Fear the Moose!

Northern Ontario skip Douglas Dean delivers his stone with support from teammate Rick Bell. (Photo, Curling Canada/Jean Doyon)

Team Northern Ontario maintains a perfect pace in Moose Jaw

Team Northern Ontario maintains a perfect pace in Moose Jaw

Team Northern Ontario (Douglas Dean) from Thunder Bay is the only team going into the Championship pool of the 2023 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship with an undefeated record.

They took on Team New Brunswick (Mike Fitzgerald) of Saint John and came out with a 7-1 win Wednesday in Moose Jaw Sask., to improve to 5-0 — the only unbeaten team in the 12-team field.

“The event has been great. We have been enjoying the ice, and as curling goes it takes a game or two to get used to the ice, but we feel like we have been shooting pretty good so far,” said Dean, whose team joined five others in the Championship Pool.

“Consistency is the biggest thing for us. Going through all the steps in your mind before your shot,” said Dean, sharing the key to the team’s current success. “Everybody on our team has a job to do, whether it’s holding the chair, or timing, or keeping an eye on the paths. So if everyone does those jobs, we can stay pretty consistent.”

Other action in Pool A had Ontario #2 (Paul Grose) from Ilderton, against Alberta #2 (Don Kuchelyma) from Edmonton. It was all Team Ontario #2 as they took a 13-1 win. Hometown favourites, Saskatchewan #1 (Gil Dash) of Moose Jaw was able to hold off Team B.C. (Gerry Austgarden) from Kelowna, Vernon, and Richmond, with a 6-2 win. 

In Pool B play, Saskatchewan #2 (Rod Pederson), another hometown favourite, out of Moose Jaw, had a great game defeating New Brunswick 15-1. Alberta #1 (Jack Smart) of Calgary had a solid game as they picked up the 6-2 win against Ontario #1 (Jon Thurston) of Schomberg. 

The championship pool will have teams Northern Ontario (5-0), Alberta #1 (4-1), Saskatchewan #1 (4-1), Quebec (4-1) and B.C. (3-2) competing for the 2023 national championship.

The seeding pool with have teams Saskatchewan #2 (3-2), Ontario #2 (2-3), New Brunswick (1-4), Newfoundland/Labrador (1-4), Alberta #2 (0-5) and Nova Scotia (0-5). 

In action Tuesday evening, Northern Ontario (Dean) defeated B.C. (Austgarden) 7-4; Saskatchewan #1 (Dash) beat Ontario #2 (Grose) 8-3 to secure their spot in the Championship Pool; Alberta #1 (Smart) fell 8-5 to Saskatchewan #2 (Pederson); Quebec (Lessard) defeated Nova Scotia (Rutt) in an 8-3 final; New Brunswick (Fitzgerald) had a strong game against Alberta #2 (Kuchelyma) and won 12-1; and Newfoundland/Labrador (Carroll) fell to Ontario (Thurston) in a 12-2 final. 

The 2023 Wheelchair Nationals Championship Pool action begins Wednesday night in Moose Jaw at 7 p.m. (all time CST). 

Live scoring and standings for the 2023 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships are available at curling.ca/scoreboard.

Streaming of this event can be found at plus.curling.ca