The Western Canadian Blind Curling Championships will return to Manitoba March 8-11 when seven teams from British Columbia, Alberta, and Host Manitoba will compete in a round-robin tournament.
Organized Blind Curling first took place in 1972 as an awareness activity but soon grew into a competitive gathering of curlers. Alberta and Saskatchewan were joined by British Columbia and Manitoba in 1979. The Western Canadian Blind Curling Association, involving the four western provinces, was established in 1982, the same year that the event was hosted in Beausejour, Manitoba.
The game is played just like any other curling game with the exception that each team has an on-ice Coach who may provide needed help to the athletes. In particular this might involve holding a broom near to the person in the hack OR shining a light to give the thrower an idea of the required line of delivery.
The local host committee regrets that, due to health concerns, Saskatchewan is unable to be represented in what is being billed as a celebration of FIFTY PLUS YEARS of Western Blind Curling. The ‘flexible’ billing acknowledges the impact of the recent covid cancellations on the blind curling event.
British Columbia will be represented by teams from Vancouver and Prince George with the first time addition of a team from the Campbell River. Alberta will have the two representatives from the Edmonton Blind Curling league and Manitoba’s representatives are from the Manitoba Blind Sports Association.
The Manitoba teams are:
SKIP: Darren Hawkins Norm Lyons
THIRD: Hunter McLaughlin Bill Liggins (from Ontario)
SECOND: Debbie Martinuzzi Jennifer Moreland
LEAD: Miriam Hesslebart Lucy Chase
COACH: Brian Fredrickson Matt Hesselbart
Events at Charleswood will begin Wednesday, March 8 at 6:30PM with opening ceremonies followed by the first draw. There will be two draws a day (at 9:30AM & 1:30PM) on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Of special note, Manitoba’s Scotties champions and former World Junior Champions, Mackenzie and Emily Zacharias, will participate in the Opening Ceremony. Mackenzie Zacharias has a relationship with Manitoba’s Blind Curling community going back to 2019 when, as part of a U of Manitoba studies practicum, she was involved in blind curling as an observer, coach, and participant (blindfolded) to better understand the sport as blind curlers experience it.