The 2019 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship got underway at the Boucherville Curling Club in Boucherville, Que., today with fourteen teams from across Canada vying for the national title.
In Draw 1 action, Ontario’s top-seeded team from the Toronto Cricket and Skating Club in Toronto, skipped by Jim Armstrong, with third Collinda Joseph, second Jon Thurston and lead Reid Mulligan, were successful in picking up a 5-4 win over Benoit Lessard and his top-seeded Quebec team of Carl Marquis, Johanne Mathieu and Francois Lavallee, representing Club de curling Magog. It was a nail-biter from the start, with Ontario holding a slight lead most of the game. A Quebec steal of one in the seventh meant a tied game coming home. The Armstrong squad was successful in securing the one point needed to solidify the win.
In other games, it was a triumphant start for last year’s champion, Marie Wright and her foursome from Saskatchewan as they defeated Newfoundland and Labrador (10-2) after six ends. Dennis Thiessen and his 2017 national champions from Manitoba surrendered their first draw (8-2) giving up steals of deuces in both the fourth and fifth ends to the British Columbia team skipped by Darryl Neighbor. Alberta’s Jack Smart was victorious over Nova Scotia’s Trendal Hubley-Bolivar, 10-3, and Ontario’s second-seeded team skipped by Jim Law had a commanding 9-4 win over New Brunswick’s Mike Fitzgerald.
Draw 2 action saw the two entries from Quebec battling it out on the ice. (Quebec received a second entry as the hosting province). Quebec’s host team skipped by Claude Brunet, representing Club de curling Victoria out of Quebec City, came out on top by a score of 9-4 over the Quebec team skipped by Lessard.
Other afternoon draws saw Ontario’s Armstrong rink pick up their second win to start pool play with a huge 11-0 victory after six ends over British Columbia’s second-seed team skipped by Gerry Austgarden. Ontario’s second-seeded team, skipped by Chris Rees, beat British Columbia’s top championship team skipped by 2007 national champion Darryl Neighbour.
Other games had Newfoundland and Labrador’s Cecilia Carroll’s team stealing in the fifth, sixth and seventh ends to pick up their first win over Doug Dean and his team from Northern Ontario 10-1. Manitoba’s Thiessen and Saskatchewan’s Donna Ackerman battled it out right to the last rocks with Manitoba scoring three and securing a 5-2 win.
Pool play continues on Saturday with two more draws, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. EDT.
The teams will play six round-robin games, and the top three teams in each pool will advance to the playoffs — the two pool-winners will go straight to the semifinals, set for Tuesday at 7 p.m., while the second- and third-place teams will meet in cross-over quarter-finals (second in Pool A vs. third in Pool B; second in Pool B vs. third in Pool A) Tuesday at 10 a.m.
The gold- and bronze-medal games will take place Wednesday, May 1, at noon.