Marie Wright of Moose Jaw has dreamed since the day she started curling to have the opportunity to wear that Maple Leaf at the World Championships, and that dream officially came true this December. Marie Wright was one of six athletes chosen to represent Canada on the Wheelchair Curling Team at the 2017 World Championship in Gangneung, South Korea.
It all started in July at the first development camp, where there were 12 athletes invited to start the try-out process. From there were two camps with all athletes still eyeing for that spot on the team. At all camps there was skill testing and other competitive information gathered. The teams then took a trip out here to the prairies where they played 5 games in locations such as Regina, Moose Jaw, and Kronau. All coaches were tracking statistics and scores for all players throughout the games. After combining evidence from prior camps and games, Wayne Kiel and his team limited the number down to 8 athletes. In November, the athletes and coaching staff traveled out to Richmond, BC and Ottawa, ON to attend competitions where again statistics and scores were all kept on each athlete. Once these completions were completed, they combined all statistics of the top 8 athletes and chose the 6 that would be heading to South Korea.
“Marie had a fantastic try-out process producing great numbers and was a well deserved candidate that will play a crucial role on the team. Marie’s statistics ranked her in the top 3 of all the rankings among the 12 athletes that started back in July, which has found her a starting spot on the team”, says National Coach Wayne Kiel. The Canadian team and coaching staff will be attending a practice and game session at the Regina Callie Curling Club January 18, 19, & 20.
Marie Wright Curling Profile
Name: Marie Wright
City: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Home Curling Club: Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre
Years in Sport: 2009
Other hobbies/activities: Coaching minor girls fastball (U12)
Interests: Sewing & Cheering on the Roughriders
Favorite Curler: Sandra Schmirler
Favorite Curling Turn: In-turn
Favorite shot to play: Takeouts
Favorite Food: Meatballs
Favorite Beverage: Chai Tea
Favorite type of music: Soft Rock
Get to know Marie
What was your first reaction when receiving the news & what will it be like to have the chance to wear that maple leaf in South Korea?
“I had received the amazing news on December 9, so leading up to that date I may have lost a few days of sleep! Once I had got the phone call from Wayne Kiel (national coach), I was simply ecstatic realizing my dream had come true. Along with fulfilling a long time goal of mine, being able to travel to South Korea will be an experience itself, and will use my experience from previous national championships (2012 & 2016) while wearing the Maple Leaf during the World Championship.”
(Photo to the left) Marie won the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships in 2012 & 2016 alongside Darwin Bender, Gill Dash, Larry Schrader, and Moose Gibson with coaches Lorraine Arguin and Lloyd Thiele.
What was the process of getting to where you are now in regards to tryout sessions? And do you know what position you will be playing?
“Tryouts for the team started back in July with 12 athletes and 3 camps in Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Ottawa with many games in between. We needed to take part in drills that had delegated marking schemes involved, and we had to send pictures into coaches as well. During tryouts I did not tryout for a certain position, as statistics were taken the same as for all individuals. As for position wise, I still do not know what position I will play in South Korea.”
What are a few of your biggest accomplishments to date?
“My biggest accomplishments to date would definitely be making Team Canada this year. As well as my 2012 & 2016 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships, especially being able to win in my home province at the Regina Callie Curling Club in 2016. I also joined Team Canada as an alternate player during the 2015 World Wheelchair Curling Championships in Finland, where we finished 6th place.”
What are a few things that you do in training that are keys to your success?
“I head to the gym four times a week to work on my weight training as well as developing my core strength. In between gym sessions, I also do on-ice sessions four days a week whether it is practicing or playing in league games. Here I focus on maintaining the same mental focus (practice or game) on improving my skills and techniques.”
What goals do you set for yourself in the sport of curling?
“Competing at the World Championship was my ultimate goal which has partially been reached since I received the news on making the team. One other big goal of mine is staying consistent and making consistent shots. Sometimes consistent games do not occur when you want them to, and I try to find a way to get out of a bad game and back to my consistent self.”
What was some of the best curling advice given by a coach?
“Getting into a routine again and again, getting inside of the shot, and visualizing yourself making that shot! I have worked in that mindset for years, and it seems to be working out so far.”
What is the biggest challenge in curling, and how do you manage this challenge?
“I would say my biggest challenge I have faced is trying to encourage and motivate teammates who are having a bad game. It is tough to pick up a teammate who is down on themselves for having a bad game, and can be mentally tiring on the ice for an individual or as a team. Our teams strategy to overcome this is focusing inside the shot. We set up for the shot, get inside the shot, and visualize ourselves making the shot!”
Describe a typical curling week for yourself?
“Well, Mondays are usually a day of either practicing or going to the gym (depending on if I play on the weekend or not). Then Tuesday mornings I play in a stick league, then back on the ice Tuesday afternoons and nights with more league play. Wednesdays I play in afternoon and evening league games, while Thursdays I am either practicing and/or going to the gym. Friday’s consist of afternoon leagues, unless I am out of town to start a spiel. Once the weekend comes along, I am either playing in a bonspiel somewhere or taking the weekend off to rest (or maybe mix in a gym session). Every morning that I am not curling I go to the gym or practice.”
Is there any other physical or mental training that you do during the curling season?
“We have a mental trainer, where we are provided exercises through an app on our phones. We can do these exercises at our own homes which prepares us for the season and keeps us level headed. As part of our goal setting, we write things down of what we want to work on in practice or games, then as individuals reflect on them at the conclusion of our practices or games. We also have a nutritionist that assists us in proper meal preparation during the season, and will send us a meal plan for competitions.”
What inspired you to pick up the game of curling?
“It was actually a funny story of how it all began. Lorraine Arguin, who was the coach of the Saskatchewan Wheelchair Curling team, kept twisting my arm to join the team because the mandatory rule for a team is that you must have at least one member of the opposite sex. So after being a hockey player all my life, I decided put away the hockey stick and pick up a curling broom, which is now a huge part of my life. But yes Lorraine has been part of many individuals who have inspired me play the game.”