club and provincial level, develop stronger teams,the Team Canada pool becomes so large and talented that the athlete's now do control their own destiny. Hockey uses selection rather than the OLD national program because today in sport if you don't podium you don't get funding, SIMPLE. We need to support the program to recieve the funding to allow other programs to fill in the bottom grass roots programs. I know that sounds backwards but that is the way it works. If I was an athlete and felt I could contribute to the program I would make that known to a coach, regional director or the National Program directly. If I was RUNNING the program I would not be cold calling athletes to sign them up for a try out because then the ATHLETE is puting themselves ABOVE the program and we do not have ANYONE bigger than the program. I do believe that the program will add people through the camps this year and after Nationals also. Our program has been successful because of the personnel both on and off the ice, each of those individuals from DAY 1 can take credit for our program today.

Anonymous said...

So is Chris attending the B.C. Camp?

I understand he will be playimng in the Richmond event, BUT not with either Team Canada Team.

Anonymous said...

I think he is playing with Cormack, Miele, and Jensen, last year's Canadian Champs......soething for the future?

Anonymous said...

Interesting it for B.C. Provincials? How will it line up?

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I think Chris will have to go through the provincial association to get a real look. That said, Team Canada will be out in Richmond next week, and Chris and others are available for a look.

Anonymous said...

Who are the teams at Richmond? Is Team Canada playing together, or split up?

Is Daw playing definitely? If so, it must mean he is at least testing the water for a return.

. said...

Try scanning the previous posts list.

Anonymous said...

Or it could mean he just wanted to play the game of curling.

Anonymous said...

Chris probably won't join the team unless they agree to put his picture in the ice.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Eric, I cannot find your link. So to be clear, is Daw trying a come-back? Will Cormack cut someone from his championship team?

Don't think that is right.

. said...

If you paste in this url, it will take you to the post describing the teams.

Alternatively you can look down the list of November posts that are on the right hand side of the blog. You'll find it at November 17.

Who Cares! said...

Why is it that no body on here can just leave Chris Daw alone.

Who cares if he is playing or not.

Who cares if he is try for a comeback or not.

Does he play?

Does he not have a right to try out for Team Canada should he choose.

Really WHO CARES!!!!!

Leave the poor guy alone. He is playing next week, we know that.

Does it mean is his back on team Canada, NO.

Does he want to be back on Team Canada, WHO CARES!

He has the right to try out for the team just like everyone else.

If he makes it he makes it if not


I have read the posts on here and you all seem so obsessed with what Chris does or does not do, I don’t get . The guy has do so much to help the sport and all you want to do is knock him do now. Why???????

You think the guy is ass, your choice but most of you if you sit back and think about it owe him just a little for getting the sport to where it is today. As you do with every other person who has ever played on Team Canada.

You are all a little to “band wagonish” with how you look at people. Chris really has never wronged anyone, yet you treat him like he killed someone.

Chris never did anything close to what Jim did yet Jim is forgotten that he broke the law.

I mean seriously folks, GET OVER IT!!!!

Leave Chris alone. If he wants to come back, who are you or I to say he cannot. No one has a place at the table other than those who sit there already and if Chris make it back to the table the good on him because you all shit on him day after day with no real cause or reason.

And to those about to ask; am I a fan. NO, I just thing in justice is injustice regardless of who it is.


Anonymous said...

With all due respect, Blogger, I for one, am pulling FOR Chris Daw. This is the start of a new four year cycle, and what better time for him to attempt a comeback? He is in Vancouver as well, which would make it much easier for him to train, as well. SO WHY DON'T YOU GET OVER IT, AND ACCEPT THE FACT THAT OUR INTEREST IN DAW IS TO SEE HIM AT LEAST ATTEMPT A COMEBACK

Gary Cormack said...

Eric, I had to reply to one of your "Blogger's comments"

To the Anonymous Blogger who failed to leave their name and who has made reference to me with respect to the cutting of any member of OUR championship team. I am very hurt by your comments and you show very little respect for any of your fellow curlers by what you claim. Maybe I should put the shoe on the other foot and say that this is something you would do? So, if you had any guts, put your name to your comments. For the record, I don't cut players and if any changes were to be made, I would be the first to step aside. I value and respect the people I play with. Do you?

Anonymous said...

Gary, I think the point is if Chris is playing with you in playdowns as well as the Richmond event? If so, someone from last year will be left out, or added as a fifith?

M. Dwyer said...

How the hell does anyone know if Chris is even playing in play downs?

I think people are jumping the gun allot. Chris is playing in 1 event, Richmond.

Provincials, play downs, a team, anything is very much up in the air and if anything as been decided Chris is not saying anything.

I spoke with him yesterday and he would only confirm he is playing next week in Richmond. He is playing with Chris S., Gary and Corrine.

I asked him about making a come back, he said No. I asked him about provincials, he said nothing for him has been decided. He was just happy to have an opportunity to play, does not care what position. As he said to me, token water boy is good for him, he just wants to have fun and play the game when and if the opportunity lets him.

He says he is very family minded right now and work is his other big responsibility.

I asked him about what he thought about this website, if he reads it and what he thinks about the comments on here.

His answer; "eric's website provides an opportunity for people to voice opinion, good or bad. It is an outlet for some and opportunity for others." He also said; "it can provide information regarding the sport."

He asked if he reads it; " I read it from time to time, maybe once every few months or if someone tells me something interesting."

Does he make comments on it; " regardless of what people think, no. I don't have the time or energy to filter though the opinions."

And as for the comments on the website; "look; people can think what they want of me. I know I am a target. Anyone in the program is. Why I am after 3 years of being out of the program , I have no idea. I know who I am today. I have made my apologies for what I did in the past and to whom I need to apologize to. I can not change who I was, I can only change who I am today and who I will be tomorrow. My life has change in so many ways. My wife, new job, new child. I am not who I was and only ask people to talk to me and not about me."

I interviewed Chris for a university article I am writing about Paralympic retirement and athlete transition.

My suggestion to everyone regardless of what you might think of Chris is just to talk to him. He seems very open about the past, and present. No so much about the future but who can blame him.

If you don't want to ask him the questions, I will.

Anonymous said...

"Token Water Boy"? Sounds like Chris certainly wans to play, and good for him. Let's hope he gets the chance.