LivAbility Magazine

Edition 16 | Spring 2019

2019 Wheelchair Curling Spiel

Team Pierce crowned champions

Story & Photos by Jacqueline Benson

In late February, Ability360 hosted its annual Wheelchair Curling Bonspiel at the Coyotes Curling Club in Phoenix, Arizona. Six teams, with participants from across the United States and Canada, gathered to compete for the championship. Seasoned curlers from the paralympic team played alongside newcomers in a competitive display that captured the true essence of the sport. Team Pierce won the championship, with the USA Veterans finishing in second, and Team Ability360 finishing in third.

A man wearing a black baseball cap, a white and green checkered button up, a brown vest, yellow gloves, khakis and brown boots sits in a manual wheelchair pushing a curling stone towards the target.

Curling is a sport where teamwork and friendship are what separates a good team from a great team. Heather Hoffmeister, a member of the Wheaton Warriors team, based out of the Coyotes Curling Club, participated in her first bonspiel. Hoffmeister joined the Ability360 Wednesday night curling league this year after being referred by a friend.

“Meeting new people and working together toward victory and improvement,” is Hoffmeister’s favorite part of the sport.

Three men sit in their manual wheelchairs smiling at the camera with their curling stones in front of them. The man on the far left is wearing black sneakers, black cargo pants, a black hoodie, a black and white scarf is wrapped around his neck, turquoise gloves and a maroon beanie. The man in the middle wears black sneakers, black pants, a black pullover, grey gloves and wears thin-framed glasses. The man on the far right is wearing black sneakers, black cargo pants, and a navy blue hoodie.

Veteran curler, Tim Surry, a member of the Ability360 Team and one of the organizers of the Wednesday league, shares this same sentiment. After finishing in third place, Surry said, “The spirit of curling is where everybody helps each other. You hear a lot of ‘good shots’ and encouragement, even when you throw a bad one. This positivity is about much more than what happens on the ice.”

Surry’s love for curling has been influential in creating Ability360’s curling league. With his assistance, many beginner curlers have gotten training that culminated in the bonspiel.

Jacqueline Benson

Jacqueline Benson
Writer / Photographer

Jacqueline Benson is a student at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sports and Media Studies and a minor in Media Analysis. Jacqueline is passionate about using the power of sports to make a lasting impact on individuals and society.

Read more by Jacqueline Benson.