JONES OVER FLEURY IN AN EXTRA END

TEAM JONES
Curling Canada/ Michael Burns Photo

Jubilation for Jennifer Jones and her team and heartbreak for Tracey Fleury and her team, as Fleury’s last stone on an extra end, an attempted tapback for victory, over-curled and rubbed a guard. Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, and Dawn McEwen won gold undefeated eight years ago in Sochi. Kaitlyn also won gold in Pyeongchang in Mixed Doubles. Jocelyn Peterman is a first time Olympian. Fifth Lisa Weagle went to the Olympics in South Korea with Rachel Homan but will be looking for her first Olympic medal.

For Team Fleury – undefeated for nine full games but the taste of defeat for the first time in the 11th end of the final, next up is the Manitoba Scotties in Carberry. With Jones and Einarson absent from the field, they will be the over-whelming favourites to win and go to the national Scotties as Team Manitoba.

TEAM FLEURY
Curling Canada/ Michael Burns Photo

(11PM: Saturday, Nov. 27) FLEURY-JONES FINAL IN THE WOMEN’S TRIALS .. A Manitoba team will represent Canada in Women’s Curling at the Beijing Olympics. Tracey Fleury and her East St. Paul team, who finished #1 in the round robin, will play Jennifer Jones and her St. Vital foursome, who finished #2 and won the Saturday evening semi-final.

Krista McCarville team lost that semi-final 8-3 to Jones. McCarville’s Northern Ontario team had reached the semi-final with a 4-3 extra end win over Kerri Einarson. The Gimli team had won the first tiebreaker game over Casey Scheidegger.

(7PM: Friday, Nov. 26) MANITOBA WOMEN’S TEAMS #1 & #2, PLAYOFF FOR #3 AT THE TRIALS .. Tracey Fleury and her East St. Paul foursome played, and beat, former Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Jones and her St. Vital team in the Canadian Curling Trials. They had already assured themselves of the bye to the Sunday final. The 7-6 win gave Team Fleury an undefeated record and, perhaps more important, if/when they play Jones again they have that knowledge they have already beaten Jones once.

To advance, Team Einarson faces a three game day Saturday. In Tiebreaker #1 at 9AM, Einarson plays Scheidegger. The winner plays against McCarville in Tiebreaker #2. The winner plays Jones in the semi-final at 7PM

Team Jones finished in 2nd place with their 5-3 record. Their playoff gamed will be against the survivor of a three game tiebreaker draw.

Kerri Einarson was positioned to grab the third playoff spot with a win but lost 8-4 to Kelsey Rocque. With a final record of 4W-4L. the Gimli team is tied with Krista McCarville, who had already completed their 8 games and with Casey Scheidegger, who defeated Rachel Home on the final draw.

TEAM EINARSON
Curling Canada/ Michael Burns Photo

FINAL ROUND ROBIN STANDINGS
8-0 Tracey Fleury (Manitoba)
5-3 Jennifer Jones (Manitoba)
4-4 Krista McCarville (N. Ontario)
4-4 Kerri Einarson (Manitoba)
4-4 Casey Scheidegger (Alberta)
3-5 Laura Walker (Alberta)
3-5 Kelsey Roque (Alberta)
3-5 Jacqueline Harrison (Ontario)
2-6 Rachel Homan (Ontario

(10PM: Thursday, Nov. 25) FLEURY UNDEFEATED, EARNS BYE TO THE TRIALS FINAL … Tracey Fleury and her East St. Paul team won a pair of games today (11-7 over Laura Walker, 10-3 over Casey Scheidegger) and have assured themselves of finishing first in the Canadian Curling Trials round robin.

They will have the bye to the final, a win away from the trip to the Olympics, no matter the result of their Friday game against Jennifer Jones and her St. Vital team.

Jones lost 7-5 to Rachel Homan and has a 5W-2L record and needs to beat Fleury to be assured of second place in the standings.

Kerri Einarson’s Gimli team takes on Kelsey Roque (currently 2W-5L) and needs a win to be assured of a playoff spot. With a loss she would be tied for third with Krista McCarville who has finished at 4W-4L.

STANDINGS AFTER DAY FIVE
7-0 Tracey Fleury (Manitoba)
5-2 Jennifer Jones (Manitoba)
4-3 Kerri Einarson (Manitoba)
4-4 Krista McCarville (N. Ontario)
3-4 Laura Walker (Alberta)
3-4 Casey Scheidegger (Alberta)
2-5 Jacqueline Harrison (Ontario)
2-5 Rachel Homan (Ontario
2-5 Kelsey Roque (Alberta)

(6PM: Wednesday, Nov. 24) FLEURY, JONES IMPROVE TO 5 WINS IN SASKATOON …They needed an extra end but Tracey Fleury and her East St. Paul team bested Jacqueline Harrison this afternoon at the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials in Saskatoon to improve their perfect record to 5W-0L. As the only team with a perfect record, Team Fleury sits in first place in the women’s Trials.

A loss behind is Jennifer Jones and her St. Vital team with a 5W-1L record following their Wednesday afternoon victory over Kelsey Roque and two wins back are Kerri Einarson (Gimli) and Krista McCarville (N. Ontario) after McCarville’s win over Einarson.

STANDINGS AFTER DAY FOUR
5-0 Tracey Fleury (Manitoba)
5-1 Jennifer Jones (Manitoba)
3-3 Krista McCarville (N. Ontario)
3-3 Kerri Einarson (Manitoba)
2-3 Laura Walker (Alberta)
2-3 Jacqueline Harrison (Ontario)
2-3 Casey Scheidegger (Alberta)
1-4 Rachel Homan (Ontario
1-4 Kelsey Roque (Alberta)

(10PM: Tuesday, Nov. 23) MANITOBA WOMEN TOP 3 IN SASKATOON … Tracey Fleury and her East St. Paul team are the only unbeaten team left in the women’s Canadian Curling Trials in Saskatoon. Team Fleury handed Rachel Homan’s Ontario team their third loss, an 8-3 Fleury win.

At the same time, a dramatic last shot victory for Kerri Einarson’s Gimli team over previously unbeaten Jennifer Jones and her St. Vital foursome handed Team Jones their first loss in five starts Tuesday in Saskatoon.

Team Einarson jumped out to a 6-0 three end lead but trailed 9-8 coming home. When Jones was inches heavy on her last stone draw to split the rings, Einarson played a hit for two and victory.

STANDINGS AFTER DAY FOUR
4-0 Tracey Fleury (Manitoba)
4-1 Jennifer Jones (Manitoba)
2-3 Kerri Einarson (Manitoba)
2-2 Jacqueline Harrison (Ontario)
2-3 Casey Scheidegger (Alberta)
2-3 Krista McCarville (N. Ontario)
1-3 Rachel Homan (Ontario
1-3 Laura Walker (Alberta)
1-3 Kelsey Roque (Alberta)

(10PM: Monday, Nov. 22) JONES, FLEURY BOTH WIN TO STAY PERFECT IN SASKATOON .. With wins Monday evening, Jennifer Jones and her St. Vital team improved to 4W-0L and Tracey Fleury and her East St. Paul team improved their perfect record to 3W-0L.

Team Jones, was a 7-5 winner Monday evening over Casey Scheidegger (Alberta). On the weekend, they had posted wins over Krista McCarville (N. Ontario), Jacqueline Harrison (Ontario), and Laura Walker (Alberta).

