Accomplished athletes from across Canada gathered to compete against each other in the 11th annual Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship in Montreal, which took place April 28–May 4.
All participants put in a lot of effort and time it was the Manitoba team that won the championship.
Although the B.C. team did not come home with the final victory, to local Quesnel curler Alison Duddy it was still an experience like no other.
“I can’t explain that feeling of putting on your B.C. shirt with your name on the back and your B.C. coat and going out there representing your province, its just a cool feeling,” Duddy said.
“There are a lot of teams across the country that would love to be where we are at nationals so I try and look at it positively.”
B.C.’s team Neighbour was comprised of five athletes travelling from around the province to the championships with high hopes.
Skip Darryl Neighbour, third Frank LeBounty, second Vince Miele, lead Alison Duddy and alternate Gary Cormack who served as the skip at nationals last year, were the athletes representing B.C. this year.
The B.C. team started the week off strong, winning their first game against Manitoba with a final score of 9-6.
Looking back, that win was especially sweet for Duddy.
It was exciting for her to know that their team had faced and beat the overall winner during the first draw of the championship.
In draw two team Neighbour faced off against New Brunswick. The game ended with a score of 9-5 in favour of B.C.
Duddy and her teammates kept this strong winning streak going for another game,
dominating Saskatchewan with a score of 8-3.
It was in draw three that the B.C. team lost their first game of the championship with a final score of 10-6 in favour of Alberta.
“That was a heartbreaker,” Duddy said.
“That was one of the games throughout the week that still kind of bugs me because we should have won it, we had it and we gave it away.
Winning five games and losing four games in the round robin Duddy and her teammates made it to the running for the playoffs, competing against Alberta in a final tiebreaker.
The team suffered a disappointing loss during this game with Alberta winning by only one point with a final score of 10-9.
With this final nail-biting game B.C. was out of the championship.
This is the fifth year Duddy has gone to championships, attending nationals in Kelowna, Edmonton, Thunder Bay and Ottawa.
It was 2010 that she played and won in her first ever provincial competition, then travelling to Kelowna to participate in the national championships.
She felt the exhilarating rush of the win and from then on she was hooked.
In the five years she has been curling at these events this accomplished curler has noticed a huge increase in the skill level of the game.
“It used to be a game of misses,” said Duddy. “Now you have to be making your shots. It is interesting to see the sport develop and become more competitive.”
However, even considering the competitive nature of these high-level events, this avid curler goes to have fun, win or lose, enjoying the social aspects and opportunities to see different places across Canada as well as curl.
Duddy and her fellow teammate from Prince George, travelled ahead of time to get in siteseeing in Montreal before the games began.
“It’s kind of like a family reunion every year because you get to know the teams from the provinces across the whole country and you get together once a year at nationals so the social part is always awesome,” Duddy said.
“I always have no doubt that I am going to go there and have fun.”
It is not surprising that this passionate curler is hoping to attend the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship for years to come, wherever these events are hosted you can count on Quesnel’s Alison Duddy to be there.