Featured Curling Athlete: Wayne Ficek

Wayne Ficek has captured four Northern Ontario Provincial Wheelchair Curling Championships, including a fourth-place finish at the national championship in 2009, but the new season holds a special appeal that has nothing to do with his own curling goals. “My 11-year-old daughter started curling last year,” says the proud dad. “I can’t wait for Little Rocks to start.”

Wayne Ficek calls the sweeping at the 2011 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships (CCA Photo)

Ficek, playing out of the Kenora Curling Club, hopes to keep up his run as the team to beat in Northern Ontario, with provincial titles in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.  But the action isn’t all on the ice. Ficek is also busy volunteering at events at his home club, including the 2009 Provincial Wheelchair Curling Championships, and the upcoming 2012 provincial Scotties championship. When he’s not curling, Ficek has much to be proud of.  There’s his daughter, Becky, the new curler, and his “best friend,” Darci, his wife of 28 years. And of course, like most curlers, Ficek gives back to his community. “I’m very proud of my advocacy work on behalf of people with physical disabilities.” Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba Hometown: Kenora, Ontario Curling Club: Kenora Curling Club Current Team: Team Ficek Position: Skip Delivery: Right Nickname: Teddy Quick Hits with Wayne Ficek Do you have any superstitions? “Yes, I carry a gift from a healing circle (a rock) that I attended years ago.” Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party. “Michael J. Fox, Christopher Reeve and Jeff Healey. Would be interested to listen to their reality in life given their circumstances.” If you could be a star in any other sport, what would it be, and why? “Starting pitcher in the big leagues.” If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why? “I would like to see that the team with hammer has to score 2 to count any points. If that team only gets one, then its blank and they lose hammer. Think it would make the game with even more rocks in play.” What music do you like to listen to before a game? “Any kind depending on my mood.” Favourite: … Website?Wheelchaircurling.com.  Eric has been great promoting our sport.” … Order from Tim Hortons? “Chicken bacon club on whole wheat and an ice cap.” … Vacation destination? “Would like to visit the Caribbean” … Junk food? “Try to avoid it, but like it all……” Do you have any pet peeves? “People who always look at the glass half empty instead of full.” Three things you always travel with? “My wheelchair, my packsack on the back of my chair and a rock I got from an Native elder at a healing circle while in University.” First thing on your Bucket List? “To get a couple of friends back into my life that have drifted apart over the years for silly reasons.” Favourite pastime between games?  “Socializing with teammates and other teams and a power purr if necessary.” One thing most people don’t know about you? “That my goal is to make the Canadian pool for wheelchair curlers and a shot on the national team.” What is the biggest misconception about curlers? “That we are not really athletes in the same sense as other sports.  I think it is a game that many do not understand and looks a lot easier than it really is.” Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal: “In-turn hit for the win.”