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Marie Wright joins Team Canada

Moose Jaw's Marie Wright will aim for a world championship gold medal at the wheelchair curling worlds in Scotland

Marie Wright still has some unfinished business on the curling ice.

The veteran national team player and 2018 Paralympic Games bronze medalist will have another crack at a world championship gold medal as she was recently named one of five players who will compete at wheelchair curling worlds in Stirling, Scotland beginning Mar. 3.

“It nice to be back because the players are getting closer and closer, so you have to work that much harder to make the team,” Wright said shortly after Team Canada made the official announcement. “We're aiming to bring the gold back to Canada — it's time. We know we can do it, we just have to go out there and play our game... it just feels like we're really strong this year and we're ready for it.”

Wright — who helped Team Canada to the Paralympic medal — will be joined by a pair of her teammates from last year in Mark Ideson of London, Ont. and Ina Forrest of Armstrong, B.C., while Collinda Joseph of Stittsville, Ont. and Jon Thurston of Dunsford, Ont. will make their Team Canada debuts. Balgonie's Wayne Kiel will return as coach.

“We’re really excited about the composition of this team,” said Kiel. “The experience factor provided by Mark, Ina and Marie is crucial, but that rookie enthusiasm from Collinda and Jon should make a big difference in Stirling. This group performed outstanding during the assessment process and we believe this has the potential to be a podium team.”

The process to select Canada's 2019 contenders was once again a lengthy and arduous one — the process started in August with 12 candidates and cut down to nine in the fall. The veteran trio were re-selected after a handful of bonspiels; Joseph and Thurston emerged from a six-player skills shootout a couple of weeks ago at the Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre.

Being able to avoid the last-chance camp was a positive for Wright, as it showed her game is still at an elite level.

“Nobody is really assured to make the team, it comes down to the tryout and the stats they keep,” Wright said. “They keep the stats for the tryouts and for the games and that's what it pretty much comes down to... It pushes you to try harder, you cant' just say 'ho hum, this is easy, I'll make it no matter what.' you have to work hard and focus a lot harder to make sure you make the team.”

Ideson will act as skip, with the remaining positions decided through a four-game series with the United States Feb. 1-2 in Winnipeg.

The 2019 Worlds will mark the third international assignment for Wright, after playing in the 2017 Worlds — where Canada finished fifth — and the aforementioned 2018 Paralympics. Her most recent selection comes with the added bonus of taking place in a venue she always wanted to visit.

“I've always wanted to go to Scotland, that's where my family's roots are from and I've always wanted to see it,” she said with a laugh. “So that'll be a fun part of it all, too.”

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