Dennis Thiessen, of Sanford, is eager to compete again in the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi, Russia, as a member of Canada’s wheelchair curling team.
Thiessen and his five teammates will play their first game in the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games against Great Britain on March 8. They won gold last February in the 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championship, defeating Sweden on the last rock.
Vice-skip Thiessen is the only Manitoban on the team, with skip Jim Armstrong from Cambridge, Ont., second Ina Forrest from Armstrong, B.C., lead Sonja Gaudet from Vernon, B.C., and alternate Mark Ideson from London, Ont.
The 52-year-old feels that his team has a bit of an advantage because of having curled in the Ice Cube.
"I think we have, because it’s the same venue," he said, adding that the curling centre is brand-new and a wonderful facility.
When he was competing in February, world-famous ice technician Hans Wuthrich, from Gimli, was on hand to maintain the ice quality.
Thiessen lost a leg in a farm accident when he was 17. He said he first tried wheelchair curling about eight years ago.
"Someone asked me to come out and try wheelchair curling. I fell in love with it," he said.
In preparation for the Paralympics, he spends a part of most days in the rink.
"I’m on ice every day of the week," he said.
Note: Thiessen will be supplying The Headliner with regular reports on his activities at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.