CANADIAN/MANITOBA CHAMPIONS HIGHLIGHT RED RIVER VALLEY SPIEL IN MORRIS

The first Red River Valley Stick Spiel is underway this afternoon at Curl Morris, with no fewer than five past national or provincial champion teams included in the 21-team field.

Three Canadian Champion teams include the current Canadian champions Fort Rouge curlers Norm Magnusson & Resby Coutts, Killarney’s Tom & Rae Campbell (2018), and Jim Rouse & Ross McMillan from Warren-Marquette (2015). St. Vital’s Warren Johnson (who won in 2012 with Earl Stephenson) and Carman’s Charlie McCullough (who won in 2010 with Ken Horton) will also compete in Morris.

Two competing teams have also won past Manitoba Stick Championships. Gwen Smith & Lynne Rehbein (East St. Paul) won the Manitoba Women’s title in 2020 while Ken & Shirley Strand (St.Vital) won the Manitoba Open title in 2018. Ross McMillan, in 2019, and Warren Johnson, in both 2017 and 2012) were members of Manitoba champion teams.

The competition will feature three seven team pools playing a six-game round robin Friday and Saturday, followed by an eight team playoff Sunday. Highlight challengers include Darren & Darrell Beach, the 2022 Canadian finalists from Regina and Canadian National Wheelchair team member Jamie Anseeuw, who will partner with fellow wheelchair-curler Mark Wherrett, representing Assiniboine Memorial.

Manitoba clubs represented in the event include Assiniboine Memorial, Carman, East St. Paul, Fort Rouge, Killarney, Marquette, Springfield, Stonewall, St. Vital, Warren, along with teams from the host Curl Morris.

Total prize value is over $1,500, including an entry in the Manitoba 2-person Stick Curling Championship to be played in Morris in February.

Two-person stick curling is one of the developments in the continuing evolution of different forms of the sport of curling. Established 20+ years ago, mainly as a social-recreational outlet for older curlers, interest in a more competitive stream is occurring parallel with unique Mixed Doubles and Wheelchair Curling competitions.

The Red River Valley Stick Spiel will be played in the “Open” format which is common and popular in this of the sport. Billed as gender, age and ability inclusive, Open 2-Person Stick events include Women, Men & Mixed teams, wheelchair and able-bodied curlers, and curlers of any age.

CHAMBERS TEAM 3W-5L AT CANADIAN MIXED WITH A GAME TO PLAY

Corey Chambers and his team have split their game on each of the last two days to post a 3W-5L record with one game left – against 2W-6L Yukon. That game is set for 4PM Friday.

Felix Asselin-Quebec (at 6W-1L), Scott McDonald-Ontario and Jamie Koe-NWT (both at 6W-2L) lead the way in the championship pool.

(TUESDAY, NOV. 8, 8:30PM) THIRD LOSS FOR CHAMBERS AT CANADIAN MIXED A single day Tuesday for Manitoba’s Team Chambers at the Canadian Mixed but a third consecutive loss. After opening the competition in Prince Alberta with a win, the Manitoba reps now have a 1W-3L record. The Tuesday loss came at the hands of former Canadian champion Paul Flemming (Nova Scotia) who improved to a 4W-1L record. Flemming is tied in the pool with another former champion, Trevor Bonot (Northern Ontario).

In the other pool, Quebec (Felix Asselin) leads the way with a 4W-0L record while Saskatchewan (Shaun Meachem) and New Brunswick both have a 3W-1L record.

(MONDAY, NOV.7, 10:30PM) 1W-2L START FOR CHAMBERS AT CANADIAN MIXED Corey Chambers and his Manitoba team opened with a victory Sunday at the Canadian Mixed in Prince Albert. A 7-6 win over Dennis Watts (PEI) gave the Manitobans the start they needed.

However, a two loss Monday has them at 1W-2L after three games. The Monday morning loss was to former champion Trevor Bonot (Northern Ontario) by an 8-4 score. Jamie Koe (NWT) defeated the Chambers foursome 6-3 on the evening draw.

