Scoffin set for first Grand Slam appearance

Whitehorse curler Thomas Scoffin has curled at seven junior nationals, has won a medal on the international stage and this past March claimed the Canadian Interuniversity Sport title.

Whitehorse curler Thomas Scoffin has curled at seven junior nationals, has won a medal on the international stage and this past March claimed the Canadian Interuniversity Sport title.

Next week he’ll be throwing rocks in his biggest event yet.

Scoffin will play the second position for Alberta’s Team Bottcher at the next Grand Slam of Curling event, The National, in Oshawa, Ont. beginning Wednesday.

“Obviously, I’m super excited to get a chance to play in an event of this magnitude,” said Scoffin. “I’m pretty humbled to have the opportunity and I’m looking forward to playing well and we’ll see how things go.”

The Bottcher rink is no run-of-the-mill team. The Edmonton-based rink is currently ranked eighth in the world. Skip Brendan Bottcher won the junior nationals and junior worlds in 2012.

Scoffin, 21, will fill in for Bottcher second Bradley Thiessen, who has committed to playing in a different event.

Two years ago Scoffin played as alternate for Bottcher at the CIS championships.

“So we do have a little bit of experience playing together,” said Scoffin.

The Bottcher crew all played for the University of Alberta up to a couple years ago. Scoffin now studies business at the university in his fourth year and is skip for the school’s Golden Bears team.

“I’ve been working with the U of A program for the last four years and I’ve gotten to know those guys pretty well,” said Scoffin. “We’ve played against each other quite a bit, we’ve practiced together in the same kind of setting, so we’re both pretty comfortable with each other’s style of play …

“They thought I might be a good fit, so they gave me a shot and hopefully it goes well.”

Not only has Scoffin been skip for the Golden Bears and the Junior Golden Bears during his university years, he has been at the helm of teams half his life.

He was skip for Canada’s mixed bronze-winning team at the 2012 Winter Youth Olympics in Austria. The Arctic Winter Games gold medalist has been skip at the Junior Canadian Curling Championships seven times, the first when he was 12 years old – a record for the event.

Though he didn’t specify exactly when was the last time he played a position other than skip at an official competition, he did say, “It’s been a long time.

“There’ll be a bit of a transition, for sure, but at the end of the day the shots are the same. There won’t be any new shots I’ve never played before. So I feel pretty comfortable that I can step into that role and play well.”

Scoffin and the rest of Team Bottcher will begin the Grand Slam (which has a $100,000 purse) against Switzerland’s Team Michel on Nov. 11, Alberta’s Team Simmons and Ontario’s Team Jacobs on Nov. 12, and Sweden’s Team Edin on Nov. 13.

The bonspiel will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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