The 2023 Manitoba Open Bonspiel wrapped up Monday evening with event finals at Fort Garry and Charleswood Curling Clubs.
The ASHAM championship final game pitted Andrew Irving (Fort Rouge) against Justin Reynolds (Winnipeg Beach). It was all that could be asked for in the final game of the 133rd incarnation of the world’s oldest and largest bonspiel.
The game was tied 2-2 after four ends and, after a pair of Reynolds blank ends followed by a deuce, Reynolds led 4-2 coming home. The Irving team got two behind a corner guard and Reynolds was about four inches short on a freeze, allowing Irving a last shot draw for three and victory. He slid deep and the game went to an extra end.
With his last rock on the ninth, Reynolds threw a hit past a guard, facing two. He had to roll an inch to the centre line but rolled just that much to the outside, leaving Irving a steal and a 5-4 victory for Andrew Irving, Brad Van Walleghem, Ronan Gueret, Roy Janz, and Alex Forrest.
NOTT AUTOCORP FINAL – Josh Drews (Merrimack Valley) led Richard Muntain (Granite) 5-1 after four. The game ended in favour of the Drews foursome when the teams traded deuces in a 7-3, 6-end final result.
ORIGINAL 16 FINAL – Sean Grassie (Deer Lodge) jumped out to a 3 point lead after the opening end but Joey Witherspoon (Assiniboine Memorial) fought back to tie after 5 ends. Grassie was up 4-3 coming home but faced two with his final rock. He made a delicate hit and roll behind cover, forcing Witherspoon to draw for a single but he slid an inch too deep and Grassie stole a 5-3 win.
Before the final games began, it was possible to confirm the three Viterra Championship berth winners. The two ASHAM finalists were both potential berth recipients. However, the Andrew Irving foursome had knowingly played the last few games with an ineligible team. Justin Reynolds, Nick Weshnoweski, Josh Maisey, Sean Giesbrecht, Dan LeBlanc were awarded the berth as ASHAM event finalist.
That meant two berths were available for the most advanced eligible teams in the NOTT AUTCORP and ORIGINAL 16 events. The Josh Drews team (Merrimack Valley, New Hampshire) was ineligible and Sean Grassie (Deer Lodge) had already won a berth. Therefore, the last two Viterra berths went to Richard Muntain’s Granite team (Dean Dunstone, Al Purdy, Bruce Wyche) and Joey Witherspoon and his Assiniboine Memorial team (Taylor McIntyre, Derek Blanchard, Trevor Calvert).
In December, Reynolds had played in the East Regional playoff and lost both the “A” and the “B” qualifying games while Muntain had missed qualifying through the Winnipeg Regional playoff.
Witherspoon, who was a 2010 Junior Champion at third for Alex Forrest, is originally from Carberry and provides another local attraction for the Neepawa host committee.
In the other Manitoba Open Bonspiel Event Finals:
ATKINS: Jesse McCullough (Fort Garry) 7-4 over Norma Purdy (St. Vital) MANITOBA HYDRO: Andrew Wickman (Fort Rouge) 7-3 over Shaun Parsons (Burntwood) DYNASTY: Darryl Friesen (St. Vital) 8-0 over Evan Gillies (Morden) BITUMINEX PAVING: Adam Minor (AMCC) 8-1 over Rod Cruz (Heather) MANITOBA PORK: Ken Stanley (St. Vital) 6-2 over Bryce McEwen (Granite) CURLMANITOBA: Steve Michaleski (Morris) 5-3 over Corey Boisevert (Granite) MCMUNN & YATES: Dan Birchard (Pembina) 5-2 over Craig Nichol (Stonewall) SPORT MANITOBA: Fernando Requiema (West St. Paul) 10-2 over Timothy Friesen (East St. Paul)
The CurlManitoba TELUS Junior Championships begin Tuesday evening at the Portage Curling Club with 11 Junior Women’s team and 10 Junior Men’s teams competing for the coveted Manitoba championship and a berth in the national championship.
Based on recent past performance at the national championships, Manitoba will have two berths again in 2023 so the two teams in the championship final games will both earn national berths.
