Yukoners will send a lot of granite down the ice in some big playdowns over the coming weeks.
On the line are spots at the Brier, the Scotties, the Canadian Senior Championships, plus Canadian junior titles and some Canada Winter Games medals.
However, some rinks will be busier than others.
If his rinks play well, Whitehorse skip John Yeulet could be on his way to two national championships.
Over the weekend, Yeulet, along with third Herb Balsam, second Dennis Connolly and lead Bob Walker, won the Yukon Senior Men’s Curling Championships. Team Yeulet defeated Team Hilderman, featuring George Hilderman, Pat Molloy, Dale Enzenaur and Gord Zealand, 10-5 and 7-5 in a best-of-three showdown.
“My team was curling fairly well and their team had a few misses,” said Yeulet.
With only two teams entered, both get to represent the territory at the Yukon/NWT playdown in Yellowknife next month, with Yeulet as “Yukon 1” and Hilderman as “Yukon 2.” The playdown will determine which team gets to represent both territories at the Canadian Masters Championships in March.
“We haven’t seen who our competition is (in Yellowknife), but it’s curling, you never know,” said Yeulet. “One weekend you can do well and the next weekend not so well.
“We’re curling well, so hopefully we’ll do OK.”
But that’s not all for Yeulet. With only two teams entered in the Yukon Men’s Championships this weekend, Yeulet is also guaranteed a spot in the men’s territorial playdown, which will determine which team represents the territories at the Brier, Canada’s men’s championship. This weekend Yeulet, who has played once at the Brier and three times at the senior nationals, will be with the same rink as last weekend, with the exception of Connolly, who is replaced by Zealand from Team Hilderman.
The coming month will also be a busy one for some junior curlers.
Skips Thomas Scoffin and Sarah Koltun have the two big competitions of the season packed into a few weeks.
First up is the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Championships next week in Calgary. Scoffin will be there with teammates Josh Burns, Mitchell Young and Will Mahoney while Koltun will be with Chelsea Duncan, Linea Eby and Jenna Duncan.
The skips will then head to Halifax for the Canada Winter Games as part of Team Yukon. At the Games, Scoffin will be backed
by Kurtis Hills, Michael Hare and brother Andrew Scoffin. Koltun’s team will be almost the same with Patti Wallingham replacing Chelsea Duncan.
The playdown to determine the team to represent the territories at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Canada’s women’s championships, will be determined this weekend at the Whitehorse Curling Club. Taking on the visiting Yellowknife rinks are Team Baldwin, consisting of Nicole Baldwin, Kerry Campbell, Ladene Shaw and Lisa Abel, and Team Hewitt, featuring Jaime Hewitt, Leslie Grant, Corinne Delaire and Dianne Huber.
The Yukon will have representation in the senior women’s division as well. With only one rink throwing its hat into the ring, (another) Team Yeulet, featuring Arlene Yeulet, Cindy Burnie, Marg White and Darleen Hutton from Mayo will battle NWT teams for the spot at the Masters.
It will be an easier road to the Masters for senior teams beginning next season. It was announced in September the Yukon and NWT curling associations brokered a deal with the Canadian Curling Association to allow each territory an automatic spot in the senior championships. It will be the first time both territories are represented at a senior Canadian championships.
The same change will be applied to the men’s and women’s championships – the Brier and the Scotties – in the coming years.
“That’s a bit more complex because there’s big dollars with sponsorships and television and all sorts of different things,” said Wade Scoffin, president of the Yukon Curling Association. “They are wanting to be more cautious with proceeding, as compared to these events that aren’t quite as high profile and have more flexibility to be able to do that.”
It doesn’t end there. At the end of this month two junior teams will compete at the International Children’s Games in Kelowna, BC. Making the trip are Kelly Mahoney, Bailey Horte, Kelsey Meger, Nicole Gauvin, Sian Molloy, Joe Wallingham, Brayden Klassen, Liam Finnegan, Bailey Muir-Cressman and Shawn Kitchen.
More information can be found at the Yukon Curling Association’s fancy new website at www.yukoncurling.ca.
Contact Tom Patrick at