Canada name new-look team for World Championships

Paralympic and world champions head to Finland looking to cement their position as the world’s best wheelchair curling team. 03 Feb 2015
Canada's wheelchair curling team

Canada celebrate after winning gold against Russia in wheelchair curling at Sochi 2014.

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By Canadian Curling Association

Canada will be putting a new-look team on the ice when the 2015 World Wheelchair Curling Championship begin on 7 February in Lohja, Finland.

Mark Ideson will take over skipping the team in Finland, with long-time national team skip Jim Armstrong 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 2013 World Wheelchair Championship in Sochi, Russia, and at the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games.

He will be joined in Finland by veteran national-team members vice-skip Ina Forrest, third Dennis Thiessen, and second Sonja Gaudet — all of whom were members of the Paralympic gold-medal team.

Also travelling will be Marie Wright who will 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 Championship.

“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 line-up, 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 against China at the Kisakallio Sports Institute.

The top four teams at the conclusion of round-robin play on 11 February will advance to the Page Playoff round, leading to the gold and bronze-medal games on 13 February.