Manitoba Wins the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship
Manitoba’s Chris Sobkowicz captured the 2011 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship Sunday in Edmonton, Alberta, defeating Alberta’s Bruno Yizek, 8-7.Nova Scotia and Manitoba squared off in the semi final Sunday morning. With the hammer, Nova Scotia got one in the first to go up 1-0. Manitoba skip Chris Sobkowicz had a chance to draw in for two in the second, but came up light, putting up only one point to tie the game. Michael Fitzgerald, skip for Nova Scotia, tried to tick in against one but didn’t quite make it, giving a steal of one to Manitoba who went up 2-1 after three. Nova Scotia made a nice hit for the blank to go to the fourth end break, leaving the score at 2-1 for Manitoba. After the break, Nova Scotia’s Michael Fitzgerald made a hit for two to go up 3-2 on the scoreboard. In the sixth, lying two, Manitoba tried to draw in for three, but skip Chris Sobkowicz wrecked on the guard, getting only the deuce to take the lead 4-3. Manitoba widened their lead in the seventh, going up 6-3 after a steal of two. In the final end, Nova Scotia was run out of stones, giving Manitoba the win and a shot at Alberta in the final. In an all-prairie final, Alberta started with the hammer, and drew to the pin for one in the first. Manitoba skip Chris Sobkowicz answered back with a nice tap for 2 in the second, to go up 2-1 over Alberta. The momentum shifted in the third however, when a miss by Manitoba allowed Alberta skip Bruno Yizek to draw for three and take the lead 4-2. End four brought about a series of perfect freezes, so even though Manitoba was heavy on their last, they still took one to leave the score 4-3 for Alberta at the break. In the fifth end, Alberta tried to draw against a mess of Manitoba rocks, accidentally bouncing one in, giving Manitoba a steal for 2. Manitoba took the lead 5-4. Skip Chris Sobkowicz went through with his last Manitoba rock in the sixth, and though the Alberta draw looked light, skip Bruno Yizek still made it for two to go up 6-5. The seventh end was a big one for Manitoba, as they capitalized on a miss from Alberta’s last shot, leading to a Manitoba draw for 3. Going into the eighth end, Manitoba had a 8-6 lead. Alberta would have hammer coming home. Lying one and needing a hit or a draw to tie it and force the extra end, Alberta skip Bruno Yizek opted for the draw, and came up light. Manitoba won the final game 8-7. Presentations were made at the victory banquet for a number of awards. The All-Star team, as chosen by the teams was: Debbie Earle (lead – NS), Trendal Hubley-Bolivar (second – NS), Dennis Thiessen (third – MB), and Michael Fitzgerald (skip – NS). The Sportsmanship Award was voted on by curlers only, and was awarded to Frank Labounty (BC), with Honorable Mention going to Joanne MacDonald (NL). The 2012 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship will take place in Thunder Bay, Ontario.