After a nail-biter of a playdown at the Quesnel Curling Club on Saturday (Dec 15) morning, the host city of the 2019 provincial championships officially has a dog in the race.
Team Waffle will head to their first provincial championships after besting J.D. Blanchette’s squad from Prince George, 8-6, 9-7 in the regional finals.
Brady Waffle, the team’s skip, says the difference maker occurred at the end of the first game.
“We were up one coming home without the hammer,” he says, “and we kept the house clean the whole time to try and force them to one, so we would go to the extra end with the hammer.
“But we had one at the back of the house just barely biting the edge of the 12 foot.
“He made a nice draw on his first shot to draw down to it and freeze on top of it, but there was about an inch and a half gap on top of it between the two rocks.
“I tried to come down to blast that thing out of there and roll my shooter out.
“Just get rid of everything and give him a free draw to the house.
“But I ended up picking it out somehow and leaving our back rock just sitting there.
“[On his shot] he had the whole house to draw down to, but he was heavy and wasn’t in line with ours at the back of the house and we ended up being a little bit closer.”
Waffle’s team, which includes Eric Eriksson as 3rd, Mike Pagurut as 2nd and Dave Vatamaniuck at lead; took that momentum into the second game, scoring four quick points and doing enough to take the match.
With a clear path between him and the championships at home, there are many things to be jazzed about.
“I’m just excited about being able to curl on the arena ice,” says Waffle. “That’s what you see on TV and you always hear it’s so different.
“We would normally never get a chance to do something like that.”
Team Waffle is one of seven men’s teams that qualified for provincial championships this weekend. This includes three from the Lower Mainland – Team Wenzek, Team Joanisse and Team Klymchuk; one from the Kootenays – Team Horning; one from Thompson Okanagan – Team Eden; and one from the Vancouver Island – Team Blandford.
The final men’s berth will be determined at the men’s open playdown at Lillooet Curling Club in January.
The women’s draw also welcomed Vernon’s Team Slattery and Vancouver’s Team Hudyma. There are two more berths up for grabs, which will be determined at the women’s open #2 playdown at Kamloops Curling Club in January.
Tickets are still available for the event, which takes place Jan. 29 to Feb. 3 in Quesnel.