Hope host provincial firefighters’ curing playdowns

Five local players come close to a top-place finish in 18-team event

Evan Empey releases his rock to sweepers Tom DeSorcy (left) and John Linza

Hope curlers figured prominently in the 18-team B.C. Firefighters’ Provincial Curling Playdowns, last weekend in Hope, with five local players coming close to a top-place finish.

Kawkawa Lake resident Doug Marshall skipped the Victoria-based Clarke rink to an ‘A’ Event quarter-final win over Hope’s Al Trick rink, then bumped off the Dean Thulin rink of Campbell River in the ‘A’ final.

Trick’s team included John Linza, Evan Empey and Hope Fire chief Tom DeSorcy. They won their first game in the ‘B’ to get to the final four, where teams were trying to avoid their second loss of the double knock-out championship.

Trick and Marshall met again and curled a very tight game.

“It came down to last rock and they had the hammer,” said Trick, who has curled at 31 firefighters’ playdowns. One mistake by Marshall could have put Trick in the championship final.

Trick’s loss put his team out of the bonspiel after five games — but Marshall then had a chance to give Thulin his second loss, on Saturday morning.

Thulin survived that match.

Since Marshall and Thulin had then lost once each, they needed a second game on Saturday afternoon to determine who would go to the Canadian championships in Winnipeg — and Thulin pulled out another win, to take top spot through his back-door comeback.

“Thulin has won it a few times,” said club iceman, Roman Petryk, who was busy maintaining the ice sheets from Thursday morning through Saturday afternoon.

“In order to win it, Doug and the other team had to play nine games in the three days,” he explained. “At a regular bonspiel, if you have 32 teams, you have to win five games to win the ‘A’ or ‘B’ events — and any of these ‘A’ or ‘B’ games were 10-enders. That’s a minimum of two and a half hours per game.

“Five or six teams had a chance to win,” added Petryk. “The others were just here for the sport of it.”

Curling started off on Thursday morning, then paused for the opening ceremonies, where local bagpiper Ian Newbigging piped the competitors onto the ice.

Tom DeSorcy emceed the proceedings and Coun. Peter Robb brought greetings on behalf of the mayor and council of the District of Hope, along with messages from Hope RCMP Staff Sgt. Suki Manj and Thulin, the president of the B.C. Firefighters Curling Association. “Coun. Robb commented that his son, who started in Hope as a volunteer firefighter is now a career member with the Coquitlam Fire Department,” said DeSorcy. “Peter also threw out the ceremonial first rock.

“Part of the hospitality offered to our guests was a lunch on Friday, sponsored by Hub Fire Engines — and a steak barbecue, put on by the Hope Curling Club to close the event on Saturday night.

“I first curled in this event in Burnaby, in 1986, following in the footsteps of my father, Ray, who curled for many years before me,” recalled DeSorcy. “One story I always share is the fact that my dad skipped a team to the ‘C’ event championship in the 1960s.  I also won that same trophy in 1995.  Retired Hope firefighter, Al Steeves, played on both those teams and has his name on that trophy with two different DeSorcys.

“In total this was my 22nd year taking part in the firefighters’ playdowns and I was fortunate to be on the winning team with Don Druet, Glenn Wejr and Al Trick the last time we hosted it, in 2005.

“We represented B.C. at the Canadian Championships in Yellowknife and took the bronze medal, placing third. This year’s event marked the fourth time Hope has hosted: 1993, 1999, 2005 and now 2014.”