Canadian Paraplegic Association of Ontario Funspiel!

Miriam King
Ken Gregory, right, and local curler David Kemp, at CPAO Funspiel.

Ken Gregory, right, and local curler David Kemp, at CPAO Funspiel.

The 2nd annual Canadian Paraplegic Association-Ontario Funspiel took place at the Bradford Curling Club on Saturday, January 22 - and was a great success, attracting mixed teams of all ages and all levels of ability, including wheelchair curlers.

Ken Gregory, a past Provincial Wheelchair Curling champion, explained some of the differences between curling in a wheelchair, and able-bodied curling.

"It's a challenge. We're only on the rock for this much," he said, gesturing with his hands - so that there's little time to adjust the throw. And there is no sweeping.

"A sweeper can pull a rock 12 -14 feet," Gregory said, noting that wheelchair curlers must throw it right the first time. But even with the limitations, wheelchair curling is competitive - as several able-bodied curlers learned at the Funspiel.

For Gregory and his Bradford team, the Funspiel was a practice session for their upcoming competition at the Provincials, being held in Toronto, February 1-4.

"We only get together at the Bonspiels," he said. "This is our big warm-up."

Gregory admitted that last year, the team was disappointed with their showing at the Provincials. This year, they're hopeful: there's a new team member, "and we're doing great in Bonspiels... Hopefully if (the Provincial) goes well, we're in Alberta in March for the Nationals."

The Funspiel, which included card games and a Silent Auction, was a fundraiser for the CPAO.