Team Fleury’s Monday evening win was a 9-2 victory over Krista McCarville (N. Ontario. On Sunday, they defeated Kelsey Roque (Alberta) and they opened Saturday with a win over Manitoba’s 2-time reigning Canadian Scotties champion Kerri Einarson.

After the opening loss to Fleury, Team Einarson has a record of 2W-2L, with wins over Casey Scheidegger and Laura Walker (both Alberta) and a loss to Harrison.

STANDINGS AFTER DAY THREE
4-0 Jennifer Jones (Manitoba)
3-0 Tracey Fleury (Manitoba)
2-1 Jacqueline Harrison (Ontario)
2-2 Kerri Einarson (Manitoba)
2-2 Casey Scheidegger (Alberta)
1-2 Rachel Homan (Ontario
1-2 Laura Walker (Alberta)
1-3 Krista McCarville (N. Ontario)
0-3 Kelsey Roque (Alberta)

GUSHUE BESTS JACOBS IN MEN’S TRIALS FINAL

Sixteen years later, Canada will send a gold medal winning skip back to the Olympics. In 2006, Brad Gushue and his long time third Mark Nicholls won in their first trip to the Olympics. This time with Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker they’ll go to Beijing looking for a second gold medal. Sunday afternoon, Team Gushue defeated Brad Jacobs, the 2014 gold medal winner, 4-3 to win the Canadian Curling Trials.

Jacobs had beaten Kevin Koe in the Saturday afternoon semi-final.

TEAM MCEWEN Curling Canada/ Michael Burns Photo

(10PM:, Friday, Nov.26) 1-2-3 GUSHUE-JACOBS-KOE IN MEN’S TRIALS PLAYOFFS … In the end, disappointment for Manitoba’s Mike McEwen team. A pair of losses on the final day, to Brad Jacobs (9-5) and Brad Gushue (6-4), and a pair of wins by Kevin Koe means that Gushue finishes #1, Jacobs #2, and Koe #3.

The three, all former Canadian curling Olympic team skips, will play to see who goes back to the Olympics. Jacobs vs Koe in the semi-final, winner plays Gushue.

TEAM GUNNLAUGSON
Curling Canada/ Michael Burns Photo

Jason Gunnlaugson’s final day was the same as McEwen’s – a pair of losses, one to Koe and one to Matt Dunstone.

STANDINGS AFTER DAY SIX
7-1 Brad Gushue (Nfld-Labrador)
7-1 Brad Jacobs (N.Ontario)
6-2 Kevin Koe (Alberta)
4-4 Mike McEwen (Manitoba)
3-5 John Epping (Ontario)
3-5 Brendan Bottcher (Alberta)
3-5 Matt Dunstone (Saskatchewan)
2-6 Jason Gunnlaugson (Manitoba)
1-7 Tanner Horgan (Ontario)

(10PM: Thursday, Nov. 25) TASK SIMPLE FOR MCEWEN – JUST BEAT JACOBS AND GUSHUE … Mike McEwen’s Manitoba team will have a direct impact Friday on the final standings at the Canadian Curling Trials in Saskatoon.

After a win today (6-2 over John Epping) Team McEwen plays the top two teams in the field, Brad Gushue (6-1) and Brad Jacobs (5-1) on Friday. A pair of wins will give McEwen an assured playoff spot – as simple as that!

Jason Gunnlaugson has a 2W-4L record after a 7-6 loss today to Brendan Bottcher. However, the Morris team can do a huge favor Team McEwen by winning their Friday morning game with Kevin Koe, who meets John Epping on the final draw of the round-robin.

STANDINGS AFTER DAY SIX
6-1 Brad Gushue (Nfld-Labrador)
5-1 Brad Jacobs (N.Ontario)
4-2 Kevin Koe (Alberta)
4-2 Mike McEwen (Manitoba)
3-3 John Epping (Ontario)
2-4 Jason Gunnlaugson (Manitoba)
2-5 Brendan Bottcher (Alberta)
1-5 Tanner Horgan (Ontario)
1-5 Matt Dunstone (Saskatchewan)

(10PM: Wednesday, Nov. 24) A WIN & A LOSS FOR MANITOBA’S MEN ON WEDNESDAY AT THE TRIALS … The Wednesday record for Mike McEwen and Jason Gunnlaugson and their Manitoba teams mirrored Tuesday as both teams had a win and a loss.

For Team Gunnlaugson, a loss to Brad Jacobs (7-5) in the morning was followed by a win over Brad Gushue (7-6) in the evening, which was Gushue’s first loss.

For Team McEwen, a morning win over Tanner Horgan (6-5) preceded an evening loss to Kevin Koe.

The Jacobs and Koe wins move them into a tie for second place but still only a win behind Gushue. At 3-2 McEwen in still in the chase. He must yet play Epping, who he is tied with, plus Gushue and Jacobs so the Manitoba team can completely change the standings with three wins.

STANDINGS AFTER DAY FIVE
5-1 Brad Gushue (Nfld-Labrador)
4-1 Brad Jacobs (N.Ontario)
4-1 Kevin Koe (Alberta)
3-2 Mike McEwen (Manitoba)
3-2 John Epping (Ontario)
2-3 Jason Gunnlaugson (Manitoba)
1-4 Tanner Horgan (Ontario)
1-5 Brendan Bottcher (Alberta)
1-5 Matt Dunstone (Saskatchewan)

(10PM: Tuesday, Nov. 23) A WIN & A LOSS FOR MANITOBA’S MEN ON TUESDAY AT THE TRIALS .. A Jason Gunnlaugson and his Morris team got their first loss Tuesday while Mike McEwen’s West St. Paul foursome had their first loss in the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials in Saskatoon, Tuesday.

Team Gunnlaugson’s first win after three losses came over Tanner Horgan’s Ontario team – an 11-6 victory.

McEwen’s loss was also a first win for Brier champion Brendan Bottcher, who posted a blow out 10-2 victory.

STANDINGS AFTER DAY FOUR
4-0 Brad Gushue (Nfld-Labrador)
3-1 Brad Jacobs (N.Ontario)
2-1 Kevin Koe (Alberta)
2-1 Mike McEwen (Manitoba)
2-2 John Epping (Ontario)
1-2 Tanner Horgan (Ontario)
1-2 Jason Gunnlaugson (Manitoba)
1-3 Brendan Bottcher (Alberta)
0-4 Matt Dunstone (Saskatchewan)

(10PM: Monday, Nov. 22) MCEWEN UNBEATEN AFTER DAY THREE IN SASKATOON .. After three days of play at the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials, Mike McEwen’s Manitoba team is one of three unbeaten teams on the Men’s side of the draw.

Team McEwen has a 2W-0L record and sit a win behind two former Olympic gold medalists; Brad Gushue (Nfld-Labrador) and Brad Jacobs (N.Ontario).

The West St. Paul team opened with a win Saturday 7-2 over former Manitoba Junior champion Matt Dunstone (Saskatchewan), had the Sunday bye, and defeated fellow Manitoban Jason Gunnlaugson 11-2 Monday afternoon.