The top three teams in the Manitoba Junior Curling Tour rankings are the top three seeds in the Telus Junior Men’s while three of the four top-ranked MJCT teams are the top three seeds in the TELUS Junior Women’s.
#1 SEED: Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge) Reece Hamm, Elias Huminicki, Cam Olafson, Coach Blaine Malo – the defending champion team with one change from a year ago, Cam Olafson replacing Alexandre Fontaine. McDonald has a long record of success in his young career: 2019-2020-2022 U-18 champion, 2022 Viterra Berth winner and this year’s juniors’ team has also won a 2023 Viterra Berth. The #2 ranked MJCT team also won the end-of-season MJCT Championship (over Freeman)
#2 SEED: Jace Freeman (Virden) Thomas McGillivary, Ryan Ostrowsky, Aaron Macdonell, Coach Graham Freeman – the Virden skip has already this season skipped winning teams in CurlManitoba’s Canada Games Trials and the U-18 Championship (with Huminicki on both teams). This junior team has also won a Viterra Berth for this year. Lead Aaron Macdonell will also go to the Canada Games as Mixed Doubles winner. The team finished the MJCT season ranked #1
#3 SEED Aaron Van Ryssel (Springfield) Riel Dufault, Jonah Peterson, Andrew McKay, Coach Ron Westcott – the MJCT #3 team won one MJCT event (over Freeman) and lost a final (to McDonald) and gained valuable experience by playing in Viterra regional playoffs.
#1 SEED: Katy Lukowich (Granite), Lauren Rajala, Mikaylah Lyburn, Makenna Hadway, Coach Mark Lukowich – already a Scotties berth winner this season, the Lukowich foursome will go direct from Portage to the Scotties in East St. Paul They were the winners of one event and were the #2 ranked team on the MJCT this season
#2 SEED: Zoey Terrick (Heather) Jaycee Terrick, Jensen Letham, Tessa Terrick, Coach Clint Cullen – Zoey and Tess Terrick were CurlManitoba’s U-18 champions in 2022. They were the #1 ranked MJCT team this season as a result of three event wins, including the season ending MJCT championship (over Beaudry)
#3 SEED: Grace Beaudry (St. Vital), Emily Ogg, Maddy Hollins, Mackenzie Arbuckle, Julia Millan, Coach Calvin Edie – also a Scotties regional berth winner, Grace Beaudry has had finalist finishes (with a different team) in both the U-18 championships and the Canada Games Trials already this season. They are the #2 ranked team on the MJCT as a result of winning a pair of events along with the Tour Championship finalist finish.
The Junior Men will play a round-robin format with two pools of five teams and a 4-team Page Playoff while the 11 team Junior Women’s event will be a triple knockout, also with a 4-team Page Playoff.
Competition begins at the Portage Curling Club Tuesday, January 17 at 7:30PM with the first Junior Women’s draw. Junior Men’s play begins Wednesday, January 18 at 10AM.
Two games on each draw will be livestreamed, one with commentary and one without. The CurlManitoba TELUS Juniors live-stream can be found at CurlManitoba YouTube page.
As I travelled the city, I encountered curling friends unseen for a couple of years – the truly important aspect of the Manitoba Open. When logical the question – IF you get to that point is your team eligible and will you accept a Viterra invitation. Not surprising, mostly NO to the first, often NO to the second.
David & Dennis Bohn playing for old times sake with Larry Solomon and a team from years past. Yes, we’re eligible – Maybe we’d go I wonder when that decision has to be made.
Trevor Loreth’s team – Not likely, other plans.
An email late yesterday afternoon about an expected POWER OUTAGE has warned everyone they can’t check the updated draws on the CurlManitoba website until after noon today – and a review of the ASHAM event situation (when last updated) is unhelpful
The semi-finals of that event will be played at noon today. The wins are not marked – but the last eight names provide little insight.
Larry Weatherburn vs Andrew Irving (Irving had already told me – no Viterra in their plans). Larry Weatherburn from Eriksdale probably travels more miles to curl than any Manitoba curler – he plays for a great love of the game, but I’d bet he’d love to be the oldest guy in the Viterra.
