Curl Regina Special Olympics Bonspiel
Special Olympics Manitoba curler, Brett Griffiths didn’t mind the trip from Winnipeg to Regina because it meant he got to curl on the same ice a legend of the sport once did.
“It was just an amazing experience getting to play in the same rink as Sandra Schmirler. And to curl with other Special Olympians and just compete and have fun,” he said.
Special Olympics Manitoba curlers were in Regina over the weekend to compete in Curl Regina Special Olympics Bonspiel at the Caledonian Curling Club. The bonspiel is in its third year and this was second time Manitoba curlers attended.
Griffiths has been curling for three years now and loves the sport. He enjoys the strategy of the game and getting to travel and meet new people. Last year Griffiths was a member of Team Manitoba and had the opportunity to travel to Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador for the Special Olympics Winter Games.
The weekend bonspiel in Regina gave Griffiths the chance to catch up with some of the friends he made in Corner Brook last year.
The Regina bonspiel has become a favourite of Saskatchewan and Manitoban Special Olympics athletes and has grown each year. This year’s bonspiel had 11 rinks competing from Regina, Melfort, Brandon and Winnipeg.
“It’s great I think for our athletes. They have friends they’ve seen at other competitions and it’s nice to know that they have friends in different provinces,” said Darlene MacQuarrie, director of programs for Special Olympics Saskatchewan.
The bonspiel has become a favourite not just for the athletes but also for the organizers. Danita Zacharias, junior coordinator with Curl Regina, looks forward to the bonspiel all year long.
“Every competitive curler or anybody who’s competitive in a sport should watch this because it’s just the best attitude you’ll ever see. This is the way all competitive sports should be approached,” she said.
Daniel Fiedelleck made the trip down from Melfort, Saskatchewan. Fiedelleck has been curling since he was a child but for him the game is still about having fun and getting to meet new people.
“It’s good, I like when there’s more teams here. Because last year there was only like six or seven teams, but this year there’s more so it’s kind of good,” he said.
Fiedelleck is a professional when it comes to Special Olympics curling. He has been to four world competitions and three times to nationals, including Corner Brook last year. Even with his impressive resume Fiedelleck is always up for helping new curlers learn the game.
“I show them, tell them where to put the broom and so on,” he said.
For Regina’s Trevor Thibault, the weekend bonspiel was a first. The avid Special Olympics athlete decided to try curling this year after enjoying his time spent playing bocce ball and bowling.
“I’m enjoying (curling),” he said, smiling after finishing his first game Saturday morning.