STANDINGS AFTER DAY 3
3-0 Brad Jacobs (N.Ontario)
3-0 Brad Gushue (Nfld-Labrador)
2-0 Mike McEwen (Manitoba)
2-1 Kevin Koe (Alberta)
1-1 Tanner Horgan (Ontario)
1-2 John Epping (Ontario)
0-2 Jason Gunnlaugson (Manitoba)
0-3 Matt Dunstone (Saskatchewan)
0-3 Brendan Bottcher (Alberta)

MANITOBANS OUT AT JUNIOR WORLD QUALIFIER IN SASKATOON

Manitoba’s Meghan Walter and Jordon McDonald teams have been eliminated in the first round of playoffs at the Saskatoon Junior competition to determine Canada’s reps for the 2022 World Juniros in Sweden.

Walter lost 7-4 to Nova Scotia Friday morning while McDonald was a 7-2 loser to Nfld-Labrador.

TEAM WALTER – Curling Canada Photo

(8PM: Thursday, Nov. 25) MANITOBANS ADVANCE AT JUNIOR WORLD QUALIFIER IN SASKATOON .. The Manitoba teams skipped by Meghan Walter (East St. Paul) and Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge) have advanced to the knockout playoff round at the junior event underway in Saskatoon. The event’s objective is to identify teams to represent Canada at the World Juniors in Sweden in 2022.

Team Walter (Lane Prokopowich, Katie McKenzie, Mackenzie Elias, Coach Frank Walter) advanced with a 3W-2L record and must win three games to win the trip to the worlds. They will open Friday morning at 10AM against Nova Scotia who had a 4-1 record in the other Pool. The winner plays Northern Ontario at 5PM. N. Ont had a 4-1 record in the Walter pool.

TEAM MCDONALD – Curling Canada Photo

The other side of the draw has New Brunswick (3-2 in the Walter Pool) against Ontario (2-3 in the other pool) with the winner playing Alberta, the only unbeaten team in the competition.

Team McDonald (Reece Hamm, Elias Huminicki, Alexandre Fontaine, Coach Blaine Malo), with a 3W-2L record, will meet Nfld-Labrador (4W-1L) in the first playoff game and, if the win they will take on undefeated Nova Scotia. Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario comprise the teams in the other half of the playoff draw.

The finals are set for Saturday at 1PM.

MCTAVISH JOINS MCGIBBON AS BERTH WINNERS IN MASTERS BERTH BONSPIEL

TEAM MCTAVISH

(4PM: Thursday, Nov. 25) 2019 Manitoba Masters Champion Gord McTavish and his Pembina team have joined Greg McGibbon’s foursome as the berth winners in this week’s CurlManitoba Credit Unions Masters Berth Bonspiel at Fort Rouge.

MCTAVISH ROLLED HIS YELLOW STONE TO THE PERFECT POSITION WITH HIS LAST ROCK

Team McTavish handed Carl German his second loss of the day to win the berth Thursday afternoon.

McTavish (with Neil Okumura, Victor Bellay, and Larry Lagace) stole three on the fifth end for a 7-2 lead. They looked set to give German back the three, maybe 4 or 5, on the sixth but McTavish made a hit and roll (facing four) which buried in the four foot. German made an attempt to pick the rock out from behind one of his own but overcurled, rubbed and rolled harmlessly away.

In 2019, when McTavish won the title, he was aided by Okumura, Lagace and Ross Allen.

TEAM MCGIBBON

(Noon: Thursday, Nov 25) MCGIBBON WINS FIRST BERTH IN MASTERS BERTH BONSPIEL … Greg McGibbon, Peter Nicholls, Darren Oryniak, and Andy Stewart have won the first of two provincial berths available in the CurlManitoba Credit Unions Masters Berth Bonspiel at Fort Rouge.

The Granite foursome defeated Carl German’s East St. Paul team in six ends this morning at Fort Rouge.

German will now play former champion Gord McTavish and his Pembina team for the second provincial berth available through the bonspiel. McTavish had to miss the morning game but, playing with three, Neil Okumura skipped the team to victory over Granite’s Mark Franklin team.

(5PM: Wednesday, Nov. 24) FINAL FOUR PLAYOFFS SET IN MASTERS BERTH BONSPIEL … The last four unbeaten teams in the bonspiel are the four teams lined up to play in Thursday’s playoff games in the CurlManitoba Credit Unions Masters Berth Bonspiel at Fort Rouge.

Greg McGibbon (Peter Nicholls, Darren Oryniak, Andy Stewart) stayed perfect Wednesday afternoon with a 6-4 win over former Masters champion Gord McTavish (Neil Okumura, Victor Bellay, Larry Lagace). By the same score, former Manitoba senior champion Carl German (Harold Mauthe, Ray McDougall, Mirron German) pushed another former Masters champion, Mark Franklin (Jamie Hay, Barry Campbell, Greg Ziemanski) to the “B” side of the draw.

Thursday, McGibbon and German face off at 10AM in a berth game with a second chance. The winner earns the first of two available provincial berths. The loser drops in the “B” final at 1:30PM against the winner between Franklin and McTavish.

(Updated 5PM: Tuesday, Nov. 23) FOUR UNBEATEN IN MASTERS BERTH BONSPIEL ..The Mark Franklin (Granite), Gord McTavish (Pembina), Greg McGibbon (Granite) and Carl German (East St. Paul) teams won their second games in the CurlManitoba Credit Unions Masters Berth Bonspiel Tuesday morning at Fort Rouge. Having reached “A” semi-finals, the four will face off, McGibbon vs McTavish and Franklin vs German, with the two winners qualifying for the playoff round.

Mark Franklin led Lionel Walz (Pembina) by four when he gave up a five on the fifth end. They were tied coming home with Franklin holding last rock. Walz’ second man Bill Mamchuk made a perfect draw to the four foot with his last stone. It was buried behind a four stone line-up on the centre line. “Automatic” said the clubroom experts but it took three remove and replace shots before Walz saw his guard attempt slide a little too deep allowing Franklin to make the four stone runback to stick in the four foot. With his last stone draw attempt, Walz was full four foot but not quite good enough and Franklin won without throwing his last.

With Neil Okamura skipping the team in McTavish’s absence, the Pembina team beat Rob Atkins (East St. Paul) in six ends. The key shot was an Okamura rub and roll behind cover in the four foot to lie three coming home. It turned into a steal of three and victory.

German needed an extra end, thanks to a delicate tapback that had to executive a centre-line port to get to the Bill Menzies (Granite) stone in the four foot circle. On the extra end, German had to choose between leaving Menzies a last stone draw or runback. He guarded the draw line and Menzies last shot hit didn’t curl up quite enough and his own raised stone crossed the shot stone without contact, leaving German a steal of one.

In the fourth game, Greg McGibbon led Ron Westcott 7-4 coming home and ran the Fort Rouge team out of stones.

In “B” side games, Howard Doerksen (Pembina) beat Pat Carson (Ft Rouge) and Neil Schmidt (East St. Paul) defeated Barry Mandryk (Ft Rouge).

UPDATE: On the afternoon draw, Walz (8-4 over Dave Fisher), Menzies (8-4 over Brian Kushner), and Rob Atkins (8-2 over Neil Schmidt) all recovered from the morning loss with “B” side wins. Only Ron Westcott (8-4 loss to Howard Doerksen) had two losses on Tuesday.

(5PM: Monday, Nov. 22) FORMER CHAMPS WIN OPENERS IN MASTERS BERTH ‘SPIEL .. Gord McTavish, who skipped Manitoba’s 2019 Manitoba Masters Men champion team, won his opener on Monday afternoon at Fort Rouge. McTavish bested clubmate Howard Doerksen 7-1.

First win for Team Kushner

McTavish join former champions Mark Franklin and Ron Westcott with first game wins. A pair of former senior champion skips, Carl German and Lionel Walz, also won their openers earlier Monday.

