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Burtnyk, Stoughton, Peters Help Create Awareness for Wheelchair Curling

Friday Aug 22 2008

It was never about the score, of course.

It was about the opportunity for Manitoba’s Wheelchair champions to create some awareness of their sport. Perhaps more importantly, it was about the opportunity to show how curling can serve as a way back to involvement in sport.

It was about three of Manitoba’s greatest champions sharing the ice with Manitoba’s Wheelchair champions and each coming away with a greater appreciation for the other.

After the demonstration game Thursday, August 21 as the kick-off to Warren’s first Monsanto Sliding in Summer Bonspiel, champions Kerry Burtnyk, Jeff Stoughton and Vic Peters talked about how sweeping is so much a part of the success of every shot at their championship level. They marveled at the excellence of the shots made by the wheelchair curlers where sweeping simply doesn’t exist.

Skip Chris Sobkowicz, speaking for the wheelchair champions, said he had a new appreciation for how good these guys are from being on the ice with them. “Most important, we learned a lot by watching them and by talking with them during the game,” Sobkowicz said.

The Warren ice, with Greg Ewasko in charge, was surprisingly excellent arena-style ice with 4+ feet of swing and as quick as 26 seconds despite high humidity from a mid-afternoon thunder storm.

Never having played on that type of ice, Sobkowicz said that experience alone was valuable for his team with the need to focus more on rock rotation and to call the shots for the late break they had only ever seen on television.

Winnipeg Sun Columnists Laurie Mustard and Troy Westwood and Monsanto’s Trish Jordan took their turns skipping the elite group of Manitoba champions – all of them making more shots than were expected.

Warren junior Jordan Smith was all smiles when Kerry Burtnyk asked him if he’d like to join them on the ice for an end but the biggest smiles of the night were those of another local, Terry Lindell.

Lindell, now wheelchair-bound, was a competitive curler at the zone-and-above level. A highlight of his career was winning an MCA bonspiel event. Lindell, who had accepted the fact he would never curl again, skipped the last end of the demonstration game and the Manitoba Wheelchair curling program gained another player.

Pictured are the game participants.
Front l-r: Terry Lindell, Chris Sobkowicz, Dennis Thiessen, Mike Alberg, Arlene Ursel
Rear l-r: Troy Westwood, Trish Jordan, Laurie Mustard, Jordan Smith, Kerry Burtnyk, Jeff Stoughton, Vic Peters

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