Mark Ideson of London, Ont., will take over skipping the team in Finland,
with longtime national team skip Jim Armstrong of Cambridge, Ont., missing
the event due to health issues.
Ideson, who will throw lead rocks for Team Canada, was the alternate for
the Canadian teams that won gold at the most recent World Wheelchair
Championship, in 2013 in Sochi, Russia, and also captured gold in the same
position at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi.
He’ll be joined in Finland by veteran national-team members vice-skip Ina
Forrest of Armstrong, B.C. (who’ll throw last rocks), third Dennis Thiessen
of Sanford, Man., and second Sonja Gaudet of Vernon, B.C. — all of whom
were members of the Paralympic gold-medal team (Gaudet’s third Paralympic
gold and Forrest’s second).
Also travelling to Finland will be Marie Wright of Moose Jaw, Sask., who’ll
be making her national team debut as Team Canada’s alternate. Wright was a
member of Team Saskatchewan, winner of the 2012 Canadian Wheelchair Curling
“We’re optimistic about the look of this team going to Finland,” said Greg
Stremlaw, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Curling Association. “We
ended the 2013-14 season ranked first in the world in Wheelchair Curling,
and while we know Team Canada will be adjusting to a new lineup, I know
this group and its coaching staff will be performing at its best in pursuit
of the gold medal.”
Canada has won a leading three gold medals at the World Wheelchair
Championship — 2009 at Vancouver, 2011 at Prague and 2013 in Sochi. Gaudet
and Forrest were members of all three teams, as was National Coach Joe Rea,
who once again will be at the helm in Finland.
Team Canada will open round-robin play in the 10-team competition on Feb. 7
at 10 a.m. (all times Eastern) against China at the Kisakallio Sports
The top four teams at the conclusion of round-robin play on Feb. 11 will
advance to the Page Playoff round, leading to the gold- and bronze-medal
games on Feb. 13 at 7 a.m.