Jennifer McCabe of Langley prepares to take a shot at the Special Olympics bonspiel held at the Langley curling rink on Sunday. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

VIDEO: Langley hosts Special Olympics curling competition

Event draws teams from the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley

Carol Bernier doesn’t leave much room for doubt when she calls a shot.

“Right here,” she says, tapping the ice firmly with her broom as she holds her hand up to let her teammate know which way the rock needs to be turning.

“I like telling them how to throw the rocks and stuff,” said Bernier, the skip of the “Langley 1” rink at the annual Special Olympics Langley bonspiel held Sunday at the Langley Curling Centre.

“It’s great.”

“It’s an awesome sport,” said another Langley player, Bobbie Barth, who has been competing in Special Olympics curling events since 2001.

The all-day event attracted teams from across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, including curlers from Vancouver, Abbotsford, Surrey, Coquitlam and Richmond.

The Vancouver rink finished first, with the Langley 2 and Langey 1 teams coming in second and third.

The Langley bonspiel comes a week after the regional curling qualifier was held in Abbotsford for the next Special Winter Olympics in B.C.

Athletes who competed in Abbotsford should know if they are going to the B.C. games by the fall, said Langley head coach Deb Kovacs, whose daughter Kati is among the competitors.

Kovacs said while the Langley event isn’t a qualifier, it is still taken seriously by the curlers.

“We don’t like to call it a ‘fun-spiel’,” Kovacs said.

“It’s still (an opportunity) for them to get experience for competition.”

The coach said the Special Olympics version of curling follows the Canadian curling association rules, with a notable difference being the use of pushing sticks by some competitors to launch the stones, stead of pushing off from the hack and sliding.

“A lot of our athletes do use sticks to deliver the rock because its easier for them to use that as opposed to getting out of the hack,” Kovacs said.

READ MORE: Langley athletes, coaches shine at Special Olympics BC Summer Games in Kamloops

READ MORE: Special Olympics are truly special

The Special Olympics B.C. (SOBC) website notes that curling programs are offered at selected clubs based on athlete interest in Nakusp, Kamloops, Penticton, Vernon, Kelowna, Princeton, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Surrey, Ridge Meadows, Abbotsford, Langley, Richmond, Burnaby, Delta, Vancouver, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, Port Alberni, Victoria, Comox Valley, Nanaimo, Oceanside, Powell River, Terrace, Smithers, Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Burns Lake, Prince George and Quesnel

Since 1980, Special Olympics B.C. (SOBC), a registered charitable organization, has provided sports programs and competitions for people with intellectual disabilities “enriching lives, and celebrating personal achievement through positive sport experiences” the website said.

An estimated 3,500 athletes participate in Special Olympics BC sports programs in 54 communities across British Columbia.

That includes 18 year-round sports, like curling.

The 2017-18 season of winter-sport regional qualifiers is currently underway to select the SOBC athletes who qualify for the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games in Greater Vernon, which is expected to be the largest in B.C. history, with more than 800 athletes with intellectual disabilities from across the province and the Yukon attending to compete in eight sports from Feb. 21-23 next year.

Sports at the Greater Vernon Games will include five-pin bowling, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, curling, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing and speed skating.

The provincial games are the provincial qualifiers to the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Thunder Bay, Ontario, which will be the qualifier for the 2021 Special Olympics World Winter Games.



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Langley skip Carol Bernier calls a shot during the annual Special Olympics Bonspiel at the Langley Curling Club on Sunday. Teams from across the Lower Mainland took part. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Just Posted

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

Where to find Langley election results

Times reports as ballots are tallied Saturday

VIDEO: North Langley Kodiaks shut out North Surrey Bears

Defensive battle Saturday ends in Langley’s favour

A campaign to give municipalities more say over marijuana advertising

Langley Township wants to avoid a Washington-State-style flood of advertising

Spartans have a rough weekend

Women’s hockey team takes on top-ranked TNT

VIDEO: First legal cannabis purchases as midnight strikes in eastern Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador was the first province to kick off the sale of cannabis, just after midnight local time

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Canada Post union issues strike notice; rotating strikes could begin Monday

Union says rotating strikes will begin if agreements aren’t reached with bargaining units

Carole James avoids questions on B.C.’s payroll tax (with video)

Green MLA Adam Olsen cites huge tax increase for local business

Most Read