The Calgary Wheelchair Curling Association (CWCA) had a strong presence at the Joey Hyde-Wilson Memorial Sturling Bonspiel and will be heading to Moose Jaw, SK later this month to compete at the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship.

Terry Fowler moved to Cochrane about two years ago, and it coincides with him taking up the sport.

"I tried finding a league in Victoria (B.C.) when I was there, but it wasn't as popular on the island. When I came here, I found the Calgary Wheelchair Curling Club in Calgary and joined them, and they were very excited to have me there."

Last weekend was his first time competing in the local sturling bonspiel and he thoroughly enjoyed it. He's among the wheelchair curlers heading to Moose Jaw for the nationals.

At wheelchair nationals, they have four member teams, as opposed to the two-member teams of sturling.

"We went last year as well and finished third (in Nanaimo, B.C.). We've got a bit of a new team this year, so it'll be exciting to go."

Fowler curls with Martin Purvis, president of the Calgary association, who was a member of the team that won the 2019 national wheelchair championship in Boucherville, QC. He's been wheelchair curling since 2006.

"I went to my first nationals was in 2009 and I've been to almost every single one since," says Purvis.

Wheel chair curlersThese curlers were among the members of the Calgary Wheelchair Curling Association competing at the Hyde-Wilson Memorial Sturling Bonspiel on Mar. 2. From left, Jack Smart, Wendy Frazier, Martin Purvis, Fran Purvis and Terry Fowler.

This year. the association has three teams heading to the nationals. He says they've been been practising in Cochrane for the last few months.

"When Terry mentioned this bonspiel, we thought well, you know, why not?"

Purvis and Fowler will also be competing together at the national stick curling championship being hosted in Toronto, ON in April. 

Sturling, also called stick curling, involves two-person teams, one on both ends of the sheet, and there's no sweeping between the hoglines.

"The nice thing about stick curling and this type of curling is those in wheelchairs are very competitive against able bodied people," explains Purvis. "So, it makes it a lot of fun because it's a game of accuracy, and has limited sweeping, which is the big thing. When we go up against a four-player team with full sweeping, we lose; we just can't match them."

In the end, three wheelchair teams finished at the top of the bonspiel.

The teams of Terry Fowler and Martin Purvis, Wendy Frazier and Fran Purvis, and Ann Hiebbert and Brian Bolt won all their games and came away with cash prizes.

Purvis and Fowler form one of the four Calgary-based teams heading to the national stick curling championship being hosted in Toronto, ON in April. 

The CWCA is a non-profit organization, started in 2005 by a few people wanting to get back to a game they played prior to using a wheelchair.  From that vision and determination, the association was born and has continued to grow in membership and awareness to the disabled community and among able-bodied curlers in Calgary and surrounding areas.

Purvis says people are welcomed to join them.

"We'd love to have more people coming out. We have people playing like us, who are competitive, but we also have recreational players. Some of them are in power chairs, some of them have some cognitive challenges, so we're open a lot of different people coming out."

To learn more about the Calgary Wheelchair Curling Association click here

sturlingThe sport of stick curling levels the playing field for all curlers.