With the weight of unfinished business hanging in the air, summer barbecues will be less relaxing for some Yukon curlers.
This weekend, rinks from Whitehorse, Watson Lake and Teslin threw rocks in the first ever Dominion Curling Club Championship. The Whitehorse Curling Club matches gave club curlers the chance to compete at a national level.
For the women, Team Strong, led by skip Helen Strong, went 4-0 against its Watson Lake and Teslin counterparts, earning a spot at the Dominion Curling Club National Championships in Etobicoke, Ontario in late November.
“This is to bring club members a fun event that gets as much publicity as the Brier or the Scotties,” said Strong. “That’s what’s so great about it – club curlers from across the country actually get to participate in a big event, instead of the really elite curlers. It’s for the regular Joe.”
For the men, things will drag on a little longer – for seven months!
Each rink finished with 3-1 records, so Whitehorse’s Team Balsam and Watson Lake’s Team Kalles will have to wait through the summer before the scheduled tiebreaker in October.
“Yeah, it’s a while,” said Herb Balsam, Team Balsam’s skip. “I think something was being planned for tomorrow, but then they left.”
Watson Lake is currently without sheets to play on since December after its curling club’s roof was deemed unsafe. But both the men and women teams provided close contests against Whitehorse.
Tragically, Watson Lake’s Team Frank lost its skip, Sheila Frank, midway through the championships due to a house fire back home.
“They were all good games, they were fun, we just got the rocks in the rings at the right times,” said Strong. “It was unfortunate that the Watson Lake ladies had to leave due to a fire at home – it was quite devastating.
“They were great opponents and fun to play with.”
“They were on top of their game, the first game,” said Balsam, speaking of his team’s 8-6 loss in an extra end in their first game. “We had opportunities, we just couldn’t capitalize.
“The next game we played a little better.”
Team Balsam won the second encounter 8-7 after scoring three in the final end.
Joining Strong on the rink is lead Suzanne Bertrand, third Ladene Shaw and newcomer Cheryl Burton.
“We’ll be talking about curling on a team next year for sure,” said Strong, who competed in the playdowns for a spot at the Scotties but with another rink.
“This is for less competitive curlers,” said Strong. “So I’m the only carded player on the team.”
Contact Tom Patrick at