A pair of Langley women will face off during the 2020 BC Wheelchair Championship set to get underway at the end of the month in Cloverdale.
Tracy Boyd and Zosia Ettenberg, who have played together and against each other in past competitions, will be part of the provincial competition happening at Cloverdale Curling Club from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2.
They’ll be accompanied by some of the top wheelchair curlers in the province who will be vying for the opportunity to represent B.C. at nationals this year.
The winner of the event will play at nationals from April 25 to 30 at Club de curling de Boucherville in Boucherville, Que.
B.C. is home to some of the most decorated wheelchair curlers in the world including Canadian Paralympic gold medalists Darryl Neighbour, Ina Forrest, and Sonja Gaudet.
Neighbour (Richmond), the winner of last year’s event (which was held at Langley Curling Centre), is back to skip his team of third Ellis Tull (Nanaimo), second Frank LaBounty (Prince George), lead Janice Ing (Vancouver) and fifth Ina Forrest (Armstrong).
Neighbour and Forrest have both won gold at the Paralympics, while LaBounty has been to nationals 10 times previously.
Ing has gone to nationals for the past four years and Tull has been on the world stage as part of the Canadian wheelchair curling team that represents Canada abroad. Vic Shimizu is coaching the team.
Team Austgarden features Gerry Austgarden (Kelowna, a six-time B.C. champion), Rick Robinson (Surrey), Marney Smithies (Delta, and Boyd (Langley). They are joined by coach Sharon Morrison. This team also joined the Neighbour team last year at the nationals in Quebec.
Team Macdonald features Bob Macdonald (Tunnel Town/Delta), a three-time B.C. champion, Allison Duddy (Quesnel – a five-time BC champion), Gary Cormack (Surrey, a seven-time B.C. champion), and Vince Miele (Marpole/Richmond, and a four-time B.C. champion).
Team Plan B-C is skipped by Ettenberg (Langley), with Robert Pullen playing third and Jeff Smithies (Delta) at second, and Mildred Thomas (Surrey) as lead. Compared with the other teams, this team is relatively new to the sport, with Jeff Smithies in his first season of competitive curling.
The draw and scores for the event will be updated online.
Anyone interested in trying wheelchair curling should check out the Friday sessions at Delta Thistle Curling Club.