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Calgary Wheelchair Curling Association

Calgary Wheelchair Curling Association

Calgary Wheelchair Curling Association


May 1, 2019

Team Smart Wins Gold at Canadian Championships

Team Alberta, Canadian champions. From left, alternate Wendy Frazier,
lead Anne Hibberd, second Bruno Yizek,
vice-skip Martin Purvis, skip Jack Smart,
coach Bridget Wilson. (Photo, Défi sportif AlterGo/Jean-Baptiste Benavent)

Calgary Wheelchair Curling Association members skip Jack Smart, vice-skip Martin Purvis, second Bruno Yizek, lead Anne Hibberd, alternate Wendy Frazier and coach Bridget Wilson — turned back Manitoba’s Dennis Thiessen 9-3 to capture the gold medal at the 2019 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship at the Club de curling de Boucherville.

Team Alberta went into the Championships looking to medal and knowing they had a good chance to make the podium. They started off strong posting a 4-0 record in the round robin which was good enough to secure a spot in the playoffs, but not sure where with two round robin games remaining. 

Finishing 4-2 and tied with Manitoba and Ontario 2, the playoff seeding went in favour of Alberta who finished first overall in the Last Stone Draw averages.  Smart said “We had worked hard in the last four weeks prior to the competition on our draws and tap skills…this helped us with LSD results.”.  Advancing to the semi-finals put Team Alberta into the medal round and meeting the team’s first objective. 

In both the semi-finals and the Gold medal game the team felt pretty good about their play and focusing on getting some kind of result out of every shot.  In a close game, Team Alberta downed Northern Ontario 8-5 punching their ticket to the gold medal game and securing a medal finish.

The final game got off to a conservative start with both teams playing defensively and waiting for a miss.  After a pair of blanks to open the game, Alberta drew first blood as Smart made an open hit for two in the third.  In the fourth end with Alberta sitting two, Manitoba’s Dennis Thiessen’s last-rock draw came up light, gifting the stolen deuce to Alberta.

And then in the fifth, it got worse as Manitoba was gambling with rocks in play to generate a comeback, but it was Alberta sitting three as Thiessen attempted an angle raise for a single. But his stone was light, and the stolen trey made it 7-0 for Alberta.

Manitoba would cut the lead in half with three in the sixth, but Manitoba conceded defeat after surrendering two more in the seventh.

After 13 years of competition, Team Smart were finally Canadian Champions.  The team had won 5 silver and one bronze but never the gold – until now.  Smart said “You win five silver medals, and you can only say so often that there are a lot of other teams who’d love to to be where,” he said. “So this is the icing on the cake. It’s a great way for us to celebrate our long friendship. It’s camaraderie — playing a game we love with people we love.”

Team Smart would like to thank all those have helped them get to this level and experience including past coaches, spouses, wheelchair league volunteers, tournament volunteers and sponsors Big Chief Meat Snacks and Alberta Distillers and supporting curling clubs. 

Smart said “We are so excited our banner will be at the Garrison Curling Club and to celebrate with our wheelchair league players and hopefully motivate players to keep playing and having fun.  It certainly does take a team of players on and off the ice to win.”

Well done Team Smart and we look forward to seeing you in the fall when our Saturday curling program starts up in October.  Have a great summer everyone.


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