A Langley-based wheelchair curling team returned home Sunday with a bronze medal.
Langley curlers Zosia Ettenberg (lead) and Tracy Boyd (second), joined by Kelowna-based third Mark Peeren and skip Cyril Kinakin, made up Team Sticks ’n Stones at the fifth annual BC Wheelchair Curling Championship in Richmond this weekend.
“We may not have won the gold, but we gave it our all, had fun, and learned a great deal,” said Boyd.
The new team played three games Saturday, competing against Prince George-based Team LaBounty and Kelowna-based Team Austgarden, the latter taking the gold and earning a spot at the Canadian championships in Quebec this April.
It was Boyd’s first time at the provincials, and she was psyched to play alongside so many veteran and champion curlers.
Aspiring to eventually make it to the national team, the 56-year-old Langley woman said she admired the strategic efforts made by the experience wheelchair players during each of the weekend game and was grateful for the teaching moments shown her, the newbie – both on and off the ice.
Unlike the large quantity of able-bodied curlers competing today, there are fewer competitive wheelchair players out there – consequently there are less opportunities to play with fellow wheelchair-bound curlers, pointed out Ettenberg, 72, who has been on the ice for the past four years, and competed in two previous provincial wheelchair competitions.
This event is one of few exclusive wheelchair competitions available, and Ettenberg said she was honoured to be on the ice and grateful to glean so many helpful tips from veterans who have been playing for 15 to 20 years each.
“I think the highlight, after playing three games one after another with the best teams in B.C… was to see my improvements,” she said, excited to gain an even better understanding of the strategy specifically necessary in the wheelchair arena.
“I knew going in that we were playing against the best teams in B.C., so we were not surprised to come third. We’re not too much competition, at this point in time,” she said, but noted she shares Boyd’s goal of one day making it to the national team.
Getting more people involved
The Langley duo is encouraging more Lower Mainland residents in wheelchairs to get involved in the sport – whether competitive or not – and hope to introduce a few wheelchair curling clinics and possibly even a rotating wheelchair curling bonspiel next season.
Anyone in a wheelchair, who is interested in learning more aboutthe sport, is invited to call Boyd at 604-788-8475 or the Langley Curling Centre at 604-530-8218.
CAPTION: Sticks ’n Stones curler Tracy Boyd was one of two Langley curlers at the BC Wheelchair Curling Championships in Richmond this weekend. Their new team, featuring two curlers from the Kelowna area as well, brought home the bronze.