Sunday, August 28, 2011

Highland Wheelchair Curling begins in Inverness Sept. 27

The Highland WCC would like to encourage wheelchair users and all those with mobility problems, to join them on Tuesdays  from 1.30 to 3.30pm during the curling season at the Inverness Ice Centre. Sessions begin September 27 and you don't need to stay the full two hours.

Mo Simpson says: Wheelchair Curling is an enjoyable and social sport from grassroots to elite level. It is also one of a number of sports which can be played on an equal basis, alongside and with non-disabled people. The club will provide trained coaches and any equipment needed; just wear layers of clothing, gloves and a hat if required. Should I not be available when you come, please ask for Morven Marwick, Curling Development Officer, or Ron Wynton, Wheelchair Coach.

For further information on wheelchair curling or to book a Come and Try place please contact Mo Simpson at or tel: 01463 716227 or 07798 710404.

The Callie Commitment

As part of its commitment to bring new participants into the club, Regina's Callie CC is continuing its wheelchair curling program. If you use a wheelchair or know someone who does, join the fun. Contact Bob Capp at (306) 789-0367 or contact the Callie.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Entry deadline for 4th Annual Wetzikon (Zurich) Open is Sept. 30

The 4th Annual Wetzikon Invitational will take place October 22-23 at the Wetzikon Curling Centre, near Zurich SUI.

Competition details, including fees, accommodation and map can be found HERE along with an entry form to be completed by September 30.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Norwegian Open October 14-16. Registration deadline August 19.

This year's Norway Open will be held at the Halden Curling centre from October 14-16. The registration deadline for this event is Friday August 19 and full details including cost, transportation and accommodation can be found HERE. Email Anne Grethe Bremnes for more information.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nova Scotia loses a skip. New Brunswick gains a mentor

Nova Scotia skip Mike Fitzgerald on home ice at 2009 Nationals
[photo - Ian Readey]

Nova Scotia skip Mike Fitzgerald, who shares with Colleen Jones a record of four consecutive provincial titles, is retiring from his job and moving to New Brunswick where he and his wife Anna spent their childhood.

“I depart with mixed feelings," said Mike. "Loss in leaving a team that had success from a great work ethic and good coaching. Then there is the excitement of retiring and moving home knowing I have plenty of time to help the New Brunswick program develop.

“I have learned a great deal about wheelchair curling. In the beginning there was little instruction. Now I can use all that knowledge about skill development and team dynamics to assist others who are just beginning.”

Friend and teammate Laughie Rutt said, “It's sad to see him move on but it is something Mike had planned for years. Mike took us very close to the big prize. He remains one of the premier curlers in Canada.”

Fitzgerald was known in Lakeshore Curling Club as the ultimate competitor. He could be found at the club at least six times a week either practising or playing. He also worked with new curlers to improve their skills. Quiet and reserved off the ice, you would never find him talking of his accomplishments.

Good luck, Michael.  We'll be looking forward to New Brunswick challenging at future Nationals.

Deadline fast approaching for 5th Annual Kinross International

One of Scotland's most successful independently organised wheelchair spiels is the Kinross International, held this year between October 18-20th.

The Scottish national programme will be fielding two strong sides looking to impress the home fans and Canada, Russia, Norway and Switzerland have expressed interest in attending.

Application deadline is September 3. Contact Ena Stevenson for more information.

News from team Canada

There is very little news from Team Canada other than "Team Canada has been meeting and practicing on a regular basis."

There had been hopes to organise an Albertan summer camp for individuals who caught the attention of national coaches during last season's tour. This did not materialise because of unspecified "challenges" but it is hoped that a camp (details have not yet been circulated) can take place at the end of September in Richmond BC.

I am told invitees will be those who displayed the most promise based on (the) various camps from last season or as a result of observed performances and success at the Canadian Championships.

Jim Armstrong update: Jim's son Greg has been moved to a federal prison in Mississippi. Jim tells me there "are some interesting scenario's developing" but his son's present situation prevents him from making good on his promise to tell his side of the story in public. It is a story that the CCA have apparently heard and accepted for Jim to remain on the programme.

More from the Cape Cod Summerspiel

Quesnel resident Alison Duddy features prominently in a report by Percy Hebert of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer. She talks about her team's performance at last month's Cape Cod Summerspiel where her provincial team placed second in a field that included teams from Scotland Russia and USA.

The report, which includes game situations, strategy, tips and lots of credit where it was due, is the kind of reporting that we need to encourage if wheelchair users unfamiliar with the sport are to be enticed to try it.

Alison has featured several times here, never with a view to self-promotion, and sets an example that other curlers and coaches in general and Team Canada personnel in particular might consider emulating as part of a low cost, high benefit campaign to publicise the sport.

Invitation to compete at Lausanne International December 3-4

An invitation to compete at the 5th Annual Lausanne International at the Lausanne Olympique CC can be found HERE. The field will be limited to 12 teams and the attached registration form should be returned by September 30.

Open call to try out for Team USA

The US Curling Association has issued an open call for athletes interested in representing their country at the 2012 World Championships in South Korea.

The trial will be held in Wisconsin at the Madison CC from October 20 to 23rd. The top eight candidates, chosen on both on and off ice criteria, will be required to compete in the USA Open in Utica NY and the Cathy Kerr Bonspiel in Ottawa. Expenses will be covered for those events.

From that group, five athletes will be chosen for the mixed gender team that will compete at the Worlds.

With two retirements from the US national team already announced, there is an excellent opportunity for ambitious wheelchair users prepared to put in the practice to make the team.

Full details of the camp including registration and costs are available HERE.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

$50,000 grants available from Canada's Enabling Accessibility Fund

The Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) supports community-based projects across Canada that improve accessibility, remove barriers, and enable Canadians with disability to participate in and contribute to their communities. Grants up to $50,000 per project are available to improve the “built environment.”

If your curling club is looking to enhance its accessibility by:
• Constructing an interior or exterior ramp
• Installing wider doors or automated door openers
• Building an accessible washroom
• Installing an elevator or lift
• Enhancing interactive speech capability on a public-access computer

Visit HERE for more information on how to access funds but act quickly, the deadline for proposals is September 23, 2011.

BC residents can contact Penny Bartel for assistance in putting together a proposal.

6th Annual USA Open Utica NY November 11-13

Marc DePerno, team leader for the USA national team, has issued invitations to compete at the 6th Annual USA Open International taking place at the Utica CC November 11-13th, 2011.

Full details, including special rates on accommodation and transportation, are available HERE. Registration deadline is October 10th.

The field will be limited to 10 teams. More info from Marc DePerno.

Brits invited to a Wheelchair Curling Open Day on 4th September

Wheelchair users, coaches and assistants not already participating in the World Class Performance Programme or the Scottish Wheelchair Curling Association's Spokes Programme are invited to attend an instructional camp on Sunday 4th September from 9.30am to 4pm at Greenacres Curling Rink.

The Open Day will include both include “on-ice” and classroom sessions updating attendees on the latest technical and tactical thinking guiding the High Performance programmes.

Tony Zummack, British national coach, has been working with the national training squad on adjustments to technique with an aim of improving delivery accuracy. This camp will be an opportunity for others to hear his thinking and familiarise themselves with what Britain's most experienced athletes have been learning.

Tactical sophistication and situational awareness don't matter if you can't make your shots. Zummack believes his approach will improve accuracy, and September 4th is your opportunity to hear how he intends to do it.

There is no charge for the Open Day but numbers are limited and will be issued on a first come first served basis.

If you would like to attend the Open Day please e-mail to register.