Canadian wheelchair curlers qualify for playoffs at Paralympics

Canadian Paralympic Committee

March 15, 2018

''I’m really proud of how everyone played today.”



Canada’s wheelchair curling team knew that defending a gold medal for the third time wasn’t going to be easy; nor was it going to be quick. 

The team constantly referred to the 11-game round robin as a marathon, and they were going to take it one mile at a time.

With a 6-2 win over Germany, the Paralympians must feel that they’ve passed a major milestone by officially qualifying for the medal round.

“It feels great,” said skip Mark Ideson (London, Ont.). “It’s been a really long week. It feels like everyone is tired. We had a quick turnaround last night, not a whole lot of sleep. So I’m really proud of how everyone played today.”

For the first time in several games, the Canadians controlled the action from start to finish; no come from behind drama, nor was the lead ever in doubt.

“Those are my favourite kind of games,” Ideson joked. “We came out strong the last couple games. We had a good start. We’ve been talking about that a lot, and trying to figure out ways we can best do that. It seems to be working.”

It was a far cry from the week’s earlier games, which saw Canada fight back from big deficits in three different games. To Ideson, however, today’s game was the model to try to replicate.

“I’d rather be known as the “go ahead and stay ahead” team, instead of the “Comeback Kids,” he said.

The Paralympic playoff picture then became a little bit clearer as Canada later completed yet another comeback victory vs. Finland. 

With the win, Canada finished the round-robin at 9-2, which will be tied for first with South Korea, and potentially China. The Koreans will have the tiebreaker based on the head-to-head results.

“We’re definitely happy,” said skip Mark Ideson. “If someone said we’d be 9-2 at the end of the week, we have taken it for sure.” 

In what has become typical fashion for Team Canada, they started the game by getting down a few points before battling back in the second half. This time, Finland started with steals of 2 and 1 in the first two ends, then Canada started to chip away. 

“It was another nail biter game for us, but we’re happy to be where we are,” said Ideson.

Ideson native hopes all those close games will prepare their nerves for the medal round, where they’ll either play Norway or China.

“I think what really helps us is that we’ve had so many close games, the number of times we’ve really had to generate points when we’re down,” said Ideson. “I think that experience is really going to help is in the next game.”

So now, Canada can look forward to a semifinal matchup with China. A win guarantees a medal, and a loss means they play for bronze.

Either way, Ideson says the pressure is not about the potential medals.

“The pressure now is playing for each other. We’ve been a great group. We’re a team of ten, not just the five players out there,” he said.  “We’ve got a great support staff and they’ve been working hard all week. Together, if we can stick to our plan, we’ll be alright.”



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