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Team Sask reacts to Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship gold medal victory

Impressive week comes to a close with another amazing championship win on home ice

MOOSEJAWTODAY.COM -- Heading into the eighth end of the 2024 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship gold medal final on Saturday afternoon at the Moose Jaw Curling Centre, it appeared as if Saskatchewan 1 had things pretty much in hand.

Skip Gil Dash, third Marie Wright, second Moose Gibson and lead Sheryl Pederson had put together a brilliant game to that point and held a 6-3 lead, seemingly poised for a championship celebration.

But Newfoundland and Labrador’s Doug Dean had other ideas, and his crew put together a nearly perfect end to force Dash into an attempted double to secure the win. That shot would just miss, Dean scored his three and all of a sudden the teams were off to an extra end.

That could have spelled doom for most teams, but Dash and crew aren’t most teams. 

And after a quick talk with longtime coach Lorraine Arguin before the extra, they went right back to work.

“It was our second extra end game and we didn’t want it to go like it did against Manitoba (a 7-5 round-robin loss), we needed to win this one,” Arguin said. “So I calmed everyone down, told them what their shots are going to be like and they did pretty well in that end.”

And how.

It was Team Sask’s turn to get things set up almost perfectly, forcing Dean into a tough draw to the four-foot with his final shot to give his team a chance. His shot slid a touch too far, and with that, the celebration was on.

Saskatchewan was once again the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship gold medalists, and once again on home ice.

“It’s so cool, so exciting, and it was a tough game,” said Wright, who alongside Dash won her fifth national title. “I was so nervous going into this game, but it turned out great and it’s amazing. It’s cool to get that fifth one in front of your home crowd. I have seven grandchildren here today so it’s really fun to see that. And we did it for our coach, she’s going to be retiring this year and we’re going to miss her a lot, but we did it for her.”

Seeing the game turn out so close wasn’t a surprise to Dash, given what he’d seen through Saskatchewan’s 10 previous contests over the week.

“We have five golds and none of them have been easy,” he said. “That’s how this sport is and it’s a pretty level playing field across the provinces, so I figure you just have to keep fighting, have resilience and get through it and we did that today.”
While Gibson also has four national titles to his credit, the victory was the first for Pederson after playing with Sask 2 at the tournament last season and finishing in the middle of the pack.

She was quick to thank the Moose Jaw curling community for all their support in helping Sask 1 get to this point.

“I have to give kudos to all the people we curl with in the regular leagues,” she said. “They’re so inclusive for us, they help you and encourage you and it’s really nice. Then coming back again and seeing all the regular (wheelchair curlers), there are great friendships and I’m really happy. “

Gibson made a point of giving credit to Dean, who has had a run of bad luck when it comes to curling at nationals in Saskatchewan.

“I feel for Doug, this is two years a row he’s lost, and he’s come to Saskatchewan three times, been to the final three times and lost three times,” he said. “So I feel for him, but he’s such a great guy and such a true sportsman.”
Of course, someone had to win, and when you have something important to play for like Saskatchewan did this week, that makes coming out on top all the better.

“It’s an amazing feeling, I’m speechless,” Gibson said before pausing to gather his thoughts. “I started the season with one goal, and that was to get Lorraine and Gil and Marie their fifth championship because they all deserved it, especially  this being Lorraine’s last year and I wanted her to go out on top.

“Then Gil and Marie are the gold standard for wheelchair curling in Canada, in my eyes,” Gibson added. “They’re five-time champions, they both give so much back to the program and help make it was hit is… this is a big win for us and a big win for wheelchair curling in Saskatchewan and we just want to keep on building.”