The curling season may be over, but there are still year-end awards to catch up on, as well as news of big changes to some of the top Canadian men’s teams…
In the final professional event of the year, Edmonton skip Kevin Martin capped his career by winning the Grand Slam of Curling Players’ Championship. Over 26 seasons, he won four Brier titles, one world championship and Olympic gold in 2010.
Martin’s retirement was just one tile in a domino effect of changes to top teams for next year. Among them, Kevin Koe bailed on his team to form a new one consisting of Martin’s front end along with the third from Glen Howard’s squad. Howard will now team with Jon Mead from Jeff Stoughton’s team. Stoughton, meanwhile, is forming a totally new squad.
Locally, an awards night for top men’s teams was held recently at the Nanaimo Curling Centre. One of the organizers was Kevin Smith, coordinator of the popular Tuesday night men’s league this past season. He sends word that from that league, based on points accumulated throughout the year, the overall league aggregate champions were skip Steve Waatainen and his team of Frank Smith, Garry Smith, Ken Wilson and Keith Clarke.
From the Thursday night men’s league, skip Craig MacRae was a double winner. MacRae and his team of Louis Cavezza, Paul Merkel and Tom Weinreich, captured first place in the round-robin portion of the season and also won the overall aggregate title for the year.
Winners of the A square during the final portion of the season were skip Daryl Knievel and his teammates Dan Schulz, Rod Edgeworth and Pat Holubowich. Thursday B square champs were Jeff Near and his team of Tyson Krall, Cam Tennison, Grant Crabtree and Robb Lupul.
Following the conclusion of league play, the top five teams from the men’s Tuesday league along with the top three teams from the Thursday league competed in a special playoff to determine the men’s club championship title. Taking part were Tuesday teams skipped by Steve Waatainen, Bob Chlan, Tim Cullen, Ian Cook and Dan Allarie and Thursday teams led by Frank Voysey, Ferdie Hobson and Daryl Knievel. The final came down to a pair of Tuesday teams, as the Waatainen foursome prevailed 7-1 over the Cook squad.
For teams not involved in the club championship competition, a mini cash spiel was held to wrap up the season. In that, the A event winner was skip Ron Kaneen and his team of Doug Martin, Colin Kaneen and Stan Wheat. Kaneen posted a 7-4 decision over Kevin Conley, Alan Mark, Dennis Chalmers, Jim Irvine and John Heisterman.
In the B event final, the Mike Kenefick squad claimed a 6-4 victory. Backing Kenefick were Mike Pepin, Bob Palynchuk and Bill Millward. Runners-up were Keith Rodway, Karmen Yee, Chris Marcan and Don Boudot.
In a future column we’ll review year-end award winners from mixed curling, as well as the senior men and senior ladies’ leagues.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair and show good sportsmanship.
Ian Thorpe writes about sports Thursdays.