The 11th Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship begins Monday at the Club de curling de Boucherville.
Ten teams will compete in a round robin from April 28-May 2, leading to the Page playoffs (1 vs 2, winner to final, loser to semifinal; 3 vs 4, winner to semifinal, loser eliminated) on Saturday, May 3, with the semifinal (10 a.m. EDT) and final (2:30 p.m. EDT) scheduled for Sunday, May 4.
The roster includes a number of Canadian and world champions. The 2013 national champion, Quebec, skipped by Benoît Lessard of Magog, has returned to defend its title, along with teammates Carl Marquis, Sébastien Boisvert, Johanne Daly and coach Germain Tremblay. Last year, Lessard defeated British Columbia’s Gary Cormack, 10-2 in the final held at the RA Centre in Ottawa.
British Columbia will be directed by Richmond’s two-time Canadian and World Wheelchair champion and 2010 Paralympic gold medallist Darryl Neighbour, while his third, Frank LaBounty, is a three-time national champion. Second Vince Miele and alternate Gary Cormack are two-time Canadian champions.
Saskatchewan’s Darwin Bender of Regina and his Callie Curling Club team of Gil Dash, Marie Wright and Larry Schrader won the 2012 Canadian title in Thunder Bay, Ont. The team coach is Lorraine Arguin, who recently skipped Saskatchewan to a runner-up finish at the Canadian Seniors in Yellowknife, N.W.T., losing the final to Manitoba’s Lois Fowler.
Manitoba skip Dennis Thiessen of Winnipeg and second Melissa Lecuyer teamed to win the 2011 Canadian title in Edmonton. Thiessen also played for Canada (skip Jim Armstrong) when winning gold medals at the 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championship and 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Team Alberta, representing the Calgary Curling Club, has returned intact as well, except that Jack Smart and Bruno Yizek have switched positions, with Smart now skipping and Yizek at third. Yizek was the alternate for Canada (skip Jim Armstrong) when winning gold medals at both the 2010 Paralympic Games in Vancouver and the 2011 World Wheelchair Curling Championship in Prague.
Completing the field are New Brunswick (skip Michael Fitzgerald of Saint John), Newfoundland/Labrador (Joanne MacDonald of St. John’s), Northern Ontario (Gino Sonego of Thunder Bay), Nova Scotia (George Horning of Lower Sackville) and Ontario (Mike Munro of Ilderton).
Horning played lead for Manitoba’s Chris Sobkowicz when winning the 2011 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship.
Ontario third Mark Ideson won gold as the alternate for Canada (skip Jim Armstrong) at both the 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championship and 2014 Paralympic Games.
New Brunswick coach Jane Arseneau was the 2011 Canadian and 2012 World Seniors champion while playing lead for Heidi Hanlon.
Since the inaugural Canadian championship in 2004, British Columbia has four titles – in 2007 (skip Darryl Neighbour), 2008 and 2009 (skip Jim Armstrong) and 2010 (skip Gary Cormack). Team Canada (skip Chris Dawe) has three victories (2004-2006) while Manitoba (2011) , Saskatchewan (2012) and Quebec (2013) have each won once.
For media accreditation and inquiries during the event, contact Danny Lamoureux (email@example.com or 613-878-3682). Draw results and other event information will be available at www.curling.ca and http://www.curling.ca/2014wheelchair-en.
Team practices will take place on Sunday, April 27, from 2-5 p.m. and Monday, April 28, from 9 a.m.-noon. The Opening Ceremony will be at 5 p.m. on Monday, followed by the first draw at 6 p.m. From Tuesday through Friday, there are two draws daily, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. All games, including playoffs, are eight ends, unless an extra end is required.