Hope’s Deb McKinney and Terry Foord curled their way to a perfect record last weekend, winning a berth into the BC mixed doubles curling championships, later this month.
The duo won’t have to dig too deep into their travel and accommodation budget, as the provincials will be hosted by the Hope Curling Club, Feb. 25 to March 1.
The club also hosted last weekend’s open playdowns, which McKinney said were open to any mixed team that wanted to challenge for the top two spots.
“There were no pre-qualifications,” said McKinney. “Each zone in the province had their playdowns, then they have the open as a second chance.”
Eight pairs entered the Hope event, from as far away as Victoria, Grand Forks and 100 Mile House, and all were in town before the big rains did their damage to highways and hydro power connections.
“We all got there at 8:00 on Saturday morning and all the power was out,” said McKinney. “The ice was still fine, as it doesn’t start to deteriorate until five hours without power.
“It was about an hour and a half delay for the first draw and the second draw started on time — but the power went out again,” she said.
“The CurlBC official said if we had started an end before the power went out, we had to play that end all over again. Roman (Petryk) also had to do a complete ice prep again,” said McKinney.
The third draw of the day was put over to the Sunday schedule — which went without any issues, said McKinney.
For the uninitiated, mixed doubles curling is a variation of the normally four-person game.
“The Europeans have been playing it for a long time, but Canada is just getting into it,” said McKinney. “It’s our second year doing it in Hope and we have a Tuesday night mixed doubles league.
“There are eight teams, so it’s a full draw,” she added. “I’d say most that play mixed doubles also play on other nights, too.
“You play eight ends and each team throws five rocks,” explained McKinney, “but two rocks are already placed at the other end. If you have the hammer (last rock), your first rock is placed on a mark at the back of the house and if you’re trying to steal, your first rock is placed on a mark in the free guard zone.”
“Your partner can stand in the house and hold the broom, or your partner can come and sweep. If you’re throwing the rock, you can get up quickly and sweep — or not sweep at all.
“It’s very fast-paced,” she added.
Despite being the eldest of the 16 competitors, McKinney and Foord were able to combine their skill and extra experience, to finish with an unblemished record though through the tournament.
Sixteen teams will be in town for the provincial bonspiel, which starts on Tuesday, February 25 at 6 p.m., with the second draw at 9.
“The winner represents BC in the Nationals in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba from March 17-22,” said McKinney, “and the winner of the Nationals goes to the Worlds, which are being hosted by Kelowna, from April 18-25.
“We’ll need lots of volunteers to help with things like timing, canteen, bar and other related duties over the 5 day period,” she added. “Contact Jessica McWilliams at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
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