(SUNDAY, NOV. 6, 4:30PM) Canadian Mixed Begins Today in Prince Albert: Corey Chambers and his team of Lisa McLeod, Nigel Milnes, and Jolene Callum (representing the Miami CC) kick-off their quest for a Canadian Mixed Championship at 6:00pm today in Prince Albert. Their first round opponent is Prince Edward Island’s Dennis Watts, winners of their opening match against Scott McDonald-Ontario.

Playing in a seven team pool, Team Chambers faces tough competition from the likes of former champions Trevor Bonot-Northern Ontario (2017) and Paul Flemming-Nova Scotia (2003 & 1999) and high profile competitors Scott McDonald-Ontario and Jamie Koe-NWT.

The last Manitoba team to win the Canadian Mixed was skipped by Colin Kurz who, with Meghan Walter, Brendan Bilawka, and Sara Oliver, won Manitoba’s first, and to date only, World Mixed Championship

The previous Manitoba team to win it all was Sean Grassie’s 2009 team. Prior to that Manitoba teams had not won a Mixed since Jeff Stoughton did it in 1991.

The Stoughton teams had no opportunity to play a World Mixed. Grassie & Alli Nimik won Canada’s first World Mixed Doubles medals when they won the bronze medals that year.

PEMBINA SET TO HOST CANADIAN MASTERS

Twenty-six curling teams from across Canada will be at Winnipeg’s Pembina Curling Club November 13-20 for the first Masters national championship events to be played in Winnipeg since 2011.

The COVID-delayed Canadian Masters Men’s & Women’s Championships, for curlers age 60 and better, will feature the best in the age group from 13 provinces and territories on the men’s side and 11 provinces and territories on the women’s side. To ensure an even draw, in keeping with the event’s traditions, Manitoba will have both a provincial representative and a host team entry.

The teams roster list is full of individuals and teams with extensive curling resumes ranging right back to juniors (underlining the age of the players is the fact that juniors is referred to in some of the biographies as ‘school-boys’). Every team has many past provincial championships to boast but a few of the players stand-out for their national and world championship credentials.

Leading this list is Al Hackner, the Northern Ontario skip who won the 1982 Brier in Brandon and went on to win the world championship. He repeated the double in 1985. He followed those wins with Canadian Senior (2006) and Masters (2017) championships. His teammates Eric Harnden, Frank Morissette, and Bruce Munro were all part of that 2017 Masters championship team.

The Alberta men’s front end of Randy Ponich and Wilf Edgar were both members of the 2013 Canadian Senior champion and World Gold medal winning Senior Men’s team. On the women’s side, Ontario skip Jan Carwardine won the Canadian Senior Women’s title in 2007.

In addition to the Hackner team, there are four past Masters champions in the competition. Alberta men’s skip Mickey Pendergast won gold in 2018 and repeated in 2019. The Saskatchewan Women’s team has three past champions in the line-up – skip Beverly Krasowski (2019), second Linda Delver (2012, 2014 & 2016), and lead Trudy Dykes (2016).

Manitoba’s four teams include provincial Masters champions Murray Warren-Brandon (Brian Barker, Reg Warren, Terry Warren, alternate Gary Barker) and East St. Paul’s Judy Colwell (Wendy Nykoluk, Donna Smiley, Leslie Brown, alternate Debbie Palson). The Manitoba host teams are Sandra Cowling-Hamiota (Sheila Gregory, Jackie Brooks, Jeannine Skayman, alternate Wenda Turner) and Mark Franklin-Granite (Jamie Hay, Barry Campbell, Greg Ziemanski, alternate Blair Smith).

The teams will arrive in Winnipeg for practice on Sunday, November 13 with opening ceremonies scheduled that evening at 7:00PM. The first games will go on the ice at 8:30AM on Monday with four draws a day through the week. The playoff schedule has semi-finals at 2PM Saturday and the finals and bronze medal games at 10:00AM Sunday followed by closing ceremonies.

