Curt Minard didn’t travel east to lose.
So a fractured shoulder cap wasn’t going to stop him.
Minard, who lost his left hand in an industrial accident in 2008, won the Upper and Lower Limb Para Snowboard Cross Canadian championship at Ski Chantecler, an hour north of Montreal, despite competing with a seriously injured shoulder on his right arm – his good arm.
“It was my very first time trial run, I went off a couple of big rollers and it slung-shot me out,” said Minard, 37.
“I landed right on my shoulder, popped up right away and carried on, but it hurt like hell. It felt like I dislocated my shoulder but I think I threw it back in when I pushed off the snow to bounce back up.”
Minard did not start his second time trial due to agony but, as he said, he didn’t go to the nationals to lose.
He was seeded near the bottom of the rankings and worked his way up through the preliminaries and quarter- and semifinals to race in the big final, where he won.
“Officials were trying to get me to reconsider due to the pain in my shoulder,” he said. “I didn’t know if I broke my shoulder cap or if it wasn’t broke or just a bunch of torn ligaments. I fought my way up from near the bottom to win. I wanted to show my kids (sons Hunter and Maddex) that I’m a competitor.”
Minard, who won a World Championship as a member of Canada’s amputee hockey team, went right to hospital in Quebec after the championship and had X-rays done. He never got to speak to a doctor about the results.
When he and partner Heidi Johnson landed at Kelowna Airport, they drove straight to Vernon Jubilee Hospital, where Minard was diagnosed with the fracture and nerve trauma in his shoulder. He’s been told to stay off snowboards and hockey skates for six weeks.
“The Vernon hospital staff was awesome, got me in right away and in 90 minutes I had my results,” he said. “They told me I shouldn’t have competed. Had I fallen again, the damage could have been devastating. Twice as bad as a I feel now.”
If his recovery goes well, Minard hopes to attend a training camp in May at Sunshine Village near Banff.
His national championship also keeps him on pace for his ultimate goal: representing Canada at the 2018 Paralympics in Korea.
“In the next year, I’ll be training in Argentina and Chile, and competing on the World Cup circuit,” said Minard. “You have to get points to place for the Paralympics. If I can finish in top-10 in all of my events, things would look good for Korea.”
Minard praised the support he has received from Heidi and his two boys.
“We’re all pretty excited (about the future),” said Minard. “I’m going to be as active as I can in the World Cups. It’s a huge commitment for Heidi, my family and my work (BC Hydro). We’re going to do what we can to make it a reality to get to the Paralympics.
“My boys deserve a big shout-out. They sacrifice their dad so he can travel and do all these things.”
Minard is looking for sponsorship help. If anybody would like to help him, he can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
Minard’s gold was the second national snowboard cross championship at Chantecler for a Vernon competitor.
Kevin Hill won the Canadian championship earlier in the week.