Also on the afternoon draw at Fort Rouge, Rob Atkins and his team defeated the host club’s Pat Carson for their first win.

Meanwhile, Lorne Hamblin’s Morris team and the Lawrie Hogg Stonewall team had their second, elimination, loss. Hamblin lost to Brian Kushner while Dave Fisher beat the Hogg entry.

(1PM: Monday, November 22) MORRIS ROOKIES COME CLOSE IN MASTERS BERTH ‘SPIEL ..In a rink full of household names it was a group of competition rookies who pushed their opposition the furthest this morning at Fort Rouge in the opening draw of the Masters Berth Bonspiel.

Hamblin & his sweepers

Lorne Hamblin’s name and record as coach and volunteer organizer are well known, and he has even had some success as a competitor. However his Morris team of three “somewhat over 60” players are all competition rookies – playing for the first time in a CurlManitoba provincial qualifying bonspiel, although one does admit he thinks he played in a zone playoff “about 40 years ago”.

Hamblin (with Rene Nolette, Normand Lemoine, and George Lecuyer) fell behind three time Manitoba Masters champion Mark Franklin, trailing 7-3 after five ends but scored one on the sixth and stole two on the seventh to trail 7-6 coming home without last rock.

They forced Franklin to throw that last rock. Facing one wide open with a possible second shot fully buried, Franklin’s in-turn hit on the shot stone in the edge of the eight foot rolled to the four foot for one and the win.

“It was close. If he rolled out, we’d have measured – I think we had it,” said Hamblin after the game – sounding exactly like every skip who has ever come off the ice in the same situation.

However, maybe they did. Certainly, Franklin’s ice call was such that he was clearly ensuring the in-roll to remove any doubt.

Along with Franklin’s Granite team, first game winners were those household names referred to: Ron Westcott (Ft. Rouge), Lionel Walz (Pembina), Carl German (East St. Paul), Bill Menzies (Granite), and Greg McGibbon, Granite.

The bonspiel continues to with two draws daily and provincial berth finals at 10AM and 1:30PM on Thursday at Fort Rouge.

NEEPAWA’S URSEL TEAM WINS WESTMAN SCOTTIES BERTH

(November 22) Neepawa’s Terry Ursel team picked up the fourth Scotties berth available on the weekend, joining Kaitlyn Jones, Kritsy McDonald, and Jennifer Clark-Rouire’s team in winning invitations to compete in Carberry in mid-December.

Ursel (with Wanda Rainka, Kaya Hunter, Tracy Igonia, and fifth Chris Hamblin) won two out of three in Rivers against Alyssa Calvert, who is hoping to be a home team in the Carberry event.

Had it been a ‘total-points’ series, they would have needed an extra end as the two teams each scored 21 points in the three games. Calvert won game #2 9-6 while Ursel was a 7-5 and 8-7 winner. The teams were so closely matched that they were tied coming home in Game #3.

Team Calvert still has a chance to qualify as they will play Shae Bevan’s team for the fifth regional berth at a date & location yet to be determined. The 12th invitation for the Carberry championship will be awarded after the Morris bonspiel in early December.

(UPDATED 8PM: Saturday, Nov. 20) TEAM JCR JOINS JONES, MCDONALD IN EARNING SCOTTIES BERTHS … Kaitlyn and Jones are two well known Manitoba curling names – but two different people playing this week in Saskatoon. Kaitlyn Jones is a pretty well known name as well: a former Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia Junior champion AND Canadian & World junior champion.

Team Kaitlyn Jones

Now Kaitlyn Jones is set to make her mark at the Scotties level and she has made the first step by skipping her team (Robyn Njegovan, Abby Ackland, Sara Oliver) to an invitation to compete in Carberry at the Manitoba championship in mid-December.

Trailing 4-1 playing the fourth end, Jones had a draw for a three and a 4-4 tie. The momentum of the game shifted and after a series of singles, Jones had a hit for three on the eighth end. She rolled away but scored a pair to go up 7-6.

The Jones team controlled the final end, got two buried in the four foot and the game ended when Lisa McLeod (skipping the Jennifer Clark-Rouire entry) couldn’t make an in-off attempt to score at least one for tie. The final score was 9-6.

Team Kristy McDonald

A very well known Manitoba curling name, Kristy McDonald, will join the Jones team in Carberry. Returning to competition after some family time away, McDonald (Lisa Blixhavn, Lindsay Titheridge, Raunora Westcott) adds another former Manitoba Scotties champion skip to the Carberry roster.

McDonald led Shae Bevan 3-0 after two ends but gave up a three on the third when she missed a double kill attempt and left Bevan a draw for the three. McDonald led 5-4 after five ends and had a draw for a four on end #6 to go up 9-4. The final score was 10-5.

On the 5PM draw, the third Winnipeg regional entry into the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Carberry went to the Jennifer Clark-Rouire foursome, skipped by Lisa McLeod (with JCR, Kelsey Meger, Laurie Macdonell, Jolene Callum)

Team JCR, led by two but faced four with their final stone on the last end. Mcleod was certain of a tie after her throw but it was even better than that as Shae Bevan and her team scored only a single; a 4-3 victory for McLeod and her team.

In Rivers, Terry Ursel won game one of the best-of-three series 7-5 but Alyssa Calvert rebounded to win 9-6 in the second game. A third, deciding game will be played in Rivers at 10AM Sunday.

At a time yet to be determined, Shae Beavan’s foursome will play the loser in Rivers for the fifth berth available through regionals.

(November 19) FIVE SCOTTIES BERTHS AVAILABLE THIS WEEKEND … It is fair to suggest Tracey Fleury and Jennifer Jones and their teams would prefer a trip to Beijing over a trip to Carberry.

The top two favourites to win this year’s Manitoba’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer will be playing in Saskatoon, beginning this weekend, in an attempt to win their way out of that trip to Carberry in mid-December.

If either wins Canada’s Olympic Curling Trials, formally knows the Canadian Curling Trials, they would be dropped out of the Manitoba championship as they would be unable to represent Manitoba at the National Scotties which ends just a few days ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

Four other teams have also qualified for the Manitoba championship. These include Mackenzie Zacharias, Darcy Robertson, Beth Peterson, and  Kristy Watling.

That leaves five invitations to play in Carberry up for grabs this weekend in regional qualifying – and six teams want them.

In Winnipeg at the Deer Lodge, Jennifer Clark-Rouire, Shae Bevan, Kaitlyn Jones, and Kristy McDonald will play for three provincial berths. Jones play Clark-Rouire and McDonald plays Bevan at 9AM Saturday with the winners getting invitations. Then the two losers will play for the third invitation.

In Westman, Alyssa Calvert hopes to become a home-team in Carberry when she plays a best of three series with Terry Ursel (Neepawa). That happens in Rivers beginning at 10AM Saturday.

That makes four. The losers in Winnipeg and Westman will playoff for the fifth available entry into the Carberry championship.

After this weekend, the last entry into the Carberry Scotties will be announced following the DEKALB Bonspiel in Morris.

Of course, the small number of entries in regional playoffs does not indicate the strength of field of the provincial championships. In fact, the exact opposite – the strength of the Manitoba Scotties field probably explains the lack of regional entries.

