Baldwin, Wallingham on the button at bonspiel

The "Ice Queens" was the name of Nicole Baldwin's curling rink at the Whitehorse Curling Club's 60th annual International Bonspiel. Now it seems more like an official title.

The “Ice Queens” was the name of Nicole Baldwin’s curling rink at the Whitehorse Curling Club’s 60th annual International Bonspiel.

Now it seems more like an official title.

Baldwin, the Whitehorse team’s skip, third Kerry Campbell, second Ladene Shaw and lead Tiffany Jewell captured the Ladies A title in a 9-3 win over Laura Eby’s Whitehorse rink in Sunday’s final.

“We had a lot of challenging shots, but it just ended in our favour that we stole a couple ends,” said Baldwin. “It’s always great to play with diverse people in bonspiels and have some good laughs. It’s all about good fun, hilarious memories and great friendships.”

It was Baldwin’s seventh time winning the bonspiel, which this year saw a total of 17 women’s teams and 26 men’s teams, including rinks from Alaska, Alberta and B.C.

She has also twice been a finalist.

“It’s good because I’ve noticed, throughout it all, I’ve played with different people,” said Baldwin, who has won it once before with Shaw. “So it’s been really fun.”

In the men’s A division, Whitehorse’s Team Wallingham took the title with an 8-3 win over Pat Paslawski’s rink. On board for the win was skip Walter Wallingham, third Scott Hamilton, second Wayne Braga and lead Ed Kormendy.

It was Wallingham’s first time winning it.

“We were pretty excited, being that it was the 60th,” said Wallingham. “I know my third (Scott Hamilton) had won it before quite some time ago.

“I’ve been curling with Scott – we used to curl in the juniors back in the ‘70s. We took about 10, 12 years off because of family. But we decided to get back into it a couple years ago and we finally did well in the spiel.”

Taking the Ladies B division title was Terri Ducharme’s rink from Whitehorse. Alberta’s Buck Bernie’s rink took the men’s.

Whitehorse’s Donna Scott and her team won the Ladies C championships. Frank Taylor’s rink from Whitehorse won the corresponding men’s title.

Bailey Horte and her “FTL” junior girls rink from Whitehorse won Ladies D and Wade Scoffin’s “BS Squared” rink – another Whitehorse winner – captured the Men’s D title.

Baldwin returned to curling this season after a couple years off. She competed at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts – the women’s Canadian championships – with N.W.T.‘s Kerry Galusha in 2007.

She also produced a 6-6 record at the 1999 Canadian Junior Championships, a feat unmatched by any other Yukon rink until 2011.

Wallingham, Hamilton and Kormendy recently produced the strongest finish ever by a Yukon rink at the Dominion Curling Club Championship last November in Richmond, B.C. The team, which included Whitehorse’s Curtis Kuzma, went 3-3 to place seventh out of 14.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bonspiel, organizers put a little more pomp into the event. The opening ceremony featured a presentation of the Yukon’s two medal winning teams from the Arctic Winter Games, the Yukon’s gold medal winning rink from the Special Olympics Winter Games and the ceremonial first rock was thrown by Whitehorse’s Thomas Scoffin. Scoffin helped Canada win a bronze at the Youth Olympics in January. The bonspiel also had two evening galas with live music.

“I just go for the fun,” said Baldwin. “The organization and the volunteers make that bonspiel.

“It was the 60th, so it was a big one. And it was awesome – the extra special things they had going on. It kept everyone entertained and mingling.”

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