There was a bit of controversy in the curling community this time last year when Jon Solberg, business manager of the Whitehorse Curling Club, decided to play for NWT’s Team Koe, eventually defeating Yukon’s Team Cowan for a spot at the Tim Hortons Brier.
This time around Solberg is skipping for his own team out of the Yukon, but to get to the Brier his team will have to defeat both NWT and Cowan in playdowns February 6-9 in Whitehorse.
“We had lots of fun and we enjoyed ourselves curling as a team out there,” said Solberg, speaking of this past weekend. “There was no pressure and there is absolutely no pressure at these levels, so it just makes it that much more enjoyable for us.”
However, it is looking like Team Cowan, headed by Whitehorse’s Chad Cowan, will have the advantage, taking first in the 2010 Yukon Men’s Championship last weekend at the Whitehorse Curling Club.
“It was a great weekend - both Jon Solberg and myself had 5-1 records,” said Team Cowan’s second, Wade Scoffin. “They were great games and we did do a tiebreaker process.
“All three of the games were really close and we had good competition from the other teams that were in the playdown as well.”
The Cowan and Solberg teams defeated Team Paslawski and Team Zealand in round-robin play to find themselves in a tie for first with 5-1 records. Going to a tiebreaker, Team Cowan won 7-4 taking a 2-0 lead after one end and more or less maintaining the spread.
“We then just exchanged points back and forth, so we maintained that buffer,” said Scoffin. “There wasn’t one big thing that happened. We just kept the lead we had by having the last rock advantage from the beginning of the game and just went from there.”
As a result, Team Cowan will be the Yukon’s No. 1 and Solberg’s will be No. 2 as they welcome NWT teams yet to be determined for a playdown to get to the Brier, Canada’s men’s curling championship, being held March 6-14 in Halifax.
Joining Cowan and Scoffin on the team are James Buyck throwing third and lead Clint Ireland. On Team Solberg are Robert Smallwood throwing third, Douglas Gee throwing second and lead Darol Stuart. Every member of both teams has made a trip to the Brier at one point or another. Team Cowan went to the Brier in 2008, going 2-9 at the championships.
“Darol Stuart and I went to the Brier in 2002 together,” said Solberg.
The Yukon also had a women’s team in Yellowknife last weekend vying for a chance to represent both territories at the 2010 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Taking on two NWT rinks in a triple round-robin, Yukon’s Team Grant, headed by Whitehorse’s Leslie Grant, ended the robin tied with the NWT rinks, forcing a tiebreaker.
Facing NWT’s Team Cormier in the tiebreaker, Team Grant lost 8-5 after going up 2-1 to start the third end. The win gave Team Cormier the ticket to the Scotties.
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