There are seven Manitoba teams in the Canadian Team Ranking Systems’ Top 20. Team Canada’s Kerri Einarson, #5, is not eligible as she has pre-qualified for the national Scotties (unless she wins the Trials). Kaitlyn Jones, a former Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia Junior champion and also Canadian and World titleist, is ranked #15 in Canada but has yet to qualify for Carberry.

The other five are pre-qualified: Tracey Fleury (CTRS #1), Jennifer Jones (CTRS #2), Mackenzie Zacharias (CTRS #12), Kristy Watling (CTRS #14), and Beth Peterson (CTRS #15). Also pre-qualified, Darcy Robertson is ranked #35 on the CTRS list.

No question, the 12-team Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Carberry in mid-December will be one of the most competitive women’s curling events ever staged in Manitoba – great championship curling entertainment.

(November 16) GREAT PROGRESS IN PLANNING FOR CARBERRY SCOTTIES …. Carberry is one of the smallest, and perhaps is the smallest, community to ever host one of CurlManitoba’s arena championship curling events.

Curl Carberry is proud to be hosting the 2021 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer

Rather than being a problem, however, committee chairman Rob Van Kommer says it is an opportunity – an opportunity to showcase the spirit of the community which he is proud to call home and an opportunity to boost community pride.

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts presented by Bayer will be played in the Carberry Community Centre December 14-19, 2021 with the full support of the Town of Carberry, the Rural Municipality of North Cypress, the Community Centre and the Curling Club.

“Our committee and our community have really taken hold of the challenge of hosting the Scotties. We’re making great progress,” Van Kommer said recently. “The business community has shown great support – our nine corporate boxes are ‘sold out’ and we have at least eight gold sponsors already; we had over 120 volunteers turn out for our shirt try-on night, and nearly half of our full event passes have been sold.”

Showing the eternal optimism of the Manitoba farmer, Van Kommer can even put a positive spin on the past year’s covid-isolation and the change of timing to December, due to the 2022 Olympic schedule.

‘I don’t think there is any doubt it helps us for the event to be earlier than usual,” he said. “People were isolating for so long that this event is going to be a great way for them to get out and see their friends from across the Manitoba curling community.”

The Carberry Community Centre is a multi-sport facility which includes the four sheet curling facility, a bowling alley, a gun club, an outdoor pool, and hockey arena. For the Scotties, the curling rink will be used as a yet-to-be named hospitality facility.

People worried about it being an ’old barn’ need not be concerned. The building benefited from regular upgrades over the years with new roof, new dressing rooms and new heaters all ensuring the comfort of both fans and curlers. There is also good experience in the arena as a curling arena as Carberry Curling club has staged its annual bonspiel in the arena ever since the clubs 100th anniversary (nearly 40 years).

While seating capacity in the arena is limited to 450 bleacher seats, the total capacity will be about 1,200 curlers and curling fans. (LINK to Carberry’s Ticket Sales site) One of the innovative Carberry ideas, compared with other provincial events, will be to provide access to the hospitality area via a $20 “party pass”.

That idea was one of many which grew from the imaginations of the Carberry volunteer corps and Van Kommer is quick to credit his executive committee and the other lead volunteers for their energy and ideas. The Executive group includes Kelly Hofer (President of the Ladies Curling Club), Warren Birch (President of the Men’s Curling Club) Trevor Calvert (Past-President of the Men’s Curling Club).

Carberry was originally scheduled to host a dual Manitoba Juniors and Manitoba Seniors Championship event in early 2021 but it, of course, was cancelled due to the pandemic. When CurlManitoba needed a suitable location for the Scotties, Carberry accepted the challenge.

As one of the original seven curling clubs which formed the Manitoba Branch of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (now CurlManitoba), Carberry is proud to join the list of communities which has hosted one of Manitoba’s major arena curling events.

However, Van Kommer and his group have not given up on the idea of that dual Juniors-Seniors championship event wrapped around their community bonspiel.

“You have to have something to look forward to,” he concludes with a smile.

REGIONAL QUALIFYING CONCLUDES WITH “B” BERTH WINNERS

Regional qualifying for the Viterra Championship in Selkirk, in late January, has concluded around the province.

In Winnipeg, three of the four teams who lost “A” finals yesterday, bounced back to win the “B” berths Sunday afternoon. Only one “B” semi-final winner was able to win two games, and a Viterra invitation, on Sunday.

Team Martin

That team was Travis Bale (skipping the Evan Martin Fort Rouge entry with Ian Fordyce, Nigel Milnes, and fifth Jonathan Ray) jumped out to a 4-1 lead after five ends over William Lyburn but Lyburn fought back to tie 5-5 coming home. With a Bale rock biting the back of the four, Lyburn’s last shot draw-freeze attempt didn’t curl up enough and Bale did not have to throw his final stone.

Richard Muntain – Granite (Darren Oryniak, Al Purdy, AJ Girardin), former champion Mark Lukowich – Fort Rouge (Sheldon Oshanyk, Chris Chimuk, Stu Gresham), and Daniel Birchard – Pembina (Kelly Fordyce, William Moore, Andrew Peck) all dropped from “A” final losses Saturday night and won “B” finals today.

Team Muntain

Muntain saw Corey Anderson blank the opening end, score one and steal one to lead 2-0 after three ends. A two and three single steals gave Muntain a 5-2 seven end lead. He forced Anderson to one on eight ended the game with three on the ninth.

Team Lukowich

Lukowich grabbed a big four point lead with a five on the fifth end but to their credit Richard Hawkins and his young Jack Hykaway team did not fold. They were forced to one on the sixth end and stole two on seven to trail by only two but that was as close as they could get in an 8-4 win for Lukowich.

Team Birchard

Pembina’s Daniel Birchard and his teammates, who have curled together for most of 20 years, blanked the first two ends and scored a two deuces in the next three ends to lead 4-1 but Derek Blanchard fought back to trail 5-4 coming home. With his last shot, Blanchard had a chance to leave Birchard a tough last stone double kill but didn’t get the needed roll. Birchard made a routine hit wide open in the four foot for the win.

AROUND THE PROVINCE:

In Rivers, Virden’s Graham Freeman, curling with his sons Brooks and Jace and Dwayne Barkley, won the “B” side berth.

In Morden, the “B” side berth winner was Carman’s Dean North with Kyle MacNair, Wayne Nussey, and Michael Hutton.

(1PM: Sunday, Nov. 21) WINNIPEG “B” BERTH FINALS SET, FOUR RURAL BERTHS AWARDED … Four “B” semi-finals at Winnipeg’s Deer Lodge finished early this morning as four teams advanced to the 1:30PM berth finals draw.

Richard Hawkins with Jack Hykaway, once coach now teammate.

Richard Hawkins, skipping and throwing first for the Jack Hykaway team, won in eight although the writing was on the clubhouse wall earlier. A five in the fourth end and a 7-2 lead after six was proof that Bill Menzies team didn’t have it this morning.

Even earlier for Corey Anderson and Derek Blanchard who needed four and six ends for their wins over Derek Oryniak and Andrew Wickman respectively.

The fourth game saw Travis Bale skipping the Evan Martin entry) go up 7-5 after five ends on Rod McLeod. McLeod scored back to back deuces on ends 6 & 7. Facing three with his last stone, McLeod’s attempted rub and roll to the button behind 3 guards rolled about six inches too far leaving Bale a hit for four and an 11-6 win.

In the Winnipeg berth finals Hykaway plays Mark Lukowich, Bale (Martin) plays William Lyburn, Blanchard plays Daniel Birchard, and Anderson plays Richard Muntain.

