Arthur resident wins Ontario Vision Impaired Curling Championship

David Hodgkinson competed with team from Kitchener-Waterloo

ARTHUR – The 2024 Ontario Vision Impaired Curling Championships were held at London’s Highland Golf and Country Club on March 16, and Arthur resident David Hodgkinson participated with the Kitchener-Waterloo (KW) Granite Club team.

The K-W team reigned victorious that weekend against seven other teams from Toronto, London, Hamilton, Ottawa and Kingston.

So in his first year on the team, Hodgkinson is now a provincial champion.

“It’s something to be proud of,” he said.

“In a long list of declines that has been my life since [2018], this is a nice and rare uptick.”

Hodgkinson told the Advertiser he used to curl at the Arthur Area Curling Club (AACC), where he learned a lot of fundamentals.

“Almost everything in the game has changed for me from how I deliver, to what I can see,” he explained.

This November will mark six years since the curler had a workplace accident that took the majority of his sight.

“I have somewhere between five and 10 percent of my vision,” he said.

“There’s a lot of things that have changed. So, I’ve had to relearn a lot of things, but I was still coming from a good fundamental of what I learned at the AACC.”

Hodgkinson explained that, while curling on a vision impaired team, he learned there are several different ways of assisting people in the game to aim properly.

These techniques include using flashing lights and walking with the individual, having flashing lights at the other end of the ice, tapping on the ice or holding a broom close to them.

“There is no prescribed way or method to assist somebody,” he said.

Hodgkinson added winning provincials is “nice to put it in my pocket, it’s nice to remember.”

He added, “By following that through, it was sure as hell nice to experience it, though I was in disbelief when it was going on.”

The KW team went undefeated over the championship weekend.

“It’s something for me to be proud of in a life where I don’t often have a lot of things to be proud of,” said Hodgkinson

The next step after winning provincials would typically be to head to nationals. 

However, Hodgkinson explained the national event had some “hiccups” and delays due to COVID and is currently still catching up.

The curler plans to play for the Kitchener-Waterloo Granite Club team again next year.

“I was so glad to be involved with that level [and] that calibre of player; like these are provincial-level people,” he said.

“I was just really pleased and honoured to be exposed to the environment.”