Although February is the shortest month of the year, it’s the busiest time of the year when it comes to curling. The hottest ticket in town when it comes to February is the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and according to this year’s lineup in Charlottetown, P.E.I., it doesn’t get any better than this.
Three-time defending champion Jennifer Jones will have her hands full starting Feb. 19 as the top ladies curling rinks are gunning for this year’s national title. On a positive side note, Sudbury’s Tracy Horgan, Jennifer Seabrook, Jenna Enge and Amanda Gates finished third overall at the Ontario Scotties tournament, held the last week in January.
Already in progress this week is the 2011 Dominion Northern Ontario Men’s Championships in Thunder Bay, and of the 12 teams competing, two are from Sudbury. Copper Cliff’s Mike Jakubo, along with Matt Seabrook, Luc Ouimet and Lee Toner, will try to make their third trip to the Tim Horton’s Brier in London March 5-13. Rob Gordon, curling out of the Sudbury club, along with Sandy MacEwan, Jamie Morphet, Tyler Stewart and Shane Gordon, also have their sights set high for the week-long event. To follow the results and watch it live, go to www.curlnoca.ca.
Locally, many master curlers from all around northern Ontario will compete in the annual CTV Northern Masters Spiel at the Sudbury club Feb. 15-17. A total of 32 teams, all 60-plus years of age, will duke it out in the three-day event in hopes of being crowned the masters champs. Along with the competitive spirit of curling, these fine gentlemen of the game uphold the truest traditions of the sport, such as shaking hands before and after the game, win or lose, winners always buy the first round and best of all, they share great stories of days and times gone by — a great example of what curling is all about.
For the first time in Sudbury’s curling history, we have a wheelchair team getting ready to compete at the Northern Ontario Wheelchair Championships in Thunder Bay Feb. 25-27. Skip Steve Daniel, along with mates Rick Prudhomme, Sarah Lashbrook, Dennis Duclos, coach Thomas Matheson and assistant coach/sponsor Norm Gervais from the Sudbury club, have been busy gearing up for the event.
The team has been practicing two and three times per week, sharpening their skills in hopes of capturing the prestigious event. The Sudbury club is holding a fundraising gala for the team Feb. 17, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Tickets are $5 and available at the club. To get involved in wheelchair curling, phone 705-673-5601.
The Sudbury Curling League is into its last draw of the season and after 15 weeks of action, three teams are tied for the overall championship. Louise Logan, Matt Dumontelle and Rob Gordon sitting at 11-4 are being chased by Ann Cryderman 10-5 and Dustin Montpellier, Scott Thom and Tim Phillips at 8-7. Play continues this Wednesday at 7 p.m. and will rap up March 23.
Local clubs are also gearing up for the annual Dominion of Canada Club Curling Championships.
This popular event is open to club curlers only, and is set up just like the Brier. Each club gets to provide one ladies’ and one men’s team to enter into the regional playdown being held this year at the Idylwylde, March 18-20. The eventual winners will then head off, all expenses paid, to the provincial championships in Thunder Bay in early April. The deadline to enter your team is Feb. 16 and this can be done at www.curlnoca.ca.
More local upcoming events include the Bantam Challenge Feb. 12-13 at the Idylwylde, phone 705-522-8580; the Capreol Men’s Spiel Feb. 11-13, phone 705-858-2771; and the Idylwylde Fun Mixed Spiel, Feb. 25-27.
Tim Phillips is manager of the Sudbury Curling Club, owner of the Rock Curling Company, and has represented northern Ontario in two Briers and three Canadian mixed championships. He has been curling for 36 years. Send your curling news or results to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 705-677-ROCK(7625).