Orginal article - Tourism Northern Ontario
Ten teams from across Canada will compete for the Canadian title with representatives from nine of 10 provinces and Northern Ontario.
"The Canadian Curling Association's wheelchair championship continues to grow as an event adding New Brunswick this year to bring the field to 10 teams,” said Danny Lamoureux, Director of Curling Club Development & Championship Services for the Canadian Curling Association.
“We recognize the hard work of the Thunder Bay host committee in creating a first class experience for the more than 50 athletes expected here in March. The play on the ice and the camaraderie off the ice will be exceptional, add Lamoureux.
Photos by Ron Jason
Northern Ontario ChampionshipsThe Northern Ontario champions will be declared in Sudbury at the NOCA Wheelchair Curling Provincials January 27 -29, 2012 with a number of local Thunder Bay curlers competing for the title. They include Team Levesque: Carl Levesque, Rick Bell, Mel Prairie, Sharon LaFroye; Coach Dave Kawahara; Team Sonego: Gino Sonego, Richard Dawid, Terry Lynch, Linda Kontunen; Coach Mike Bergquist.
Presenting SponsorsThe Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company (The Dominion) in partnership with Shoppers Home Health Care/Invacare and are the presenting sponsors for the Canadian championships. Dave Baxter of Thunder Bay Insurance, the local provider for Dominion of Canada Insurance and Jim Crooks of Shoppers Home Healthcare say they are proud to support this national event. Local organizers have packages for other local sponsors to get on board and showcase Thunder Bay’s support for backing this championship event.
Dave Kawahara, Chair for the Canadian championships has been working hard over the past five years to promote wheelchair curling in Thunder Bay, culminating in the Canadian championship event in March. Kawahara was instrumental in fundraising efforts that resulted in the installation of the elevator to make the Fort William Curling Club a wheelchair accessible facility to host grassroots and competitive wheelchair curling events.
Unique Event To Host“The Canadian championships is sure to create awareness for accessibility in our community by way our local facilities, transportation and volunteers manage the logistics of handling the wheelchair athletes and other participants for this high profile event,” said Kawahara.
Local hotels are taking measures to accommodate accessibility for competing athletes by removing and re-arranging room furniture and even taking doors off washrooms to make them accessible explained Kawahara. HAGI Transit is involved with handling the transportation of athletes from when they arrive at the Thunder Bay airport, to local travel during event through to team departures.
The marshaling of athletes onto the ice surface is one example of where extra volunteers are required to assist with bringing athletes into the building, cleaning the tires on wheelchairs and getting them ready for competition for each of the round robin draws and playoffs.
Volunteers are always key explained Kawahara, noting the host committee is actively recruiting people to assist with running the completion over nine days in March. People can sign up to volunteer by filling out forms at the Fort William Curling Club or calling for information at 622-5377.
Promoting Sports TourismThe City of Thunder Bay realizes the value that sports events like the Canadian Wheelchair championships bring to our community.
“The spending of the participants, spectators, family and friends visiting the city generates economic activity in our city for a week,” said Keith Hobbs, Mayor of Thunder Bay
“People are staying at local hotels, eating at our restaurants and shopping at local businesses during their stay, And the media attention events like this create, further promotes what Thunder Bay has to offer to host championship events,” added Hobbs.
The local host committee held a media launch for event on Wednesday, January 18 with coverage provided by all local media - newspaper, radio and television. Read the story from the Chronicle Journal.
The Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships began in 2004. The championships have been instrumental in growing the sport of wheelchair curling in communities across Canada.
Submitted by CCA -