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Pfeifer shoots for Olympic glory

On the eve of the Roar of the Rings, Scott Pfeifer has unfinished business at the Olympic trials with the Ferbey Four.
Photo supplied by ANIL MUNGAL

On the eve of the Roar of the Rings, Scott Pfeifer has unfinished business at the Olympic trials with the Ferbey Four.

“We’ve had some tremendous success on the national and international stage but there is just that one thing that’s missing from our resumĂ© and I would love to finish it off this year,” said Pfeifer, a product of the St. Albert Curling Club. “Having the opportunity to represent Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver is the ultimate goal right now, basically the biggest carrot that has ever been out there in the sport of curling.”

In previous Olympic trials the Saville Sports Centre line-up of Randy Ferbey, 50, last-rock thrower Dave Nedohin, 35, and the Huff and Puff front-end tandem of Pfeifer and Marcel Rocque, 38, finished 5-4 in 2001 and 4-5 (after a 1-4 start) in 2005.

“When you look back at those events, we know where we made errors. You learn from that and hopefully you don’t make the same errors or different ones this time around,” Pfeifer said. “It’s a totally different event than a Brier would be, where everyone is cheering for their home province. Obviously the Brier is a huge part of Canadiana but the competition isn’t nearly as fierce at a Brier as it will be this coming week, and that’s mostly because it only happens every four years.”

The Roar of the Rings starts Sunday with the women’s draw at 1 p.m. The opening game for the Ferbey Four in the men’s eight-team round robin goes at 6 p.m. against Wayne Middaugh of Toronto. The most anticipated matchup of the trials is the 1 p.m. Wednesday showdown between the Ferbey Four, the Alberta Curling Federation’s Team of the Century, and two-time reigning Brier champion Kevin Martin.

“We finished our last event on Sunday and that’s when it kind of hits you that the next game you’re playing in together as a team is the biggest event of your life and that’s the Olympic trials,” Pfeifer said. “It‘s very exciting. The nerves are starting to kick in a little, which is only natural, but once you get on the ice everything will take care of itself.”

The top men’s team in the round robin advances into Sunday’s final at 1 p.m. The second and third place rinks square off in Saturday’s semifinal at 1 p.m. Visit the schedules and results.

On the World Curling Tour the Ferbey Four are 38-13 for fifth place on the money list with $39,882. They’re coming off a victory over Jean-Michel Menard in the Nov. 29 final of the Challenge Casino de Charlevoix at Clermont, Que. In the previous event they bowed out in the quarter-finals of the Wainwright Roaming Buffalo Classic.

“We’ve won two out of our last three events [at Clermont and Red Deer] and played fairly well doing it. We played on great ice in the same kind of conditions we would experience at the trials so we’re as prepared as we ever could be,” said Pfeifer, a member of the all-time Alberta all-star team in voting conducted in 2005.

The former five-time Alberta champions, four-time Brier winners and three-time world gold medallists avoided last month’s pre-trials in Prince George by securing the fourth and final Olympic trials spot through Canadian Team Ranking System points collected after winning the 2009 Players’ Championship at Grande Prairie in April.

“In the last three years it’s been all about qualifying for this coming week so we’ve been basically playing in every event we could to make sure we got directly in,” said Pfeifer, a Bellerose Composite High School alumnus. “Because we knew we were in since April, we took the year a little easier. We’ve had Dan Holoywaychuk [of St. Albert], our fifth man, come with us to every single event this year. We’ve also done some other stuff to get prepared. We’ve also discussed what we’ve done at other events and what works and what doesn’t work.”

The closest the southpaw shooter has come to making the Olympics was appearing on a Canada Post stamp, commemorating the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, in which he was pictured sweeping a rock to represent curling.

“I started curling when I was 11, throwing rocks at the St. Albert Curling Club and I never dreamed of being an Olympic champion but as soon as it became an Olympic sport in 1998, that obviously shifts your focus a little bit,” said Pfeifer, 32, a U20 junior world champion in 1994 as the second for Colin Davison and bronze medallist in 1997 as last-rock thrower for Ryan Keane.

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