SASKATCHEWAN wins 2012 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships
1st - Team Saskatchewan
2nd - Team Alberta
3rd Place - Team Ontario
Nerves can do strange things when the chips are on the line. Both teams shot well all week but seemed to be a bit tight in the final game could it have been nerves? Saskatchewan won the battle of nerves in a close and tight game to emerge the 2012 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Champions. Both teams shot in the high 50's but it was a clutch shot by Darwin Bender that sent the game into an extra end and whipped the crowd into a frenzy of cheers. The extra end provided more excellent shot making and high tension. When Gil Dash raised his rock onto the pin and dead buried it proved too much for Alberta and although they tried desperately to get at the shot it wasn't to be.
It has been a week of long days and short nights for most of the teams and ALL of the volunteers and organizers; but the waking hours have been spent renewing friendships, building new ones and enjoying the warm hospitality of our hosts at the Thunder Bay Curling Club.
The Host team, composed of players from Sudbury and Thunder Bay, probably could have benefited with more playing time together. Newfoundland struggled to be consistent with their delivery but managed a pair of wins. Nova Scotia was close in many of their games and one key shot here and there would have altered their fortunes. British Columbia was a surprise because they have been a power over the years. Another surprise was the finish of Manitoba, last year's champions. Although they started the week with four straight wins, a string of five straight loses dropped them down in the standings. Northern Ontario won the Challenge Cup over their southern neighbours but lost in the tie-breaker to miss the playoffs. Ontario got their money's worth by playing the most extra ends of all the teams and won the rematch against Quebec, a team that was a formidable opponent for any team, in the playoffs but ran into a juggernaut when they met Saskatchewan in the semi-final. Finally, Alberta started strongly and, were it not for a single blemish during the round robin, would have gone undefeated throughout the event.
This tournament above all others has shown us that the wheelchair game is not far removed from the able bodied cousin. There are some who refer to wheelchair curlers as the only pure curlers and who wonder what the results would be in a competition between a top wheelchair team and a top men's and/or women's team played without the use of brooms. Many wheelchair curlers are playing on able-bodied teams as individuals and as complete teams in able-body leagues not only across Canada but in some other countries as well. Who knows perhaps one day soon we shall see the "wheelies" mixing in with the AB men and women in the Continental Cup.
Also, a BIG thank you to Trevor Kerr my writer and partner on this venture. The 18 hour days we put in to produce the blog hopefully indicate to you the reader our dedication to tell the stories with the facts and not our opinions. He was critical to making this happen and I do hope he enjoyed the experience as much as I did and will be able to join us again.
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