AROUND THE PROVINCE: Four rural regional berths have been awarded this morning.

In Thompson, the north regionalberth was won by Sam Antila and his Burntwood team (Rylan Young, Jeff Antila, Ian Graham).

In Morris, the regional berth has been won by Randy Neufeld – La Salle (Dean Moxham, Peter Nicholls, Dale Fust)

In Dauphin, Jeff Stewart-Gladstone (Eric Zamrkut, Austin Mustard, Geoff Trimble) is the winner.

In Rivers, Kelly Marnoch-Carberry (Bart Witherspoon, Branden Jorgenson, Dean Smith) won the first berth. The “B” berth final between Graham Freeman and Steve Irwin is set for this afternoon.

In Morden, Dean North and Ryan Hyde will play for the “B” berth.

Team Grassie

(11:30PM Saturday, Nov. 20) FOUR WINNIPEG BERTHS AWARDED SATURDAY .. The first of four Viterra Championships berths from the 20-team Winnipeg regional playoff was won by the host Deer Lodge club’s Sean Grassie team. Grassie (with Tyler Drews, Daryl Evans, and Rodney Legault) was in control from the outset, posting a 7-0 won over former champ Mark Lukowich. The win, with an earlier 8-0 win over Chad Barkman, means Grassie qualified for provincials without giving up a point.

The other three spots went to the young guns – Brett Walter, JT Ryan, and Jacques Gauthier.

Team Walter

Walter (with Graham McFarlane, Hugh McFarlane, and Jake Zelenewich) left William Lyburn a double kill to blank attempt on the ninth end but he killed only one and Walter stole to go up 5-4 coming home. Lyburn was in trouble the entire tenth end and Walter stole another for a 6-4 win.

Team Ryan

JT Ryan (with Colin Kurz, Brendan Bilawka, and Tyler Forrest), playing a not so much older Daniel Birchard, was up one (5-4) the ninth. With his own first stone he split the rings. A Birchard attempted hit and roll behind cover rolled too far leaving Ryan a draw for two and a 7-4 lead coming home. That was the final score.

Jacques Gauthier (with Jordan Peters, Brayden Payette and Cole Chandler) was down 6-5 playing the ninth but his ability to throw big weight paid dividends. With Richard Muntain laying first & third, Gauthier second and fourth, all in the four foot – Gauthier’s rocket ticked the edge of his own stone and removed both Muntain rocks plus one of his own. But he also had fifth shot and his shooter hung on for a three and an 8-6 score coming home. That was the final score.

Lukowich, Muntain, Lyburn, and Birchard all drop in “B” finals Sunday at 1:30PM for a second chance to qualify for provincials.

(10PM: Saturday, Nov. 20) FOUR MORE RURAL BERTHS TO BE DETERMINED SUNDAY

AROUND THE PROVINCE: Berth playoffs will be completed Sunday in four rural Manitoba curling clubs.

In Morris, “A” winner Randy Neufeld must be beaten twice by William Kuran. The same goes in Dauphin where “A” winner Jeff Stewart must be beaten twice by Greg Todoruk.

In Rivers, Kelly Marnoch will play Graham Freeman in the “A” final. The winner get a berth and the loser drops to the “B” berth final against the winner of a game between Steve Irwin and Cale Dunbar.

In Morden, four teams survive on the “B” side of the draw. Rob Van Kommer plays Ryan Hyde and Kyle McCannell plays Dean North. The winners will meet in the “B” berth final game.

(5PM: Saturday, Nov. 20) VITERRA BERTHS AWARDED IN MORDEN, WINNIPEG BEACH

AROUND THE PROVINCE: Justin Richter won his best of three against Steen Sigurdson. Richter (with Kyle Einarson, Jared Litke, Mitch Einarson) will be in Selkirk.

In Morden, Garth Shewfelt (Mike Johnson, Rob Van Deynze, Mike Orchard) and Ryan Thomson (Marcus Titchkosky, Mark Georges, Evan Gillis) have won berths. The “B” side of the 9-team playoff continues with the winner earning a third berth.

In Morris, Randy Neufeld has won the “A” side of the draw and must be beaten twice by the “B” winner. The same for Jeff Stewart in Dauphin.

In Rivers, Kelly Marnoch will play for a berth in the “A” final against the winner of a game between Cale Dunbar and Graham Freeman.

IN WINNIPEG: Playing last night was no advantage for the four teams who won opening games Friday evening as all four lost their second “A” side games in the Winnipeg Viterra qualifying event at Deer Lodge.

On the early draw Saturday JT Ryan beat Corey Anderson (8-5) and Daniel Birchard beat Travis Bale, skipping the Evan Martin entry (9-6). On the PM draw, William Lyburn beat Bill Menzies (9-3) and Jacques Gauthier beat Derek Blanchard (8-1).

On the early draw, Mark Lukowich, the only former Manitoba Men’s champion skip in the competition, made a raise takeout for two on the sixth end to take a 7-3 lead over Andrew Wickman. Wickman fought back but eventually the Lukowich team posted a 9-6 win. Sean Grassie also marked up a first win, 8-0 over Chad Barkman.

On the afternoon draw, Brett Walter was a 7-3 winner over Derek Oryniak and Corey Thompson’s Deer Lodge team led Richard Muntain 7-6 coming home but gave up a deuce in an 8-7 Muntain win.

Travis Bale

(10PM: Friday, Nov. 19) VITERRA REGIONAL QUALIFYING UNDERWAY WITH FOUR GAMES FRIDAY….There were three different types of games among the opening  four games of Viterra qualifying in Winnipeg Friday evening at Deer Lodge.

Travis Bale (skipping the Evan Martin entry from Fort Rouge) jumped out to a lead against Granite’s Robert Daudet team (skipped by Corey Boisvert) and controlled play in a 9-2 win. In the same way, Corey Anderson’s Charleswood team got an early lead on the Jack Hykaway entry from Pembina (skipped by Richard Hawkins) and controlled play in an 11-4 victory.

Darryl Gunnlaugson (l) and Larry Borus prepare to sweep a Bill Menzies stone.

Bill Menzies and his Granite team were able to come from behind for victory. Trailing 4-2 after four ends against the Perche brothers team from Charleswood, Menzies was forced to take one on end #5. It was the sixth end which changed the momentum. Looking at a buried Perche stone in the four foot, Team Menzies took considerable time to make a decision. With his first rock, Menzies cleared a pair of guards with a hit double raise which rolled off another rock to sit second shot covered. Perche had to leave something and Menzies second stone was a tap-back past a guard which removed the shot rock and left Menzies lying three. Perche  removed on but left the steal of two. Momentum had shifted – Perche was forced to one and a tie in the seventh and a Menzies three on the 8th was the final margin of victory.

In the fourth game, Rod McLeod and his Fort Rouge team followed the Menzies model, coming back from down 5-2 to lead 6-5 after none ends. Derek Blanchard and his Assiniboine Memorial team were forced to a single on the home end to tie. In this game, however, the single broke McLeod’s momentum. Team Blanchard got their rocks in to the centre line in the rings with plenty of cover and forced McLeod to a wide outside draw with his final stone. He had to touch the four foot circle but came up short, giving up a steal and an 8-6 Blanchard win.

The four games were the extra series games in the 20 team regional playoff. The winners all advance against team who will be playing their first games Saturday.

