Nugget Column #22 – Tuesday March 3rd, 2015
The 86th Brier goes this week in Calgary and the golden boys from Sault Ste. Marie are amongst favourites to win one of the toughest Canadian Men’s Championships in some time.
There is no Martin, no Howard, and no Stoughton – but there are no slouches either.
According to our members, who have casted their predictions on this year’s field, we will see 2006 Olympic Gold Medalist Brad Gushue from Newfoundland go deep and perhaps even capture the title that has eluded him in eleven previous Briers.
Popular vote says Team Canada skipped by John Morris, Team Alberta lead by Kevin Koe and our very own Brad Jacobs and Team Northern Ontario will join them in playoffs however Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec have reserved the faith of some out of the box thinkers.
At the time of this column being finalized Jacobs and Gushue share an undefeated lead and don’t meet each other until Thursday at 10:30am eastern time.
If nothing else, this year’s Brier will be controversial with the tournament format being adjusted to accommodate a relegation round prior to the main event. Having already past, we now know that Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Yukon will be dropped from the main event and be able to challenge the pre-qualifying round again next year.
While the intention was to provide an equal opportunity for every province and territory to be represented at the time-honored event, it has for the most part been a disappointment for fans who will be robbed of the opportunity to cheer on their team at this year’s Brier.
And just because life enjoys a cruel sense of humour it turned out to be that Nova Scotia, whose men’s team was the first to win the Brier back in 1927 and whose capital is hosting the World Men’s Curling Championship at the end of this month, was eliminated on a pre-game draw to the button contest measurement by 2cm.
Hopefully this format will be reconsidered however it’s easy to sit back and criticize without offering any constructive alternatives. Should you have any suggestions you can log on to facebook.com/nbgraniteclub and share your ideas with us.
In local news we are proud to be sending a high school girls curling representative to OFSAA which will be hosted in Trenton starting on March 8th. The Widdifield Wildcats team comprised of Skip – Kate Sherry, Vice – Taylor Patterson, Second – Lauren McLaren, Lead – Emilie Guenette, and coaches – Jeff and Bryan Brouse earned silver medals at last week’s NOSSA competition after qualifying to the final through the winner’s bracket.
Two North Bay rinks also qualified for a provincial championship to be held in Timmins starting March 12th. Charlie Robert, Laura Forget, Ryan Forget and Mackenzie Daley picked up the first available qualifying berth at the NOCA’s Mixed Curling Regionals this past weekend while Jeff Brown, Courtney Chenier, Bobby Ray and Joanne Come had to defeat another Granite Club rink in tiebreakers to move on.
This weekend we will be cheering for the Mark Brown rink and the Cheryl Vainio team who are challenging the Travelers Curling Club Regionals in Sturgeon Falls. All while we enjoy our annual Coldwell Banker Bonspiel which will feature eighteen teams and live entertainment open to the public on Friday and Saturday night.
North Bay Granite Club