Crunch time as rinks arrive for 2016 Canadian Direct Insurance BC Men’s Curling Championships
It’s getting close to crunch time for teams at 2016 Canadian Direct Insurance BC Men’s Curling Championships.
Tuesday, all 16 teams will be on the ice practicing in preparation for the triple-knockout event to crown BC representative at the 2016 Tim Horton’s Brier, March 5-13 in Ottawa.
“Leading up to the provincials, the players are eating right, getting lots of rest . . . throwing lots of rocks and fine-tuning any communication issues between each other on the rink,” said 2005 BC Champ Fred Thomson of Nelson, part of the Deane Horning rink.
“They’re fine tuning things so by Wednesday the players want to be on top of their game.”
The Canadian Direct Insurance BC Men’s Curling Championships begin Wednesday draws at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Curling, which also can be followed on Playdowns.com continues through the week before the Page Playoffs Saturday.
Thomson, who decided not to compete at the men’s level instead opting for BC Senior Men’s division where his rink begins provincial playdowns February 15 in Richmond, feels the sport has changed a lot since Horning, Thomson, Don Freschi and Rob Nobert shocked the field in Smithers to claim their Purple Hearts.
Seeded well down the pack, the Horning rink came up through the ranks to knock off Bob Ursel in the final to claim the title.
However, a decade later the sport has gone from weekend warriors to one step away from professional curlers.
“Everybody goes in thinking if you have a good week of curling and the other teams don’t, then your rink will have a shot at winning it all,” Thomson explained.
“But realistically, when you get to the provincials, you can pick out the top four or five rinks and there’s a good chance one of them are going to win it all.
“So I think heading into the week there are three to four teams that are heads and shoulders above everybody else,” Thomson adds.
“And if one of those rinks didn’t win, I’d be very surprised.”
Heading the list of favourites is defending champ Jim Cotter of Vernon.
Pushing the defending champs are Dean Joanisse and Sean Geall of the Royal City Club in New Westminster.
The two rinks are the BC Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) point winners.
“The top teams coming here have played lots of cashspiels,” said Thomson.
“Every weekend they’re playing or practicing because they have good sponsorship money behind them.”
“Curling is almost turning into a fulltime job rather than years ago when it was kind of a level playing field where you had a good week, you had a good chance of winning,” he added.
“Now, you need to have a good week and have not just one team but two or three to really falter.”
Locally, Tom Buchy of Kimberley and Chris Ducharme of Creston will have the crowd behind them in Nelson.
Joining Buchy is third Deane Horning, second Dave Toffolo and lead Darren Will while Team Ducharme consists of third Josh Firman, second Jim Stewart, lead Jim Macaulay and fifth Brendan Stead.
Sportsnet is providing television coverage of the semi final and final Sunday.
Tickets for the playdowns are still available at Nelson Chamber of Commerce or at the door.