Skip Thomas Scoffin watches as his teammates sweep the last rock of the end during the Yukon Men’s Curling Championship in Whitehorse on Jan. 12. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Team Scoffin to represent Yukon at 2018 Brier

‘It’s a thrill. It’s a dream come true’

Team Scoffin punched their ticket to the Brier with a victory in the Yukon Men’s Curling Championships held at the Whitehorse Curling Club from Jan. 11 to 14.

Following an 8-4 victory over Team Smallwood in the semi-final, Team Scoffin defeated Team Solberg 8-5 in nine ends to win the championship and a trip to the Brier.

Skip Thomas Scoffin, third Tom Appelman, second Wade Scoffin, lead Steve Fecteau and fifth Clint Ireland will represent the Yukon at the 2018 Brier this March in Regina.

Thomas Scoffin said the weekend was a success.

“Overall it was a successful weekend and it feels really good to be able to come out on top. It wasn’t easy and we had some stiff competition for sure,” said the skip. “We had to battle through and that makes it a little sweeter at the end to come out on top.”

Laini Klassen, president of the Yukon Curling Association, said the skip has been a part of Yukon curling for years.

“It’s actually really exciting to see him making it through because he has been a part of Yukon curling as a junior curler for years,” said Klassen. “Now he’s back curling [in the] Yukon with his father, which was really exciting.”

“He’s done really well as a junior curler and it’s nice to see him have success as an adult curler now.”

It’s not everyday a team with a father-son duo qualifies for the Brier, and father Wade Scoffin realizes how unique the situation is.

“It’s a thrill. It’s a dream come true,” said Wade. “We’re both very excited, obviously our whole family is thrilled. There are only a few families across Canada that can say that these sorts of things are happening.”

His son echoed that sentiment.

“It’s pretty cool at the end of the day to be able to share that experience,” said Thomas. “For me, being my first Brier, getting to share that together is going to be a pretty cool experience and we’re really looking forward to that.”

The championship was a modified triple knockout setup, meaning a team had to lose three times to be eliminated. The six teams played in three events, each ending in a qualifier for the playoff round.

In the first event, Team Scoffin got off to a slow start losing 4-3 to Team Williams in the first draw. Team Smallwood defeated Team Solberg in the A qualifier 9-4.

The next event got off to a better start for Team Scoffin when they defeated Team Paslawski 9-7 in nine ends. Team Solberg then beat Team Scoffin in the next draw 6-5 on the way to winning the B qualifier.

In the third and final event, Team Scoffin found their stride rattling off victories over Team Zealand, Team Smallwood and Team Solberg to win the C qualifier and a spot in the semi final.

Team Solberg advanced directly to the final as the team with the most qualifying games.

The final draw started with Team Solberg taking the lead 1-0 in the second end before Team Scoffin responded with five in the fourth end, making the score 5-1 for Team Scoffin.

Team Solberg scored two in the fifth and Team Scoffin responded with two of their own in the sixth.

Singles from Team Solberg in the seventh and ninth bookended another single from Team Scoffin in the eighth.

While having six teams made for a schedule that was at times confusing for spectators, Klassen said the weekend was an overall success.

“There were lots of really super close games,” said Klassen. “I was impressed with all the curling this weekend.”

Although still months away, Team Scoffin is feeling optimistic about the Brier.

“We know we have it in us to play really well and it’s going to be a high-stakes event,” said Thomas. “But I think with the experience we have on our team, we’re going to be able to pull out some pretty decent results and we’re really looking forward to playing hard and seeing what happens.”

The 2018 Brier, Canada’s national men’s curling championship, will be at the Brandt Centre in Regina from March 3 to 11.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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