Gil Dash pays his dues to be on national wheelchair curling team

Canadian Paralympic Committee

February 23, 2024

Second returns to world championships


REGINA – Gil Dash is a familiar face in Canadian wheelchair curling circles both as a player and builder.

Now he’s carving his reputation at the international level as the second on Canada’s national team. Dash made his worlds debut in 2023 and helped Canada to a silver medal. The Canadians lost in the final to China, which took gold for a second straight worlds.

He’ll return for the 2024 worlds which take place March 2-9 in Gangneung, South Korea at the venue built for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. It will be the same foursome as in 2023 with lead and skip Mark Ideson, third Ina Forrest and fourth Jon Thurston.

The mixed doubles worlds follow at the same venue March 11-16. Collinda Joseph and Dennis Thiessen represent Canada for the second straight year after winning bronze in 2023.

Dash gained a lot of confidence at the 2023 worlds, held on home ice in Richmond, B.C.

“According to the staff it was the strongest anyone’s come out at a first worlds,” said the Wolseley, Sask. resident. ‘’I’m proud of that. We were really strong during the week. I want to do what I did last year and a little bit more.’’

Dash is a lifelong curler both before and after his accident. In 2006, he was diagnosed with a broken back and spinal cord damage after he crashed while ski jumping in Kimberley, B.C. (a sport he had attempted a few times before). He had been involved in curling growing up in his hometown of Kipling where he still lives close by and takes care of his parents.

As a youngster he was a self-admitted rink rat alternating between curling and hockey. His brother reached the junior nationals in curling and his parents were also avid practitioners of the sport.

‘’Curling is a culture in Saskatchewan,” Dash said. ‘’Bonspiels used to be two weeks long and be held in various small communities throughout the province. And when that was over, I’d be off playing hockey.’’

One of his doctors in rehabilitation, Dr. Robert Capp of the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre, was also an avid curler and together they started to gather a wheelchair curling community after Dash’s injury. A physiotherapist and nationally ranked player in Moose Jaw, Lorraine Arguin got wind of the developments and soon wheelchair curling was growing with people with a disability.

Dash hit the ice as a wheelchair curler in 2008 and by 2012 he was a provincial champion for the first of many times. His teammates included Paralympian Marie Wright. In 2016, Dash was promoted to Curling Canada’s NextGen wheelchair program as a top prospect for international play.

‘’Wheelchair curling was fun for me right off the bat but it was also tough,’’ said Dash. ‘’The toughest thing about it over the years was mastering that draw weight. When you’re on with that it gives you so much confidence.’’

Dash and his teammates are currently training together in Richmond and leave for South Korea on Sunday.

‘’We are looking good,’’ said Dash. ‘’We have a few more shots in our arsenal that we didn’t have and we hope that can make a difference.’’

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