The years of experience paid off for the Hedden rink. The four members of the team put together a provincial-caliber bonspiel and almost came home with the gold medal at the 55+ BC Games in Abbotsford. Silver looks good around the necks of skip Blair Hedden, Dave Plant playing third, Shayne Yamamoto playing second, and lead Steve Doerksen.
“We have nothing to be ashamed of, that’s for sure,” said Hedden, following their hotly contested final game on gold medal ice. “We had quiet confidence. We’re all experienced curlers, but the fact we hadn’t been on curling ice in a few months, and being our first time together, we had to hope we’d be ok.”
They were, from start to finish. There were nine teams in their division, the highly competitive 55-64 category, so no match was going to be easy.
“We won our first game and had a pretty good game,” Hedden remembered. “We dropped our second game and it was probably our weakest performance but to a really good team, mind you. Then we won our next two to get into the gold medal game. That’s what you’re there for, to get in that gold medal game with a chance to go to nationals, which would have been really sweet. That last game…their skip, in the sixth end, made a game-saving shot for them, maybe a game-winning shot for them. They were in deep trouble and he made a fantastic shot that in my opinion won them the game, even though there were a couple of ends left. We battled, but that clutch shot just kind of gave them enough to get the win. We just about made a similar shot after that, by the same token, that would have put us back in control, but we couldn’t quite make it.”
He said, “second in the province is pretty good. We are satisfied with how we did.”
Hedden credits the responsive ice at the Quesnel Curling Club as one of the reasons they did so well, having those high-quality conditions with which to build their skills. The club’s ice maker is Plant, who joined the team along with Doerksen at the last minute when two regular team members had to bow out just prior to departure.
Hedden was pleased that a town like Quesnel, which has a fraction of the curling population as the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, could earn such big results on a provincial platform like that.
Quesnel’s women’s team in the 55-64 division also did the town proud. The rink of skip Terri Matula, Penni Yamamoto, Shari Needham and Linnea Hedden narrowly missed out on the bronze medal.
“It’s a great event for our demographic,” said Hedden. “Up to 80- and 90-year-olds are in this event. Sport and athletics is something you can do all your life.”