The Beach Boys (Winnipeg Beach) vs Keough of the Lodge – who knows!
Team TEAM (Pembina) vs Bohn (AMCC) – tough to know what to think of a team calling themselves TEAM, see above for notes on Bohn
Dawn Patrol (Merrimack Valley) vs Van Ryssel (Springfield) – Merrimack Valley is in New Hampshire, I believe, so no Viterra invitation for them. Van Ryssel (probably, but can’t be sure) a junior team tuning up for the TELUS Juniors starting Thursday. If I have the right team, they played Viterra zones so they’re eligible. Do you suppose there is any intimidation value going to juniors after winning a Viterra berth or even the bonspiel championship? BUT I don’t even know if they won last night. So we’ll check the draw later.
That last note reminds of the story from 1958-59. I wasn’t there ( I was only 10 years old) but the story goes that Jack Van Hellemond played the High School Bonspiel wearing the Brier Purple Heart he had won the season before when he lost the Brier final with Terry Braunstein. That could be intimidating!.
(FRIDAY Late update)MANITOBA OPEN ‘SPIEL NOT QUITE AT THE “WHO’S CHASING BERTHS” STAGE …. The Manitoba Open Spiel got underway Thursday evening and has been running all day today – a few glitches no doubt but the clubs are full or partly full, at least, depending upon the game schedule as the “draw-room” tries to fairly share the games among the participating clubs. That itself is no small challenge.
I thought it time to sign-on here at thecurler.com! I have been posting through these first two days on Instagram (thecurlerdotcom) and facebook (thecurler). This afternoon, however, one of my regular readers asked if I had quit updating here.
No, I have not – its is just a difference in my approach here compared to those other two more immediate outlets.
In my social media feeds I have talked abut Caesars and about two pretty good teams who beat us today in an average of five ends each game – and about the team last evening who we caught by surprise in an 8th end win.
This space is reserved mostly for the more traditional curling sports coverage of the bonspiel – who is chasing the Viterra Championship berths.
There are three spots to fill in Neepawa. Until sometime Sunday, that story won’t begin to really develop.
And there are increasingly interesting challenges to this reporting. A big one is the new trend for teams to self-identify in some strange-but-fun way. For example is a team named SNOWFLAKE & THE OUTTURNS likely to be chasing a Viterra berth. My instinct is that you’d say – not likely.
However, what if I told you the Snowflake (at least I assume he is the Snowflake) is Scott Furevick – at one time a pretty competitive provincial men’s level guy who also had Manitoba Senior Men’s appearances before he moved to BC. Now do you wonder if he is just here for fun or is he chasing a berth? In this case, I know that his Fort Rouge team, including President Erik Wallace, confirmed eligibility before the start of play – just in case. (Scott would be eligible as a qualified import and I suspect also as a birthright player).
Too early to worry about it however, as they played an Original 16 event game Friday late against another team I suspect is interested in a Viterra berth – Trevor Loreth’s Granite team. These guys made a deep run at the provincial men’s a few years back – before the won the Club Champions Championship. I say I suspect they would want a Viterra berth – but I don’t know.
I thought Andrew Irving would probably be interested in a berth so I asked when we played them early Friday – a good team with championship credentials. Nope – not interested this year – we can’t go if we did win a berth.
You might look at the draw and say – Micheal Coutts, what about him. As a dad but also an observer I can tell you these guys are good enough – a team like them is often one of the teams that wins a berth through the bonspiel. They are decent club curlers and there is always a team that just gets hot this week. They are one of maybe 100 similar teams in the spiel – but at some point you have to ask – are they eligible? They are – right up to the moment the lead has to leave Sunday afternoon for a work commitment and dad joins the team throwing with a stick. I don’t hurt their chances of winning – it is just that the stick automatically makes them ineligible…..and please don’t read that negatively – I absolutely agree with that policy!
My point should be obvious by now – there will be some bonspiel coverage here soon but first I have to figure out a few things. Like who are FAST FREDDY & THE 3 STOOGES (Granite) , ROYAL HOTEL ALUMNI (Arborg) and PCC PARALYZERS (Pembina) still alive Friday late in Original 16.