Joyce McDougall and her team won the Canadian Masters championship at Assiniboine Memorial in 2011. Manitobans have won Canadian Men’s Masters titles on six previous occasions: Barry Fry (2001-Winnipeg), Ken Grove (2002-Medicine Hat), Martin Bailey (2004-Kelowna), Doug Armour (2005-Brandon), Ray Orr (2009-Saskatoon), and Ron Westcott (2015-Whitehorse).

Event passes ($50.00), daily passes ($10.00) and tickets for each draw ($5.00) will be available at the Pembina Curling Club (1341 Pembina Hwy).  for other event details, go to https://pembinacc.com/

Peterson, Marnoch Join McDonald in Winning Minnedosa’s Provincial Berths

Neepawa’s Viterra Championship host committee was a winner before the second berth game began today in Minnedosa. Either Kelly Marnoch would be bringing Carberry fans to Neepawa OR Jeff Stewart would be bringing Gladstone fans – a definite win to have a “local” team in the field so early, opening up possibilities of one extra local team later on.

And it was Kelly Marnoch (fourth Bart Witherspoon, Branden Jorgenson, Dean Smith) who earned the berth, joining Jordon McDonald’s Deer Lodge team who had beaten Marnoch earlier in the day to win the first available berth.

The interesting play was almost all at the away end of the rink!

With a string of stones in play up the centre line, and three biting the button, Marnoch played the last stones of the fifth end as if he had two counters. When Stewart’s team was unable to move them, the measuring stick came out and Marnoch was proven correct.

However, the game was won on the seventh end – a completely different end from the fifth. Facing four Stewart counters, Marnoch’s fourth shooter Bart Witherspoon made a triple kill and rolled to count a single point. Up 4-2 at that point, the lead help up. Marnoch led 5-3 coming home.

But – proving he could also throw the delicate shot, Witherspoon broke the Gladstone team’s hearts with an angle tap from the front of the eight foot to the button, nestled against Stewart’s shot stone – leaving Stewart nothing but an unlikely double-angle, double-raise backward through a port. Final score, Marnoch over Stewart 6-3.

In the Scotties Berth event, Beth Peterson’s Assiniboine Memorial team (Jenna Loder, Katherine Doerksen, Melissa Gordon, alternate Robyn Njegovan) won the invitation to compete in the provincial Scotties at East St. Paul in late January.

As top seed, the team had a first round bye in the 7-team ‘spiel and needed to win only three games to earn their provincial entry.

The final, against Abby Ackland’s AMCC team was tied at two after three ends but a Peterson hit through a port scored a three on the fourth end and Team Peterson clogged the centre of the rings on the fifth, scoring another big end and concession.

Earlier in the day, Peterson had beaten Ackland to advance to the final while Ackland had to win over Grace Beaudry to move on to their third game of the day.

Team Peterson joins the defending champion Mackenzie Zacharias team (with Jennifer Jones added to the line-up) as the first two teams in the 12 team provincial Scotties field.

MCDONALD TEAM WINS FIRST VITERRA BERTH OF THE SEASON

Jordon McDonald, a twice Manitoba champion skip last year, and his young Deer Lodge team have won the first Viterra Championship berth of the season.

(r-l) McDonald, Reece Hamm, Elias Huminicki, Cam Olafson, Coach Blaine Malo defeated Kelly Marnoch (Carberry) in eight ends today in Minnedosa to win the first of two men’s championship berths available this weekend.

An early key shot came from the left hand of third Reece Hamm. The teams had traded singles after a blank first end. With McDonald holding the hammer, Marnoch had half buried his own stone fully in the 8-ft circle behind one of his own stones. Hamm’s runback was perfect, removing the Marnoch counter and guard and they went on to score a deuce. The two opint lead at that point allowed the Deer Lodge team to dictate play and singles in ends 5 and 6 provided a 4-point lead; not insurmountable in some games but today it was.

The McDonald team includes half of both of the young Deer Lodge skip’s TWO champion teams from last season. With Hamm and Huminicki (and Alexandre Fontaine) Team McDonald won the U-18 title and with Huminicki and Olafson (and Jace Freeman) Team McDonald won the U-21 title. McDonald and Hamm (with Huminicki as team alternate) also posted a respectable 2W-2L in last year’s Viterra Championship in Selkirk, winning two before losing back to back qualifying games.

