Skip Alyssa Kyllo of Vernon’s Team Slattery delivers during her squad’s Saturday morning A qualifier win. Greg Laychak/Black Press

Skip Alyssa Kyllo of Vernon’s Team Slattery delivers during her squad’s Saturday morning A qualifier win. Greg Laychak/Black Press

High calibre athletes enjoyed Hope Curling Club

Injured Canuck Bo Horvat on hand to watch girlfriend win at curling playdowns

“It was high-calibre women’s curling, with many close games,” said Hope curler Carrie Martindale, after 10 provincial-level teams battled it out in triple-knockout playdowns on Hope ice last weekend.

Martindale is a board member for CurlBC’s Region 11 (Lower Mainland) and was tasked with sending in the live scoring updates.

“I was there all weekend,” she said. “It was running all day Friday and Saturday and wrapped up after 3 on Sunday.

“The curlers were very impressed with the hospitality and the ice conditions. They really enjoyed Hope. A lot of them brought their parents along and some had kids with them.”

A rising star of the Vancouver Canucks skipped the team’s road trip to come and watch his girlfriend’s team in the C event Sunday. Having a broken foot gives you that kind of freedom.

“Bo Horvat was up here,” Martindale said. “That was kind of cool.”

Horvat’s girlfriend, Holly Donaldson, skipped her team to a win, under the direction of Georgina Wheatcroft, a two-time world champion and Olympian from 2002.

The team’s players came from the Vancouver and Victoria curling clubs.

Lindsay Hudyma skipped the team to a third-place finish at the 2017 provincials and played third in Hope.

The team includes 2014 BC Scotties champions Steph Jackson-Baier and Carley Sandwith.

In the B event, Karla Thompson led her team of players from Kamloops and Golden Ears clubs. Kristen Recksiedler played third, Shannon Joanisse second and the lead was Trysta Vandale.

Three of the players were the BC Scotties champions in 2016 and Joanisse was part of the Mallett rink that won in 2017.

Team Slattery, from the Vernon Curling Club, were the A event winners, coached by Mark Longworth.

The team included fourth Alyssa Kyllo, third Kelsi Jones, second Morgayne Eby and skip Kim Slattery (throwing lead rocks).

The three winners will now go on to the eight-team Scotties BC Women’s Curling Championship, taking place at the Victoria Curling Club from Jan. 2 to 7.

The provincial winner will proceed to the Canadian championships, starting Jan. 27 in Penticton.

Two other teams have already been placed in the provincial finals, based on their Canadian Team Ranking System points: Team Gushulak from Royal City Curling Club in New Westminster and Team Brown from Kamloops Curling Club.

The three final teams will be named after an open playdown in Kelowna this weekend, which may include teams that missed the cut in Hope.

Club iceman Roman Petryk was on hand all weekend, maintaining high-quality playing surfaces.

“I had to shave the ice before every game,” he said. “A fellow from CurlBC, named Mike Merklinger, came up from down the valley, to check that the ice was in good shape. We worked as a team, so I did the shaving and he did the pebbling.

“After that, each team got 10 minutes to practise, then they did a draw to the button to see who got last rock,” Petryk said. “They were playing 10-end games, which took roughly three hours to play. They’d take a break at half time and we’d give the ice a good sweep.”

Petryk said the club’s old-school rocks took some getting used to, as newer rocks have inserts that allow them to run faster on a given amount of force.

Everyone was playing under the same conditions, though.

“Any team that won sure liked the ice,” he said, laughing.

Next up for the Hope club is the men’s bonspiel, Jan. 19-21.