In Morden, in three of the four games on the opening draw , the winners controlled all the way. Ryan Thomson (8-0 over Eren Oleson), Ryan Hyde (9-3 over Kyle McCannell) and Grant Shewfelt (7-1 over Rob Van Kommer) posted easy wins. The fourth went an extra end with Gerry Janz scoring three on the ninth for a one point lead. Steve Pauls tied to force an extra end but Janz won it on the extra end.

(November 18) VITERRA REGIONAL QUALIFYING THIS WEEKEND ….Viterra Championship regional playoffs take place this weekend with a total of 43 entries competing in seven locations for 17 regional entries in the Viterra Championship in Selkirk in late January.

The provincial event is January 25-30, slightly earlier than usual because this is the Olympic year.           

When Corey Chambers won the Steinbach berth bonspiel a few weeks ago, his team became the sixth pre-qualified entry. At that time, they joined Mike McEwen, Jason Gunnlaugson, Braden Calvert, Jordon McDonald, and Ryan Wiebe and their teams with invitations to compete in Selkirk. Since, per CurlManitoba rules, Pat Simmons and Riley Smith have also been assigned 2021-22 CTRS berths (highest eligible teams on CTRS on November 5).

It is fair to suggest the Manitoba champion may have already qualified for Selkirk but that won’t minimize the competition when the games get underway Friday evening or Saturday depending on the number of teams in the regional competition. The opportunity to compete in the Viterra Championship on the world class arena ice provided by CurlManitoba’s Ice Technicians is still a major attraction for Manitoba curlers.

There are two teams playing in each of the North and East regions so these are simple best of three draws on Saturday (Sunday finals) featuring Sam Antila against Grant Brown in Thompson and Justin Richter against Steen Sigurdson in Winnipeg Beach.

CurlManitoba President Ray Baker, Manitoba Seniors finalist, has his eye on a Viterra berth

In the West 1 playoff in Dauphin, the host club’s Ray Baker, who had a finalist finish a week ago in the Manitoba Seniors, will face Jeff Stewart (Gladstone) and Greg Todoruk (also Dauphin) in their double knock-out for one provincial berth.  Play will start in Dauphin on Saturday morning.

In the West 2 playoff, Saturday and Sunday in Rivers, five teams will play a double knock-out for two provincial berths.  Kelly Marnoch and Devin Moore, (Carberry), Graham Freeman (Virden), Steve Irwin (Brandon) and Cale Dunbar (Riverview) will be looking for the provincial invitations.

The South 1 playoff has the largest entry of the rural regions with nine teams from five communities. Pilot Mound is represented by Kyle McCannell, Rob Van Kommer, & Steve Pauls), Portage by Ryan Hyde & Eren Oleson), Baldur by Grant Shewfelt and Gerry Janz, Carman by Dean North, and the host club Morden by Ryan Thomson. The “A” side of the double knock-out draw will award two of the three provincial entries available while the survivor on the “B” side gets the third berth. Competition in Morden begins Friday evening.

In the South 2 playoff in Morris, Manitoba Senior Champion Randy Neufeld and his team will be challenged for one provincial entry by Allan Gitzel (Morris), Kurt Braden (Lorette) and William Kuran (St. Adolphe) in a double-knockout competition beginning Saturday morning.

2020 World Junior champion Jacques Gauthier heads the list of entries in Winnipeg regional playoffs

The Winnipeg region will award eight provincial entries in a 20 team event beginning Friday evening at the Deer Lodge Curling Club. Seven Winnipeg clubs are represented. Most high profile of the teams competing include a trio of recent junior champions: World Junior Champion Jacques Gauthier, 3-time Canadian Junior champion JT Ryan, and Manitoba Junior Champion Brett Walter along with multiple Manitoba champion Sean Grassie, a former Manitoba Men’s championship finalist. The only former Manitoba Men’s champion skip in the field is Mark Lukowich.

The Winnipeg regional competition includes five Fort Rouge entries (Lukowich, Andrew Wickman, Derek Oryniak, Evan Martin, Ron McLeod); four Assiniboine Memorial teams (Gauthier, Ryan, Walter, Derek Blanchard); four from Granite (Richard Muntain, Bill Menzies, Robert Daudet, William Lyburn); two each from Charleswood (Corey Anderson, Darren Perche), Pembina (Daniel Birchard, Jack Hykaway), and Deer Lodge (Grassie, Corey Thompson); plus one from St. Vital (Chad Barkman).

“A” side competition, beginning Friday evening, will determine four provincial entries with those games scheduled for 9PM Saturday evening at Deer Lodge. The losers of those berth games will drop into the four “B” side berth games at 1:30PM Sunday.

At the conclusion of play on Sunday, when these 17 Viterra berths have been assigned, there will still be seven invitations for the championship in Selkirk available. The current situation is:

17 Berths: Regional Qualifying
Jason Gunnlaugson: Provincial Champion Berth
Mike McEwen: 2019-20 CTRS Berth
Pat Simmons: 2021-22 CTRS Berth #1
Riley Smith: 2021-22 CTRS Berth #2
Jordon McDonald: 2020-21 MCT Berth #1
Ryan Wiebe: 2020-21 MCT Berth #2
Corey Chambers: 2021-22 CurlManitoba Bonspiel Berth #1
** CurlManitoba Bonspiel Berth #2 (added to regional qualifying)
Braden Calvert: 2021-22 MCT Berth #1 (Atkins Bonspiel)
TBD: 2021-22 MCT Berth #2 (MCT Champion)
TBD: 2021-22 MCT Berth #3 (Hi Points after DEKALB Spiel)
TBD: 2021-22 MCT Berth #4 (Hi Points after DEKALB Spiel)
TBD: 2021-22 Brandon Bonspiel Berth
TBD: 2021-22 Manitoba Open Bonspiel Berth #1
TBD: 2021-22 Manitoba Open Bonspiel Berth #2
TBD: 2021-22 Manitoba Open Bonspiel Berth #3

GOOD RESPONSE FOR PEMBINA’S LEARN TO CURL

Sunday was another good day at the Pembina Curling Club. It was this season’s second fall Learn to Curl session day at the club which is preparing to celebrate its 75th anniversary next year.

Club President Gord MacKay says the club has made a real effort in recent years to get new people in the facility through their Learn to Curl programs. In late October, there were 70 people in attendance. For this day in mid-November, they had pre-registered 96 participants scheduled to go on the ice in three groups of 32 each.

A busy day – Pembina President Gord MacKay also won the Bob Picken Masters Bonspiel Sunday, playing third for Lionel Walz

As MacKay watched the first session on the ice, he acknowledged that only 20 had showed up and speculated that the arrival of Winnipeg’s winter on the weekend may have discouraged some from attending.

By the end of the day, 19 people had attended session two and 25 were there for session three – a total of 64 people, most of them stepping on the curling ice for the first time. “Pretty darn good,” he said.

The three session instructors included Christine MacKay – a recently successful junior & Scotties level curler who has stepped back from competition while she focuses on her education; Lisa McLeod – a Pembina youth program graduate and successful competitive player hoping to qualify on the coming weekend for the 2021 Scotties; and Rick Sproule – a club past-president & Honourary Life Member and good club level curler. They focused on exposure to the game and  technical instruction suitable to the age of the group of people they were supervising.

In conversation, MacKay emphasized the importance of getting new people into our curling facilities. He knows one session won’t turn them into curlers but that it can excite them about the sport as something that may interest them.