There is also a need to to confirm eligibility for such as former champion Mark Lukowich (Ft Rouge) still undefeated playing the late Friday Asham draw. Or how about Team Bohn (AMCC) – is this David/Dennis or both – the Bohn name hasn’t been high profile in recent years but it is a name to automatically register in the Viterra berth discussion – if in fact it is them and if in fact they are eligible.
It will be fun watching those last few draws as the 3 Viterra berths and the bonspiel event winners are determined – in the meantime, the fun is in the curling, the visits to the clubs, the visits with old curling friends we have not seen in too long!
*** Pictured in various combinations above: my team is skipped by Harold Hamilton and includes Norm Magnusson, Willie Friesen and Bill Biehl. Guys, it is a privilege to be playing with you – Resby
Dayna Wahl (Altona) and Jace Freeman (Virden) have won the Asham CurlManitoba U-18 Championships in Altona. Earlier this season, the same two teams had won the CurlManitoba Canada Games Trials – meaning they’ll play as Team Manitoba at the National U-18 Championship in Timmins,ON in early February and the Canada Games in Summerside PEI with only a week between.
Freeman needed an extra end to beat Ronan Peterson and his Heather team, set up when Peterson w=made a delicate last shot tap back shot to score two on the home end.
Wahl’s victory was one of patience. After a missed blank on the first end, forced to take one, Wahl was down 2-1 after two and blanked the next three ends. On the sixth they got the miss they needed – and ultimately scored a three, missing on a ;split’ opportunity for 4. The two point lead after six ends was good enough. Grace Beaudry’s St Vital team elected to take one on the seventh but couldn’t build the steal on the 8th.
(Saturday, 11:30AM)U-18 SEMIFINAL SUMMARY….The top seeds in the Asham U-18 men’s and women’s competitions will face off in the championship games.
Women’s #1 seed Grace Beaudry (St. Vital), in an extra end over Shaela Hayward (Carman, and Men’s #2 seed Ronan Peterson (Heather), with a win over Zach Norris, advanced from the morning semifinals.
They’ll play Women’s #2 Dayna Wahl (Altona) and Men’s #1 Jace Freeman (Virden) in the 1PM final games. With a 5W-1L record, Freeman had earned the bye to the final in the 3-team Men’s playoff. Wahl had defeated Beaudry in the extra end Page 1 vs 1 playoff game Friday evening.
All four teams have already earned invitations to compete at the nationals in early February in Timmins, ON
The big prize in the afternoon game is the pride of being Manitoba champion and Team Manitoba at the national championship.
UPDATE: Friday 10:30PM) Altona’s Dayna Wahl team, already winners of Manitoba’s Canada Games berth, have advanced to the final of the Asham U-18 Championship being played in their hometown club. By reaching the final, they have also won the first of two Manitoba invitations to the U-18 nationals in Timmons, ON. In February.
Team Wahl defeated previously unbeaten Grace Beaudry (St. Vital) in the 1 vs 1 playoff game, scoring three on the seventh end and winning with a point on an extra end.
In the 2vs 2 playoff game, Shaela Hayward’s Carman team defeated Karys Buchalter (West St. Paul) to advance to the Saturday morning semifinal against Beaudry.
The winner of the semi-final, by advancing to the final game, will win the second of two Manitoba entry in the national championship.
If you’re inclined to ask – so why play the final game? – the answer is quite simple. The Manitoba Championship is on the line. The champions go to Timmins as Team Manitoba while the loser will be identified as a Wild Card entry from Manitoba. For Team Wahl, there is also the quest to follow in the footsteps of another local team, the Mackenzie Zacharias team which won this same championship as a stepping stone in the ascent to the pinnacle of curling when they won the World Juniors a few short years later.
(Friday 4:30PM)PLAYOFFS SET IN ASHAM U-18 WOMEN`S CHAMPIONSHIP …….One unbeaten team and three with 3W-1L records will advance to the playoff round of the Asham CurlManitoba U-18 Women`s Championship in Altona.
One team with a 3W-1L record misses the playoffs based on the event`s accumulated pre-game draw-to-the-button scores, the now standard tie-breaker formula.
