White ices senior title
St. Albert Curling Club foursome off to nationals after winning provincial 50-plus men's final
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 06:00 am
Granite Curling Club – The Wade White rink will embark on the trip of a lifetime next month to the Canadian senior 50-plus men’s championship.
The St. Albert Curling Club foursome of White, third Doug McLennan, second Dan Holowaychuk and lead George Parsons will represent Alberta after hammering Brad Hannah’s Saville Sports Centre team 9-2 in eight ends in Sunday’s anticlimactic provincial final.
“Wow!” exclaimed McLennan after the carnage mercifully ended. “You don’t get too many chances to go to a national so we thought we better try and bring our A game today and we did.”
Holowaychuk’s blinding smile lit up the Granite lounge during the post-game celebration.
“Finally! I’ve gone to provincials in mixed and juniors and in men’s with a bunch of different teams, like Mark Johnson and couple of times with Wade, and I never really got close to the final. This is the first one so it was good to win it in the first go-around,” said the valuable alternate for the Ferbey Four during their historical run of provincial, Brier and world championships. “Now I will be playing all the games instead of sitting there and watching them all. I will probably lose a few pounds this way.”
Parsons looked like he won the lottery with a quick-pick ticket in his first crack at provincials.
“I got lucky. I got the phone call from Wade to come out and play for him in the playdowns and now we’ve got the Alberta jackets. I wanted that so bad. You’re in curling to win something and to get into provincials to win something so it really means a lot. It’s awesome, just amazing. It’s really fantastic,” said an overjoyed Parsons, an Edmonton resident who sat out the city zones with a tender Achilles on his sliding foot.
White waited a long time to win a provincial title and it was worth it.
“It means quite a bit to me actually to get out of here,” said the familiar face at the men’s provincials over the years. “It also means a lot beating some of these guys I’ve never beat before in men's. They were always kicking my butt.”
The week before, White’s rink in the Edmonton Super League with Holowaychuk at second finished 1-3 at the Boston Pizza Cup provincials in Leduc.
The senior provincials marked the seventh consecutive week of playdown curling for White and the sixth week during that stretch for Holowaychuk.
“It had to help with my weight. Eventually it has to pay off, ” said White, an 11-time provincial winner and four-time Canadian champion on the telephone curling circuit who will make his competitive debut at the March 16 to 24 senior nationals in Summerside, P.E.I.
White, Holowaychuk and Parsons are newly-minted 50-year-olds and McLennan is the oldtimer of the bunch at 55.
“I’m the voice of reason,” chuckled McLennan, winner of five President’s Cups in six years as the skip for the St. Albert mixed club champions, as well as the 2010 Edmonton and area Tournament of Champions.
“Dougie is really good at keeping the team together and calming us down. Sometimes me and Dan get a little wound up and we try and make it too good,” said the Stony Plain resident.
After losing the provincial opener 5-4 to Hannah, White rattled off six straight wins for a bye into the final.
“I figured we had to be 2-1 after the first three games for a shot at the final so we kept our composure that’s for sure,” White said. “We were really good at not letting teams steal points from us. I think there was one steal in the whole thing against us. We also had really strong sweeping and that helped a lot too.”
In the final against Hannah, last-rock thrower Gary Greening, second Don McKenzie, a St. Albert Curling Club wall-of-fame member, and lead Lance Dealy didn’t get on the scoreboard until the seventh end with a deuce to trail by six.
White counted one with the hammer in the first end, then stole one in three and deuces in four, five and six after Hannah blanked the second end.
The 2011 provincial champions and national finalists called it quits after White counted one in eight.
“Today we just happened to get the steals,” said Holowaychuk, the 1989 Tournament of Champions winner curling out of St. Albert. “Gary just didn’t have his draw weight and we had a couple in the house and he came up light a few times and we got some steals that we normally probably wouldn’t have.”
The final featured the Northern Alberta Curling Association’s A and B winners and the outcome left the playdown series knotted at two wins apiece.
“It was our turn,” McLennan said. “That first game (at provincials) was kind of stinky. We had a shot for three or four and jammed and they stole one (in eight to lead 5-2) so we felt pretty good that we outplayed them that game. We also beat them at northerns (7-5 in A semifinals) too.
“Today they started the game perfect. We’ve got the hammer and they hold us to one and that’s what they wanted. After that they were trying to chase a deuce and we made every sort of freeze and little roll we had to make. We got a lucky steal on three and then they really started to pour it on but they weren’t sharp like they usually are so they got into trouble. The next thing you know we’re stealing another couple and another couple and now it’s out of control.”