The Marnoch team has a second chance today. A second berth game will pit them against Jeff Stewart (Gladstone) who defeated Jay Kinnaird (Virden) to advance to the berth game.

Trailing by two playing end #8, Kinnaird came oh-so-close on an attempted highlight reel double kill. His hit on a rock in the back eight foot – jumped straight sideways and contacted an opposition stone frozen to the face of his own stone in the back of the rings. He moved it but not far enough and scored only two to tie. Kinnaird stole one on end #9 to lead coming home but a last stone guard overcurled, allowing Stewart a hit on the button without having to stick. He made the shot for two and the win.

In the Scotties berth bonspiel, Beth Peterson (AMCC) will play Abby Ackland (AMCC) for the first provincial Scotties berth to be earned this fall. Both games are scheduled for 6PM in Minnedosa.

ALTONA, VIRDEN TEAMS WIN CANADA GAMES TRIALS

Manitoba will be represented by a pair of rural based curling teams at the 2023 Canada Games. Altona’s Dayna Wahl team and Virden’s Jace Freeman team will join the larger Team Manitoba at the 2023 Games.

Team Wahl (Piper Stoesz, AnnaMarie Ginters, Gillian Hildebrand and Coach Keith Stoesz) stole two coming home to defeat Shaela Hayward’s Carman team 6-5 in the Trials final today at Heather. Down 4-1 at the midgame break, Team Wahl outscored the Carman foursome 5-1 through the second half.

Skip Dayna Wahl threw her last stone tight past a rock in the top 12 foot to stop full in the eight foot in front of her shot stone in the four foot circle. Hayward needed to bite the button to win or the four foot to tie but was just short on the attempt.

For Freeman (Elias Huminicki, Jack Steski, Rylan Graham, and Coach Graham Freeman) it took a last stone takeout to end a comeback attempt by Heather’s Ronan Peterson who had scored singles on ends 6 & 7 to trail by one coming home. The final score was 7-5.

A four on the fifth end gave Freeman a 6-3 lead but Team Peterson controlled each of the next two ends to trail by one coming home. Peterson’s last stone draw to the foot was a bit deep and overcurled to be mostly open, allowing Freeman to hit with the luxury of having second shot rock if he rolled out.

The Canada Games will be played in Prince Edward Island in February, 2023

PEMBINA TEAMS WIN MANITOBA’S CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS

Pembina Curling Club has won its first TWO Manitoba Club Championships. Pembina teams skipped by Lisa Birchard and Zach Wasylik both Nature’s Bounty Club Championships today at Charleswood.

Team Birchard (Kelsey Meger, Breanne Yozenko, Ciara Okumura, alternate Jenessa Rutter) was in control from the second end today when they scored a four against Fort Rouge’s Team Roche, skipped by Kristin Macdonnell.

The men’s game went to the final stone with Wasylik making a last shot hit to score a pair for a 5-4 victory. Wasylik (Jack Hykaway, Josh Harding, Graham Normand, and alternate Andrew Peck) had given up two on the seventh to Richard Muntain-St Vital and the eighth was set up for a force. Wasylik, who now admits greater appreciation for the skips he played for, calmed his nerves on a first shot draw shot stone nearly buried in the side of the eight foot circle. Muntain tried to follow but rubbed and rolled open to leave the hit for the win.

The national club champions event will be played in the West Edmonton Mall ice rink in late November.

Prior to today, Pembina Curling Club teams had never won the Manitoba Club Championships. It is another highlight for the club which has already had a 75th anniversary gala and will, in two weeks time, host the Canadian Masters Championships.

PEMBINA HAS TWO CHANCES TO WIN CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS

The final games are set in the Nature’s Bounty Club Championships at Charleswood.

On the men’s side Richard Muntain-St. Vital will play Zach Wasylik-Pembina.

