SOCHI, Russia — Already the site this year of two gold-medal performances by Maple Leaf-clad teams, the Canadian wheelchair team will open play on Saturday at the Ice Cube Curling Center in Sochi in pursuit of a third consecutive Paralympic Winter Games gold medal.
Team Canada — featuring skip Jim Armstrong (Cambridge, Ont.), third Dennis Thiessen (Sanford, Man.), second Ina Forrest (Armstrong, B.C.), lead Sonja Gaudet (Vernon, B.C.), alternate Mark Ideson (London, Ont.), coach Joe Rea (Prince George, B.C.), assistant coach Wayne Kiel (Earl Grey, Sask.) and team leader Wendy Morgan (Burlington, Ont.) — will take on Great Britain’s Aileen Neilson in its opening game Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Sochi time (12:30 a.m. Eastern).
Team Canada has prevailed every time wheelchair curling has been contested at the Paralympics, beginning with Chris Daw’s 2006 triumph in Torino, Italy, and followed by Armstrong claiming gold four years later in Vancouver.
Gaudet was a member of both of those teams, and will be pursuing an unprecedented third Paralympics gold medal.
The Canadian lineup has had success previously in Sochi, having won the World Wheelchair Championship a year ago at the Ice Cube. It was the test event for the 2014 Paralympics.
The curling competition will be played in the same building where Canada’s Brad Jacobs and Jennifer Jones won gold medals during the Winter Olympics, and also will feature the same format — a 10-team round-robin draw, leading to a four-team playoff, with the first- and fourth-place teams meeting in one semifinal and the second- and third-place teams meeting in the other semi.
The semifinals and medal games are scheduled for March 15.
Here is Canada’s round-robin schedule (all times Eastern). Games will be streamed live at paralympic.ca/live-stream
March 8, 12:30 a.m. — Canada vs. Great Britain (Aileen Neilson)
March 8, 6:30 a.m. — Canada vs. Russia (Andrey Smirnov)
March 9, 6:30 a.m. — Canada vs. Sweden (Jalle Jungnell)
March 10, 12:30 a.m. — Canada vs. U.S. (Patrick McDonald)
March 10, 6:30 a.m. — Canada. vs. Norway (Rune Lorentsen)
March 11, 6:30 a.m. — Canada vs. China (Wang Haitao)
March 12, 12:30 a.m. — Canada vs. South Korea (Myung-Jin Kim)
March 13, 12:30 a.m. — Canada vs. Slovakia (Radoslav Duriš)
March 13, 6:30 a.m. — Canada. vs. Finland (Markku Karjalainen)
Live scoring during the Paralympics will be available at: sochi2014.curlingevents.com/
As well, you can follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/ccacurling.