With a 4W-0L record, Grace Beaudry (St. Vital) has the only unbeaten team. In their final round robin game, the St. Vital team needed an extra end to beat Julia Van Ryssel (Springfield) who had scored three coming home to tie.
Beaudry is followed in second place by Karys Buchalter (West St. Paul) with a 3W-1L record. Van Ryssel finshes with a 2W-2L record in third place in the group.
The other pool ended in a three way tie for first. The three teams with 3W-1L records were Dauphin`s Team Benson, (skipped by Cloe Halushak) who had a last round bye, Shaela Haywrd (Carman) and Dayna Wahl (Altona).
A last round win by Hayward over Wahl created the logjam. Wahl earns first place in the pool with Hayward second and Benson third based on the tie-breaker process.
In their final games of the event. Bethany Allan (Granite), with a win over Liv Leadbeater (Swan River), and Rylie Buchalter (Heather), with a win over Meghan Lagadi (Pembina) earned their first victories.
The four team playoff in a Page format, has Beaudry against Wahl in the 1 vs 1 game. The winner advances to the final and earns the first invitation to the nationals in Timmins, ON. In the Page 2 vs 2 game, Hayward will play Karys Buchalter (West St. Paul) who had the last game bye and also finished at 3W-1L.
Jace Freeman (Virden) and his team won a pair of games Friday to earn the first place bye to the final in the Asham CurlManitoba U-18 Men`s Championship in Altona.
The wins over Nash Sugden (Morden) and Zach Norris (Morris) gave the Freeman team, which has already earned the right to represent Manitoba in the Canada Winter Games, a final record of 5W-1L. Along with the bye to the final, they also earned the first of two available invitations to attend the nationals in Timmins, ON in early February.
Norris had earlier won over Nathan Poklar (East St. Paul) so their final 4W-2L record earned them a spot in the Saturday morning semifinal against Ronan Peterson (Heather).
Norris finishes with a 4W-2L record, tied with Ronan Peterson (Heather) who had a last round bye. Peterson and Norris will meet in the semi-final Saturday morning.
Peterson won over Luke Robins (West St. Paul) on the morning draw and had the afternoon bye to finish with a 4W-2L record as well.
Colton Olafson (Portage) had a morning bye and chance to move into the 4W-2L tie but lost 8-4 to Luke Robins (West St. Paul) and finished 3W-3L, out of the playoffs.
Nash Sugden (Morden) also had a playoff chance when the day began but had to win two games on the final day. The Morden team earned a split with the loss to Freeman and a win over Nathan Poklar (East St. Paul).
The semi-final is at 9AM and the final at 1PM Saturday.
The stage is set for a dramatic final round of play in the Asham CurlManitoba U-18 Women’s Championship in Altona.
With a win and a bye today, Grace Beaudry (St. Vital) and Dayna Wahl (Altona) retained first place in the two pools with perfect 3W-0L records.
Two teams have completed their round robins with a pair of wins today. Dauphin’s Team Benson (skipped by Cloe Haluschak) and Karys Buchalter (West St. Paul) have second place in their pools with 3W-1L records.
In third place in the two pools are Shaela Hayward (Carman) and Julia Van Ryssel (Springfield). Both won their single game today to hold down third place with 2W-1L records.
The Friday drama arises from the first vs third matchup in both pools Friday afternoon. Beaudry plays Karys Buchalter while Wahl plays Team Hayward.
No matter the result, Wahl and Beaudry have locked up a share of first place in their pools. Wins, and a 4W-0L record mean the teams advance to the Page Playoff 1-1 game. Losses mean a 3W-1L record and wins by Hayward &/or Buchalter mean they will also be at 3W-1L records. The tiebreaker formulas would then come into play to determine the top two teams in the pools.
Losses by Hayward &/or Buchalter mean they finish at 2W-2L and out of the playoffs.
LATE DRAW: A stolen extra end 7-6 win by Dauphin’s Team Benson (skipped by Cloe Haluschak) over Rylie Buchalter and a 6-5 win by Karys Buchalter (West St. Paul) over Bethany Allen (Granite) gave the two winners 3W-1L records at the U18 championship in Altona.