He suggests it isn’t hard to get people to come to the club for the experience of one Learn to Curl session. “The real challenge is figuring out how we can get them to become active participants in the club,” he says.

Pembina’s next effort begins with what they call their five-week miniseries – a fairly short commitment for the individuals but long enough to give them a taste of regular participation in the sport. The miniseries are offered at different times on weekends and weekday evening.

The Learn to Curl initiative began at Pembina in 2015. Perhaps not surprisingly the best response was for a February event in 2018 when excitement from the Olympics was an important factor. They’ll be gearing up again for a February program after the 2022 Olympics but there is a downside in the fact that there is little time left to the Winnipeg curling season after February and giving them that immediate experience is important.

The club has also learned that promotion of the Learn to Curl sessions can be quite inexpensive. “For October we advertised on social media – twitter, facebook, the club website,” he explained. “For this November session, we had the added benefit of exposure on a CTV Morning Live feature.”

He notes that the response came from significantly different demographic groups. For October, the response was a very high percentage of new-Canadian Asian families, a group which curling organizers everywhere would like to encourage into the sport. For November, there was a much higher percentage from the traditional curling market group – another experience to be learned from, he suggests.

Asked if the participants in the sessions are mainly from the immediate area of the Pembina Curling Club, Gord MacKay says he suspects a very high percentage is but he isn’t particularly concerned about it.

He is Pembina‘s President this year but he is also a lifetime curling supporter. If his club’s efforts to introduce curling to new people turns into possible future curlers in other city facilities, he is perfectly OK with that.

QUEBEC WINS CANADIAN MIXED; MANITOBA 5W-5L

Quebec’s Jean-Michel Menard and his team will represent Canada at the next World Mixed Championship after winning the Canadian Mixed in Canmore, AB. Quebec defeated Ontario’s Michael McLean 5-4 in the final.

In the semi-finals, Quebec had beaten NWT’s Jamie Koe team 6-4 while Ontario was a 6-5 winner over New Brunswick’s James Grattan team. Koe beat Grattan 8-3 for the Bronze Medal.

Koe finsihed the championship round with a 9W-1L record while McLean, Grattan and Meanrd all had 7W-3L records.

Alex Forrest and his Manitoba team completed play with an even 5W-5L record. Having finished the first round of play at 3W-3L, they needed a sweep of the four championship pool games but lost to both Ontario and New Brunswick in those cross-over games against teams who played the first round in the other first-round pool.

(November 10) TEAM MANITOBA INTO CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND AT CANADIAN MIXED …. Manitoba’s Alex Forrest Team finished the opening round of play at the Canadian Mixed in Canmore, AB with a 3W-3L record, just good enough to advance to the championship round.

Curling Canada Photo: Team Manitoba in Canmore (l-r) Alex Forrest, Brandi Forrest, Tyler Forrest, Darcy Forrest

Team Forrest will have to go unbeaten in their next four games to have any real hope of moving on to the 4-team Page Playoff round. Four teams moved forward with 5W-1L record, three had 4W-2L records, and Manitoba’s Forrest is the eighth ranked team at 3W-3L.

In this second round of play, teams cross over and play the four teams from the other pool – with wins and losses added to the record brought forward.

Manitoba has already played three of the 5W-1L teams: Northern Ontario, Quebec, and Northwest Territories. So the hope for advancement depends on Manitoba going unbeaten against the four cross-over teams while the three all dominate, allowing Alex Forrest and his team to take the fourth and final playoff spot.

First up is Ontario who also have a 5W-1L record. That game is scheduled for 3PM (CST) today. Games at 8PM today and 3PM & 8PM Friday against Saskatchewan, BC, and New Brunswick. All three advanced with 4W-2L records.

MANITOBANS EARN TRIP TO WORLD DEAF CURLING CHAMPIONSHIPS

GOLD MEDAL: Team LaVallee/Manitoba

The Canadian Deaf Curling Championships, featuring both a men’s competition and a mixed doubles competition, were played this weekend at Morris with a pair of Manitoba Men’s teams meeting in the championship final. The Cargill Curling Training Centre in Morris is the Official Training Centre of the Canadian Deaf Curling Program.

 The gold medal, and the chance to represent Canada at the World Deaf Curling Championship in March in Banff, was won by Ross LaVallee (Shawn Demianyk, Kayle Miller, Brian Broszeit, Coach Lorne Hamblin). Team Lavalle was one up coming home with last rock and marked up the victory over Joe Comte’s foursome (Bill Kluchnik, Chris Stewart, Cam Hurst, Coach Chris Hamblin). The two teams had finished the round-robin with identical 3W-1L records but Team LaVallee was awarded the first place bye to the final thanks to a win over Team Comte. Team Comte defeated a British Columbia team (Craig Waldbillig, David Johnson, Frank Chung, Alnoor Mitha, fifth John Sigurdson) in the semi-final.

GOLD MEDAL: Michael Austria/Manitoba & Sally Korol/Alberta

In the Mixed Doubles competition, which is new to the Deaf Curling Program, the winning team was Albertan Sally Korol and Manitoban Michael Austria. They too will have the opportunity to represent Canada in Banff. Their gold medal win came over Emma Logan/Nova Scotia & Frank Chung/BC. The Bronze Medal was won by Hannah Brown/Manitoba & Calvin Novak/Alberta.

Due to limited entries, there was no Women’s competition this year. A team has been selected by the Canadian Deaf Curling Association to represent Canada at the World event.  Emma Logan (NS) will be the skip with Holly Maschmeyer (Alberta) at second. Manitobans Hannah Brown and Susanne Beriault are the third and lead respectively.

Picken ‘Spiel Committee Supports New Inter-Club Youth League

By coincidence of timing, the final games of the 2021 Bob Picken Masters Bonspiel ended about an hour before the launch of a new Inter-Club Youth League, sponsored in part by the Picken Bonspiel committee and named in hour of the curling broadcast legend.

The Bob Picken Legacy Inter-Club Youth League is a pilot project of CurlManitoba involving the junior leagues at Fort Garry, Pembina, La Salle, Elmwood and Assiniboine Memorial.

In explaining the objectives of the league to the 32 young curlers assembled at Fort Garry for the first games, CurlManitoba’s Rob Gordon said the organizers want young curlers to experience curling outside their own curling club.

“Travelling to other clubs, experiencing different ice conditions, and playing against new people are all part of learning about and enjoying the sport of curling,” Gordon said.

Two teams from each junior program will participate on five different weekends with the two teams from each program playing the two teams from another club. Midway through each two hour session, the teams will swap ice in order to allow for a fresh start and to play on a different sheet of ice.

Although a slight modification in schedule will be required when the league visits La Salle’s three-sheet facility, the intent is that all the teams will play each time the teams get together.

Gordon expects that some of the teams will represent their club each time while there may be more than two teams involved in a rotation from other clubs.

At the start of the final day of play in the Bob Picken Masters Bonspiel, when told of the plans for the Inter-Club Youth League, the players competing at the Thistle Curling Club gave resounding support for this new initiative as a very appropriate way to invest some of the proceeds from the annual Bob Picken-Valour Road Masters Bonspiel at Thistle.

The Masters age curlers playing in the bonspiel recognize they are competing with and beside competitors and friends gained over a lifetime on the curling ice, playing in their own clubs and visiting other clubs for bonspiels and inter-club play. In essence, it is a ‘passing of the torch’ with the older curlers finding a way to help our youth discover the fellowship that develops through friendly competition.