Senior rink rolls to provincials
Wade White foursome will represent St. Albert at 50-plus men's curling championship
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 30, 2013 06:00 am
A St. Albert rink skipped by Wade White dominated the Northern Alberta Curling Association senior 50-plus men’s playdowns last weekend at the Thistle.
White, third Doug McLennan, second Dan Holowaychuk and lead George Parsons finished 4-0 in the 16-team draw after doubling Mark Pouliot 8-4 in eight ends to win the A qualifier Friday night.
A steal of one in two made it 3-0 for White, who counted three deuces in the final compared to only one for Pouliot.
“Our final was one of the closer games,” Holowaychuk said.
White roared into the final with victories of 5-4 against Russ LeMessurier of Spruce Grove, 9-4 in six ends against Dave Olsen of the Thistle and 7-5 against Brad Hannah of the Saville Sports Centre in the A semifinals.
A three ender in seven against Hannah snapped a 3-3 deadlock. Hannah, who curls with locals Gary Greening and Don McKenzie, replied with one in eight and a steal of one in nine before White ended the suspense by scoring one in 10.
“Hannah is always tough to play. Last time they kind of tuned us pretty good (10-5 in the A qualifier at the city zones). This time we had a little rematch and took them down so the rubber match will hopefully be at provincials,” Holowaychuk said.
Hannah and Pouliot will join White as the northern qualifiers at provincials, Feb. 13 to 17 at the Granite.
Nationals are March 16 to 24 in Summerside, P.E.I and worlds are April 13 to 20 in Fredericton, N.B.
Holowaychuk, 50, credited strong sweeping and White’s draw weight for the team’s undefeated record at northerns.
“We caught on to the ice pretty good. All the sheets were fairly similar and super fast so Wade’s draw weight was a big key,” said the former fifth man for the Ferbey Four. “We also had some pretty decent sweeping and when you’re sweeping on keen ice you can usually drag it pretty far so that was another big key.”
Northerns marked the first time White’s senior line-up was intact for the playdowns. At zones, Barry Bergh filled in for Parsons, who hurt his Achilles on the eve of the playdowns. Bergh was a noted curler with the Dale Throndson mixed rink back in the day in St. Albert.
“George is still a little bit on the mend. He’s still hobbling around a little bit but he was very eager to play,” Holowaychuk said. “That was our first real spiel together with all four of us. Some of the other guys have been kind of going together and trying to do it for years and this is like one weekend for us and here we are going to provincials.”
It’s the first year for Holowaychuk and White in the senior division. McLennan, winner of the President’s Cup five times in the last six years as skip in the St. Albert mixed playoffs, was competing in his third northerns in four years at the senior level.
“Wade and I talked about playing seniors the last few years. For about seven or eight years we’ve always had a men’s team and this is the first year that him and I are both eligible for seniors. We’re old guys now, veterans you could say,” Holowaychuk said. “I moved down to second to stay in shape and get ready for it. I figure the front-end guys are harder to come by in seniors than the back-end guys because anybody can stand back there and yell.”
Boston Pizza Cup
The previous weekend the Edmonton Super League foursome of White, third Kevin Tym, Holowaychuk and lead George White punched their tickets to the Boston Pizza Cup men’s provincials with a 5-3 decision over James Pahl of Sherwood Park in the B qualifier at northerns at the Ottewell.
The White brothers and Holowaychuk have been the nucleus of the men’s team for the past several years.
“We had a few different people come in. We’ve had Kevin Tym the last few years play third,” Holowaychuk said. “This is our first trip as a team for the four of us, but various parts of us have gone in various time frames.”
The men’s provincials runs Feb. 6 to 10 in Leduc. The winner goes to the Brier, March 2 to 10 at Rexall Place.
“We’re not getting any younger but we’ve definitely got a lot of experience out there so we’ll be taking our best shot at the Koes and the Martin bunch. Both obviously are heavily favoured. Even Jamie King’s St. Albert guys are going to be tough. They may have gone to only a few spiels (made the finals in all four bonspiels entered on the World Curling Tour and won two of them) but those guys are veterans. They’ve thrown some rocks, they know the game and they’ve got the talent to do it,” said Holowaychuk, the 1989 Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions winner curling out of St. Albert.