Nugget Column #08 – Tuesday November 18th, 2014
An incredible week was had by all who attended or participated in the “Gathering at the Granite Club”, 2015 Canadian Mixed Curling Championships.
Players stemming from fourteen different areas of the country were full of compliments when asked about their stay in North Bay; and player spokesperson Cathlia Ward of Team New Brunswick says that the athletes both noticed and appreciated how the city rolled out the red carpet for them over the course of their eight-day stay.
Many thanks are owed to City Hall, the Clarion Resort and customer service people throughout the community who whole-heartedly welcomed our honored guests.
Additionally, a near one hundred and twenty praiseworthy volunteers were celebrated during the final championship round robin draw for their contributions. The enthusiastic group went above and beyond to put on an event that will not soon be forgotten.
The Canadian Curling Association recognized this first-rate effort during the closing banquet held at Pinewood and admits that they will be adopting a number of best practices birthed by the committee for their future championship events.
While the week has come and gone for North Bay, the results will carry significance into next curling season when the newly crowned Team Canada takes on the first-ever World Mixed Curling Championships in September 2015.
Saskatchewan’s Max Kirkpatrick, Jolene Campbell, Chris Haichert and Teejay Haichert claimed their first, and their province’s tenth, mixed curling gold medal, tying Alberta for the all-time record.
Their 7-4 win over Jamie Koe and company from the Yellowknife Curling Centre ended the Northwest Territories attempt to finish first in any level at a national curling championship.
While Kirkpatrick has never played internationally, all three of his teammates have. Campbell was the alternate on Amber Holland’s team that won silver at the 2011 World Women’s Championship in Denmark, while the Haicherts both won gold medals at the 2003 World Junior Championships in Flims, Switzerland. Chris played third for Steve Laycock’s men’s team, while Teejay (then Teejay Surik) was the third for Marliese Kasner’s gold-medal team.
“I’m old enough and I’ve curled enough that the nerves weren’t too bad,” said Kirkpatrick, who was making his national championship debut.
“But I’m curling with world champions, Brier competitors, Scotties competitors — they’re such strong players, and they made my job pretty easy.
In the bronze-medal game, Gardner’s team from Ottawa (third Trish Hill, second Jon Beuk and lead Jessica Barcauskas) stole five in the fourth end en route to a 8-2 win over B.C.
The host province continued winning at Saturday evening’s banquet with Ontario’s Jessica Barcauskas earning all-star lead, Northern Ontario’s Chris Briand receiving all-star second, Northern Ontario’s Colin Koivula scoring all-star skip and Northern Ontario’s Oye-Sem Won Briand taking home the female sportsmanship award.
Nova Scotia’s Christina Black secured all-star third while Quebec’s Mike Kennedy was presented with male sportsmanship.
Should history repeat, we look forward to doing this again in another twenty-six years. See you in 2040!
Bobby Ray General Manager North Bay Granite Club