Baldwin, Mikkelsen top International Bonspiel

Whoever does the etching on the International Bonspiel trophies must be getting pretty used to imprinting the name Nicole Baldwin.

Whoever does the etching on the International Bonspiel trophies must be getting pretty used to imprinting the name Nicole Baldwin.

Baldwin won the women’s A division an eighth time with her Whitehorse rink in the 61st annual International Bonspiel at the Whitehorse Curling Club on Sunday.

Team Baldwin swept up the title with a 9-6 win over Fairbanks’ Team Vega in the final, scoring four in the seventh end to take the lead. Team Vega shook hands before completing the eighth end.

“It was a real good battle, an enjoyable game,” said Baldwin.

“It’s nice to finish the year off with a win … It was a great weekend … It’s always been a great event: lots of people, lots of fun. I always enjoy myself at this bonspiel.”

Baldwin captured her first women’s A division title in 1994, and went on to win in 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007 and last year.

On board with Baldwin was lead Sheila Stockton, second Helen Strong and third Ladean Shaw, who was on the winning team last year as well.

Team Vega, skipped by Stacy Vega, was a first-time entry. It was their first time curling together in a tournament.

“We expected to be halfway home by now,” joked lead Terri McFarland.

“It was amazing. This club has wonderful ice, people were very hospitable, the staff was most co-operative,” she added. “It’s consistent and great, wonderful ice.”

The men’s A division also saw a past champion take the title.

Whitehorse skip Ray Mikkelsen and his team cruised through their open games before a tight, low-scoring final against Team Hilderman.

Team Mikkelsen took the final 3-2, winning it on the final shot.

“I was more nervous on that last shot than I’ve ever been – and I’ve been throwing for 30 years,” said Mikkelsen. “I had a wide open take out. I threw back-line weight at it and my son (Dustin) was calling lines and he had the sweepers on it and it’s a good thing he called them off because it barely held on for the win.”

The Mikkelsen rink included lead Mike L’Henaff and second Scott Williamson. Son Dustin was also on the team when Team Mikkelsen won the bonspiel for the first time in 2007.

Skip George Hilderman often misses the International Bonspiel while curling at the senior Canadian championships. But not this year.

“I’m glad to be back in it and it was a great run,” said Hilderman. “What I liked about it is … this is a brand new team and I brought Ryan (Flippo) in from Anchorage. It started off a little slow, but he kicked right in with us and was a perfect fit.

“A little bit of youth versus my curling quite a while and it seemed to click. It got us right to the final.”

Also curling with Hilderman were Trent Derkatch and Bob Walker.

Ray, Dustin and Williamson represented the Whitehorse club at the Dominion Club Championships last November in Ontario, taking ninth. Curling with a different rink, Ray also competed at the senior national last month – a spot he beat Hilderman for – but did not advance into the main draw. He also competed at the Brier in 2002.

“It was a nervous game; both teams were really nervous out there,” said Ray of Sunday’s final. “There weren’t too many shots made by the skips, that’s for sure. I just made one more than he did, that’s all.

“Neither skip was really on his game today.”

Whitehorse’s Team Hewitt defeated Atlin’s Team MacInnis, scoring five in the last end to secure the win, in the women’s B final.

Curling with skip Jaime Hewitt was lead Aline Goncalves, third Diane Huber and second Patty Wallingham.

The only title to leave the territory was the men’s B. Alaska’s Team Hill, skipped by Dave Hill, defeated Atlin’s Skip Hale and his team 10-5 to win the men’s B division.

Doug Gee’s Whitehorse team won 6-5 over Adam Tremblay’s rink in the men’s C final.

Pat Banks’s team won 8-4 over Laura Eby’s rink in the women’s C final. Both teams are from Whitehorse.

Team Wallingham curled to a 7-5 win over Lorne Diakow’s team in the men’s D final.

Skip Joe Wallingham was a member of Mitch Young’s team at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships in February, helping the team secure five wins to place ninth.

Whitehorse junior rink Team Horte defeated Team White, skipped by Marg White, 8-1 in the final of women’s D.

Team Horte, skipped by Bailey Horte, won silver at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games a year ago in Whitehorse.

Twenty-two men’s teams and 14 women’s teams competed at the this year’s bonspiel.

Contact Tom Patrick at

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