NOON DRAW: Wins by Daya Wahl (Altona) and Grace Beaudry (St. Vital) on the noon draw at the Asham CurlManitoba U-18 Championship have improved their group leading records to 3W-0L. Dauphin’s Benson team (skipped by Cloe Haluschak) kept pace behind Walh while Karys Buchalter (West St. Paul) is also at 2W-1L, as the two also won their noon draw games.
Jace Freeman (Virden) and Zach Norris (Morris) lead the way in the Asham CurlManitoba U-18 Championship underway in Altona. The two teams both had byes on Thursday. They’ll start the day Friday sharing first place with 3W-1L records.
Right behind are Colton Olafson (Portage) and Ronan Peterson (Heather with 3W-2L records and only one game left to play.
Team Olafson had the best day Thursday, winning a pair of games to force themselves in to the playoff picture. A morning 7-6 win over Freeman was critical to the playoff hopes of all of the three win teams.
The Norris team won their one game Thursday, 6-5 over Nash Sugden (Morden) while Team Peterson split, beating beating Nathon Poklar (East St. Paul) but losing to Freeman.
Sugden bounced back on the late afternoon draw, scoring two on the 7th end and stealing one coming home to beat Luke Robins (West St. Paul). Sugden stays in the playoff chase with a 2W-2L record and two games to play tomorrow. Robins, at 1W-3L, will need a pair of wins and a lot of help from other teams to make the playoff round.
Sugden`s games Friday are against Freeman and the still winless Poklar team. Norris plays Poklar in the morning and Freeman in the afternoon.
Olafson and Peterson both have their bye game Friday and the last game for each is against 1W-3L Robins.
After playing Sugden in the morning, the final round robin draw tomorrow has Freeman playing Norris. It could be a first place game with a bye to the final and an invitation to the nationals on the line.
Jace Freeman (Virden), Zach Norris (Morris) and Ronan Peterson (Heather) have all completed the second day of play in the Asham CurlManitoba U-18 Men’s Championship with a pair of victories.
Freeman, who had a third round bye, leads the way with a perfect 2W-0L record. Norris and Peterson are both at 2W-1L after a third round game between the two, won by Peterson.
It was a critical win for Team Peterson, highly ranked coming into the event. They had lost their opener and needed to avoid a second loss this early in the event.
Peterson’s early Wednesday win over Colton Olafson (Portage) set up an evening match with unbeaten Zach Norris (Morris). Norris opened with a deuce but gave up 6 points over the next four ends to trail 6-2 in a 9-5 win for Peterson.
Key to the championship aspirations of both Peterson and Norris is the fact that both have yet to play Freeman.
The U-18 Men’s playoff will see the first place team advance to the final with second and third meeting in the semifinal. The two finalists will each win an invitation to compete in the nationals.
After two games on the first day of play in the Asham CurlManitoba U-18 Women’s Championship in Altona, the top two seeds have taken their expected place atop the two five-team pools.
Grace Beaudry (St. Vital) and Dayna Wahl (Altona) were the only teams to win their first two games.
Beaudry defeated the teams skipped by Liv Leadbeater (Swan River) and Karys Buchalter (West St. Paul) while Wahl’s wins came over Meghan Lagadi (Pembina) and Dauphin’s Team Benson (skipped by Cloe Haluschak.
Two teams in each pool had first day splits and it should be noted two teams in each pool had first day byes but all four lost their opening games.
In their only game Thursday, Team Beaudry will play one of the 0W-1L teams, Bethany Allan’s Granite team. Team Beaudry also has a bye Thursday, playing their only game against Rylie Buchalter and her Heather team.
While the first day’s results are not a guarantee of final standings they are a strong indicator of the challenge faced by all of the teams in subsequent games as they strive to earn one of the two playoff spots available in each pool.
There is a huge advantage to finishing first in each pool as the Women’s event will play a Page Playoff with the two first place teams meeting in the first round of playoffs. The winner goes to the final knowing they have already won one of two national invitations available. The loser has a second chance opportunity when they drop to the semifinal.