New role for Pfeifer
Ferbey Four all-star second throws third rocks for Jamie King rink at provincials
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Feb 09, 2013 06:00 am
Leduc – Scott Pfeifer is starring in a new role on the provincial stage with the St. Albert-based Jamie King rink.
The former all-star second on the Ferbey Four is playing third for King, the lead rock tosser who also calls the game for Jeff Erickson and last-rock gunner Blake MacDonald.
Pfeifer, the five-time Alberta champion, four-time Brier winner and three-time world gold medallist with the Ferbey Four, had only curled in funspiels in Beijing, China and Bratislava, Slovakia after the Alberta Curling Federation’s Team of the Century called it quits after the 2010 Players’ Championship.
“I had no desire to get back into it competitively with the amount I was playing before so this is the perfect fit,” Pfeifer said.
The first major curling event for Pfeifer with the highly-touted King foursome was winning the Shoot-Out bonspiel in September at the Saville Sports Centre.
It was the first of four bonspiels on a light World Curling Tour schedule for the No. 3 seeds at the Boston Pizza Cup provincials at the Leduc Recreation Centre.
“Our intent was to have a good time and there hasn’t been any pressure at all,” Pfeifer said. “We were expecting to go through the playdowns so it was a bonus that we got into provincials (as the No. 2-ranked team in the Alberta Curling Tour standings). We played two Alberta spiels and we made the finals in both (Shoot-Out and Wainwright, as well as the Vernon and Kamloops bonspiels).
“It’s not like you’re gearing up and playing events to try and peak at the right time, we’re just coming in and doing our best.”
Their motivation was representing Alberta at the Brier, March 2 to 10 at Rexall Place.
“Blake and I have played in one in Edmonton and it’s an amazing experience, but we came into this with not really any expectations. Obviously we know there is enough talent on our team that we can give it a shot and if it works out, great; if not we’re not going to lose a whole lot of sleep,” Pfeifer said.
The last game before provincials for King’s men was a Jan. 17 cameo appearance filling in for the legendary Hootie and the Old Fish rink in the St. Albert Thursday night men’s league. The last World Curling Tour game was Nov. 19, a 4-3 loss in eight ends to Mark Johnson’s Seattle rink in the Wainwright final.
“It’s just been a totally different year. We really haven’t thrown a lot,” Pfeifer said.
King is the oldtimer of the group at age 39. The Bellerose Composite High School alumnus lost the 2003 and 2005 provincial finals to the Ferbey Four and was the alternate for Kevin Koe’s 2010 Brier and world championship team.
King also guided Hootie and the Old Fish to an unprecedented eight President’s Cup championships in 19 years at the St. Albert Curling Club, including a record-setting six-straight championships, as well as winning the Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions twice in six years, including the 2011 title.
MacDonald competed at the 1999 Brier on the Ken Hunka team. He was the last-rock thrower for King in the provincial finals against the Ferbey Four and won a Brier and world gold medal with Koe. The St. Albert resident also served as Koe’s alternate last year at the Brier.
Pfeifer was one of the inaugural six inductees into the St. Albert Curling Club’s wall of fame in 2011. The Bellerose alumnus won the U20 world championship in 1994 and a bronze medal in 1997.
Erickson is also a two-time U20 Alberta champion who went on to curl for a variety of teams at the men’s level.
“We’ve got four guys together who have thrown a lot of competitive rocks in their life, and I don’t want to say it’s like riding a bike because obviously it’s more difficult than that, but when you get on the ice and throw rocks you just get back into the routine but you’ve just got to master it,” said Pfeifer.
The southpaw shooter is still sweeping up a storm despite the new position.
“It’s not really a whole lot different. I’m still sweeping six rocks. All it means is that there only two rocks after me if I screw up but if I make some good shots then you set up your skip,” said the five-time Brier all-star record holder for seconds, starting with second-team honours in 2001 before making the first team four straight years.
King got off to a good start at provincials in Wednesday’s 7-4 win in nine ends against Charley Thomas of Calgary.
Thursday against Kevin Martin in the A semifinals, King let leads of 4-1 after five and 5-3 after seven and 6-5 after nine slip away as the 2010 Olympic gold medallists escaped with a 7-6 decision. Martin tied it in the 10th end with the hammer and stole the winning point in the extra end.
It was the first game of the season between King and Martin, who was highly successful against the Ferbey Four in the late stages of their hall-of-fame career.
“They are coming up on their seventh year together and it was about that time where things weren’t new anymore for us. It was more of a struggle. You’re expected to win and when it didn’t happen you try and bear down and you play tighter and sometimes that would snowball a little bit,” said Pfeifer, 36. “Anytime you get up in the seventh or eighth years playing with the same guys, those kind of things happen and those are the challenges you have to deal with that you never did at first.”
King rebounded smartly from the loss to Martin with a convincing 9-4 win over Wade White of the Saville Sports Centre in the B quarter-finals Thursday night. Dan Holowaychuk of St. Albert, and former alternate on the Ferbey Four, is the second for White.
Friday afternoon King and Thomas meet in the B semifinals. The winner played Koe or Aaron Sluchinski of Airdrie in Friday night’s B final. Scores were unavailable at press time.
The four qualifiers in the 12-team draw are in action tonight at 6:30 p.m. The winner of the 1-2 game advances to Sunday’s final at 2 p.m. The loser curls in Sunday’s semifinal at 9:30 a.m.
Visit www.2013bostonpizzacup.com for playoff pairings and results.