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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wheelchair curlers make history at Scotties


Wheelchair curlers make history at Scotties


Darwin Bender and Marie Wright were both surprised when they heard the news.
By serving as on-ice officials during the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts this week, the members of the Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre are believed to be the first people in wheelchairs to ever fill that role at the event.

"Usually there isn't a lot of room on the ice at the events that we are involved with to be out there," Wright said. "With the way that things are set up at the Scotties, there is room out there to manoeuvre and it's been great to be out there."

"I think being a part of the club here has helped us out a lot to be considered for this position," Bender said. "I consider myself lucky to do this at the Scotties."

In their roles, Wright and Bender both chart the ends on the sheet they are assigned to on a magnetic board to show where the rocks are at all times.

That job is especially important if a curler accidentally moves a rock and they need to know exactly where it was previously situated.

Wright and Bender also mark up the scoreboards at the end of the rink so the fans at Mosaic Place know what's happening at all times.

"At provincial events we time the games but since they have that set up halfway up the bleachers that's not really beneficial for us," Wright said.

"It's been a lot of fun. I got to do the game that was on TSN on Monday afternoon between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and it was cool to watch them do what they do. Plus, trying to avoid all the camera cables was interesting."

Bender and Wright were paired next to one another on Monday morning as Bender officiated the Manitoba/Newfoundland-Labrador game while Wright was assigned to the contest between Nova Scotia and Northern Ontario.

"We gave each other a wave every now and then," Bender said. "I think we both enjoy being down there, especially since we both play the game.

"All of the teams use different strategies and it's awesome to see that from ice level."
Bender also enjoys the fact that he gets to see up close how each player reacts to the big shots she makes or misses over the course of a game.

"Everyone has a different personality out there," Bender said. "To see the emotions when they make a shot or they miss a shot is something that's been neat."

1 comment:

Doug Morris said...

I saw you two on TV several times. Way to go!!! :)