New Provincial Champions Joins Illustrious Group

Nugget Column #19 – Tuesday February 10th, 2015

“Dreamed about going to the Brier since I was in little rocks! Never could have imagined this feeling! What a week! Calgary here we come!”

Mark Kean took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon after successfully protecting a single shot rock to score one in the last end with hammer and win the Recharge with Milk Ontario Tankard Championship Final over Team John Epping.

Out of the eight players on the ice, none had previously represented their province at a Brier, which is offbeat for Ontario curling fans accustomed to cheering on 15-time Tankard champion Glenn Howard who failed to reach provincials for the first time since 2003.

The Fenelon Falls-based rink of Kean, Mathew Camm, David Mathers and Scott Howard have joined a illustrious group of provincial champions, a dream all competitive curlers have in common.

More dreams came true in New Brunswick when a rink twice previously defeated in the provincial men’s championship game finally broke through. Jeremy Mallais, Zach Eldridge, Chris Jeffrey and Jared Bezanson upset veteran James Grattan to book their spot at the Calgary Brier.

And on a local level the North Bay Granite Club is the proud home of one Northern Ontario Curling Association Bantam Girls Provincial Champion decided this past weekend in Thessalon.

Kate Sherry, vice for the Kira Brunton team who represented the Sudbury Curling Club, went undefeated in round robin play to earn a direct berth to the championship final. Down 1-4 after five ends of play, Brunton scored a deuce in six and stole four in the seventh to put themselves ahead three points in last end of the final game.

Brunton and Sherry with second Mikaela Cheslock, lead Emma Johnson and coach Chris Johnson ran Team Horton of the Blind River Curling Club out of rocks to capture a forever cherishable title.

The victory sets up a match against the Southern Ontario Bantam Girls Champions in September with that winner advancing to the U18 Curling Championships in Jasper, 2016.

Atop the biggest news stories of the weekend would have to be Team McEwen again failing to win a Manitoba Men’s Curling Title after putting themselves into championship finals five of the past six seasons.

McEwen, who is considered the best team in the world, is number one on the World Curling Tour’s Order of Merit and number one on the Men’s Money List (by $30,702) but with not purple heart to call their own, they wear a monkey on their back instead of a maple leaf.

Teams now confirmed for the 2015 Tim Horton’s Brier include: John Morris, Brad Gushue, Glen MacLeod, Jeremy Mallais, Jean-Michel Menard, Mark Kean, Brad Jacobs, Reid Carruthers, Steve Laycock, Kevin Koe, Jim Cotter, and Bob Smallwood.

Brier Relegation (or Pre-Qualification) begins February 26th while the first main event draw goes Saturday February 28th, 1:30pm at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta.

 

Bobby Ray
General Manager
North Bay Granite Club