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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Medichair curling team heads to provincials

Medichair curling team heads to provincials

Norm Martel, second, holds the wheelchair steady for Dennis Duclos, third, as he delivers a curling stone.
Photo courtesy Brent Gervais
A wheelchair curling team organized through Medichair’s franchise in Sudbury, Ont., will take part in the Northern Ontario Curling Association (NOCA) Wheelchair Provincials next month in Kenora, Ont.
Competing since October 2010, Team Prudhomme was a provincial finalist in both 2011 and 2012 and attended the national wheelchair curling competition last March as the host team.
“It’s hard to believe the 2013 Northern Ontario Wheelchair Curling Championship is almost upon us,” says Norm Gervais, owner of Medichair Sudbury—which sells home medical equipment—and coach of the team. “We have restructured the team this year and after a couple of seasons finishing second, we believe this is our year to win.”
Gervais says the sport of wheelchair curling could be much bigger in Northern Ontario if community curling associations made their rinks wheelchair-accessible.
“I encourage all residents to come out and watch wheelchair curling,” he says. “I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised at the high level of competition. Many of the wheelchair curlers are former able-bodied athletes. It’s also a lot harder than it looks. First of all, there is no sweeping and every curler must throw his/her 18-kg (40-lb) stone sitting in a stationary wheelchair using a curling stick. Each team has four players, one of which must be a female. Some teams also have a spare.”

This year’s team consists of:
● Rick Prudhomme, skip;
● Dennis Duclos, third;
● Norm Martel, second; and
● Linda Kontunen, lead.

The competition will take place from February 22 to 24. The winners will advance to the Nationals, to be held in Ottawa from March 24 to 31.


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