Authored by Trevor Kerr
After Provincial Championships this weekend, we are left both shocked and at the same time awed.
The two newly crowned champions from competitions in British Columbia and Ontario contained NO members from any of the top eight positions in the National Team pool and, consequently, none of those eight will be playing in the National Championships in Ottawa in late March. Jim Armstrong with Mike Munro & Mark Ideson on his team lost to Ken Gregory. Gerry Austgarden with Sonja Gaudet on his team lost to Rich Green. The other teams at Nationals will not be able to challenge the likes of Skip Jim Armstrong, Sonja Gaudet, Gerry Ausgarden, Mark Ideson, Ina Forrest, Darryl Neighbour, and Mike Munro.
Regardless of the fact the "top eight" have been privileged to have received special and specialized coaching and higher level competition than most of the other WC curlers in Canada, it is shocking to think that they were not able to use those experiences to lead their teams to a championship against teams with no National pool members and playing with the benefit of coaches who do not have the resources of the CCA behind them.
Another way to look at this situation is to consider that perhaps the overall level of expertise of the other wheelchair curlers in Canada has developed to the point they are so competitive as to be able to knock off National pool members. This is an awesome consideration and, if it is accurate, bodes well for the future.
But what about now? Could it be there are better choices for members of the team which must prepare for Sochi in 2014? How many of those going to Sochi for the World Championships in two weeks will be there in 2014? Saskatchewan, national champions last year, have none of their curlers in the National pool. In fact, only Benoit and Denis, past Canadian Gold & Silver Medal teams, are in the pool. Is it possible, as has been suggested by some of our readers, there has been a lack of concentration by several of the National Team members? Perhaps the eight do not have the same drive or dedication to win their own National Championships? Only the eight, time and the National Team inner circle can give us the answers to these questions.