Even though Rick Hansen wasn’t in Moose Jaw to take part in the Rick Hansen Man in Motion 25th anniversary relay on Thursday afternoon, his spirit and determination could be seen and heard throughout the different events being held at the Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre, Mosaic Place and 15 Wing.
Events got under way at 15 Wing with a wheelchair basketball demonstration and continued at the Curling Centre where members of the national curling team showed local high school students and members of the media how to play the sport of wheelchair curling. Four teams played a game of two ends with every person getting the opportunity to try curling with a stick, while sitting in a wheelchair.
“We are just demonstrating the sport,” said Marie Wright, second on the national team.
Wright and her teammates couldn’t be happier to have the Relay come through Moose Jaw and have the city and citizens see and appreciate the sport. Although the sport has grown in Canada, the province of Saskatchewan is still behind in the number of curlers.
“Saskatchewan is where we are having the hardest time getting the awareness of the sport,” explained Wright. “We still have try outs, but not a lot of people come out. Whereas, if we could get enough teams in other cities, then we could actually have play downs.
“So we are hoping this raise awareness in some of the bigger cities and anywhere,” Wright said. “Getting out and involved just gives you a lot of confidence and knowing that you can actually do things.”
The national team practices at the Regina Callie Club, as it more central for of the team members, but Wright practices in Moose Jaw. She also hopes having the demonstrations will show others what the sport is and what is means to the curlers to be able to participate in the sport.
“It is a community, it really is,” said Wright. “A lot of people don’t really look at wheelchair curling as a sport, so it means a lot for them to see that it is very precise, you have to hit the broom and you have to the proper weights.”
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