The calm before the storm — the West Fraser Centre will soon be a buzz of activity as the 20 top men’s and women’s curling teams from across the province compete in the 2019 BC Men’s and Ladies’ Curling Championships Jan. 29-Feb. 3. Lindsay Chung photo

Ice has started to go in, as Quesnel gets ready to host curling provincials Jan. 29-Feb. 3

The provincial men’s and women’s champions will be crowed Feb. 3 at the West Fraser Centre

Lindsay Chung

Observer Reporter

The curling ice is already starting to go in at the West Fraser Centre, as our city gets ready to host the BC Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships.

With a bit of a laugh, Quesnel Curling Club co-ordinator Dave Plant says he feels “nervous and excited at the same time” now that the provincial championships are just days away.

“It’s a little bit of mixed emotions,” he said Wednesday night. “Everything is in order and now it’s just a matter of getting the ice in. We start putting the ice in tonight. We get the ice around 10 p.m. [on Jan. 23], so we’re going to go right at it as soon as the last guys get off the ice tonight. We’ve got about four days to get the ice ready.”

Teams will be practising Monday, and the Quesnel Curling Club will be hosting a banquet for the teams on Monday night at the Quesnel and District Seniors Centre, featuring entertainment by the Barkerville troupe.

Plant is looking forward to the Opening Ceremonies, which will take place Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 6:15 p.m. at the West Fraser Centre.

“Once the Opening Ceremonies are over, it will be straight curling right until Sunday’s finals,” he says.

Plant expects the competition to be strong, as the men compete for the chance to represent B.C. at the Tim Hortons Brier and the women look to represent our province at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

“I think both fields, the men’s and the women’s fields, are loaded with talent,” says Plant. “It’s a very competitive field. Obviously, the defending champs on both sides are back, and past champions are also in the field. I think both sides, it’s going to come right down to what team has a good week. There are three or four teams on both sides that could easily take this thing.”

Draws will be at 9 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily.

The 2019 BC Men’s Championship will feature 12 men’s teams who will play a modified triple knockout with a four-team page playoff.

The field includes Quesnel’s own Team Waffle, with skip Brady Waffle, Eric Eriksson as third, Mike Pagurut as second and Dave Vatamaniuck at lead, who earned the chance to compete by winning the North Region playdown in mid-December.

Team Waffle will be up against the defending champions, Team Geall from Abbotsford, along with Kelowna/Vernon’s Team Cotter, Team Barry of Golden Ears, Team Tardi from Langley/Victoria, Castlegar’s Team Horning, Team Wenzek of Langley/Royal City/Kamloops, Team Joanisse from Golden Ears/Royal City/Victoria, Team Klymchuk from Royal City/Kamloops/Victoria, Kelowna’s Team Eden, Team Blandford from Victoria, and Team Montgomery from Victoria.

READ MORE: Quesnel’s Team Waffle scores a berth in Provincial Championships

The 2019 BC Women’s Provincial Championship will showcase eight women’s teams who will play a round robin with a four-team page playoff.

The field features defending champions Team Van Osch, from Nanaimo/Parksville/Vancouver, competing against Team Brown from Kamloops/Royal City, Abbotsford’s Team Wark, Royal City’s Team Gushulak, Team Slattery from Vernon, Vancouver’s Team Hudyma, Team Richards from Kelowna/Victoria/Prince George and Team Thompson from Kamloops.

READ MORE: Team Van Osch excited to curl in the North

Plant has been impressed with the way the community has come together to host this major event.

“The City of Quesnel and all the local businesses have been very supportive, very, very supportive,” says Plant. “It’s nice to have a small community that gets behind a major event like this.

“It certainly helps the organizers tremendously.”

Plant says many people have come forward to volunteer.

“Our volunteer base is quite large,” he says. “I think all in all, we had roughly 180 people wanting to help us out, and even to this day, there are people coming forward wanting to help, which is great, and we really couldn’t do it without them, that’s for sure.”

There will be lots of action on the ice from Jan. 29 to Feb. 3, but there will also be lots of entertainment off the ice, and Plant is excited for the Quesnel Curling Club to host live entertainment in its newly-renovated lounge every night from Wednesday, Jan. 30 to Saturday, Feb. 2.

“We’re looking forward to hosting customers upstairs, and it should be a lot of fun,” he says.

Tickets for the provincial championships are $60 for an event pass, $40 for a championship weekend pass, $5 for a single draw pass or free for children 10 and younger who are accompanied by an adult.

Tickets are available at the Observer office, the Quesnel Curling Centre, Outlaw and EBS Essential Business Services, by emailing qccevent@gmail.com or online through the Quesnel Curling Club’s website at new.quesnelcurlingclub.com.

READ MORE: Mike Merklinger will turn Quensel’s West Fraser Centre into a curling rink



editor@quesnelobserver.com

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