Canada ices veteran squad for wheelchair curling world championships

Team event goes from March 2-9 and mixed doubles March 11-16
Curling

Led by skip Mark Ideson, Canada looks to return to the podium at the wheelchair curling world championships set for March 2-9 at the 2018 Paralympic Games venue in Gangneung, South Korea.

The mixed doubles worlds follow right after March 11-16 at the same location. 

Canada is looking for a third podium in four years with Ideson at the helm for a fifth straight worlds. The Canadians won silver last year and were also second in 2020.

As is always the case, Ideson, from London, Ont., will shoot first followed by Gil Dash of Wolseley, Sask., Ina Forrest of Spallumcheen, B.C., and fourth Jon Thurston of Dunsford, Ont. Chrissy Molnar (Trent Lakes, Ont.) is the fifth.

‘’We have a lot of confidence for these worlds,’’ said Dash. ‘’We could have won it last year, it was so close, a shot here, a shot there. This is our second year together and we are tighter now and our communication has really improved.’’

It will be a 14th straight worlds for Forrest. Her first was in 2007 and she has earned three gold medals and two silver over that period. Ideson is headed to his ninth worlds while it’s a fifth for Thurston and a second for Dash.

‘’Mark calls a great game,’’ said Dash. ‘’He takes a lot of input from us and he is all about communication between the players and coaches. When there are different options on the table during a game he really trusts in our judgement. He just has those leadership skills.’’

China is the two-time defending champion and Canada’s last victory was in 2013. Since the first worlds in 2002 Canada is a seven-time medallist, second only to Scotland with eight.

There are 12 countries at the 2024 worlds. Along with Canada and host South Korea there is China, Czechia, Estonia, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Scotland, Slovakia, Sweden and the U.S.

Canada opens against Slovakia March 2 in the preliminary round which runs until March 7. The playoff qualifiers and semifinals are March 8 and the medal games March 9.

In mixed doubles, Collinda Joseph of Stittsville, Ont. and Denis Thiessen of Sandford, Man. return for Canada after earning a bronze in 2023. Mixed doubles will be added to the Paralympic Winter Games program for Milan-Cortina 2026.

Joseph and Thiessen went undefeated in the prelims last year before dropping the semifinal game to the U.S. 7-6, their only loss of the tournament. The Americans lost to Latvia in the final while Canada beat China 13-11 for the bronze.

‘’We lost the wrong game last year,’’ said Joseph. ‘’We were very stressed going into that match and so we want to prepare ourselves a lot better this time under that kind of situation and just treat it like another game.’’

There are 21 countries in the event split into three groups. Canada is in Group B with England, Finland, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the U.S.

Canada opens March 11 against Switzerland in the preliminaries which run until March 14. The quarterfinals and semifinals are March 15 and the finals March 16.

After a week-long training camp in Richmond, B.C., the Canadian team left for South Korea on Sunday.