'Toba ready to roll

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:06 AM ET

A chosen four will wheel their way to the second national wheelchair curling championship to represent Manitoba for the first time later this month.

Chris Sobkowicz, Allen Lasko, Diane Hrychuk and Jackie Burns were hand-picked out of about 20 who signed up to play last spring.

With Manitoba Curling Association technical director Bill Biehl serving as coach, they will compete in the Canadian Curling Association-run event in Richmond, B.C., Nov. 22-28.

DEVELOPMENTAL SPOT

A fifth member, Gerald Teichrib, cannot make it due to a family situation.

"It's more of a bonspiel or cashspiel than a national thing," Sobkowicz said yesterday. "But it will be a great developmental spot for wheelchair sport, for sure. And we've been having a ball, I just wish we had a little more time to prepare."

Either Sobkowicz or Lasko will skip.

Sobkowicz, 51, said curling is a natural progression for those getting too old for such sports as wheelchair basketball.

The team had to be selected because there are not enough squads to compete against here.

"Hopefully, down the road, we will have a provincial wheelchair championship," said MCA executive director Ian Staniloff.

The nationals will consist of five mixed teams playing a round-robin of six-end games. Curlers will deliver rocks from a stationary wheelchair, either by hand or extender stick, and sweeping is not permitted.

OOPS: Turns out that the top prize for the new grandiose senior men's bonspiel at the Granite Curling Club this February is actually $14,000, not the $1,400 reported here Tuesday. That would put it right up there with the top World Curling Tour cashspiels outside of the Grand Slam events. The runner-up will get $7,000 at the spiel which will also be used as a fundraiser for prostate cancer research.

Teams that have already entered include former Canadian senior men's champion Carl German, ex-Brier champs Barry Fry and Terry Braunstein and former Manitoba titleists Doug Harrison and Brian Fowler. Organizers are also sending invitations to such legends as Ed Werenich, Ron Northcott, Sam Richardson and Ed Lukowich.

For more info, call Braunstein at 204-949-5650 or email: terry@danli.com.

NO WORRIES: Although the MCA cannot officially endorse the Slam spiel coming to Winnipeg's MTS Centre in January because it conflicts with an MCA event (Manitoba Scott Tournament of Hearts), Staniloff does not expect the Slam to hurt the crowds in Souris.

"It will be very well-supported by the Souris and Brandon area," assured Staniloff, who knew that Slam reps were negotiating with the Centre the same time he was trying to book it for major events. "It could cut into the media coverage but it's not a non-issue."


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