Muntain advanced with a semi-final win over three-time former champ Andrew Wickman-Ft. Rouge. Tied playing the seventh end, and a house-full of rocks in play, it came to a measure which both teams hoped to lose to retain hammer coming home. The point went to Wickman and Muntain had last rock which he used for a nose hit double kill for two and a 6-5 victory.

Wasylik, a Manitoba Junior champion in 2020 with Brett Walter beat Manitoba Senior champion and former world senior silver medallist Randy Neufeld-La Salle with a four and a three en route to an 8-3 win.

On the women’s side, Sarah Roche-Ft. Rouge will play Lisa Birchard-Pembina.

Sarah Roche-Ft. Rouge scored two on the final end to win 6-5 when Team Scammell’s last stone draw wrecked on her attempt at a wide out-turn draw to the four foot. Birchard made a last stone draw to bite the button for a 4-3 win over Pelissier.

No Pembina team has ever won either Men’s or Women’s Club Championship. Fort Rouge has won seven previous (4 men, 3 women) and St. Vital has won two previous women’s championships.

The final goes at 2:00PM at Charleswood.

WICKMAN 5W-OL, EIGHT HAVE A SHOT AT MEN’S CLUB PLAYOFFS

With a draw to play, eight teams still have a chance to be in the playoffs on the men’s side of the Nature’s Bounty Club Championship at Charleswood.

Andrew Wickman-Ft. Rouge has the lone undefeated record. Team Wickman’s perfect 5W-0L record assures them of first place in the pool. With an afternoon win (7-2) over Richard Muntain-St. Vital, Zach Wasylik’s Pembina team improved to 4W-0L and are assured of fist place in the other group.

Even if they lose on the late draw and Muntain wins – Wasylik will be first in the pool thanks to an the win over Muntain.

A three-way 3W-2L tie is possible in both pools. Muntsain plays Chris Suchy-Elmwood and both could finish 3W-2L. Paul Scinocca-Charleswood is also currently at 2W-2L and must beat Wasylik to also be in the tiebreaker.

In the Wickman pool, Kelly Marnoch-Carberry controls his own fate. A final draw win over Randy Neufeld-La Salle will give the Carberry team second place at 4W-1L. However a Neufeld win would create a tie and Darren Perche-Charleswood could also improve to 3W-2L with a win over Ryan Hyde-Portage.

Tiebreakers will be played at 9PM at Charleswood.

CLUB WOMEN’S PLAYOFF PICTURE CLEARING AT CHARLESWOOD

A game to play in the women’s division of the Nature’s Bounty Club Championships at Charleswood and the question of who advances to playoffs is pretty clear in one pool. Lori Pelissier-Thistle and Krstin McLellan-Brandon were unbeaten playing the morning draw and 7-3 win for former chamnpion Pelissier give her team a 4W-0L. They will advance no matter the result of their final round robin game.

The winning shot for Pelissier today came on the 4th end when, down 3-1, with her last shot she made an angled raise from in front of the rings, between two of her own stones in the eight foot circle and removed a McLellan stone in the four foot to score four.

Team McLellan can improve to 4W-1L with a win in their final round robin game. They play Granite’s Nancy Scammell, also currently 3W-1L after a morning 8-1 victory over Sherri Horning-Burntwood. As Pelissier has beaten both McLellan and Scammell, the Thistle team will finish first in the group.

The other group is much less definite. Tiffany Armstrong’s Dauphin team has finished their round-robin with a 3W-2L record and must wait for the final draw to see where they stand.

On the morning draw, Team Armstrong beat Judy Colwell-East St. Paul (9-2) this morning. Colwell is at 2W-2L along with two other teams.

Sarah Roche’s Fort Rouge team, currently 3W-1L, has a chance to finish first in the group as they will play Lisa Birchard-Pembina, currently 2W-2L. In the other impact game on the afternoon draw, Colwell plays Debbie Whittom-Charleswood.

With the Colwell-Whittom winner finishing with three wins, there is certainty of one tiebreaker game in the group IF Roche beats Birchard. IF Birchard beats Roche, there will be a four-way tie at 3W-2L and a pair of tiebreaker games to determine final rankings in this group.

The top two teams in each pool advance to the playoff round.