Curlers were throwing granite with unusual finesse in the Skins Spiel at the Whitehorse Curling Club, finishing on Sunday.
Under the skins format, curlers were less concerned with accumulating lots of points and more with winning ends.
“It’s a totally different game playing skins,” said Team Young lead Spencer Wallace. “There are different strategies. You aren’t curling for points, you’re just trying to get those one or two rocks in the house – that’s all that matters.
“It’s a long game. Shots take a lot longer, to make and decide them.”
In the end, two very different teams topped the money list in the open bonspiel.
Team Young, a junior rink, tied with Team Zealand, a senior rink, with $270 each.
“It went well and thankfully Herb didn’t beat up on me or anything like that,” joked Team Zealand skip Gord Zealand. “I think the skins games was a great idea because it evened things out and gave people a chance, no matter where you’re at or where you weren’t, in terms of getting your money back.
“We were playing things we’d normally never play.”
Joining Wallace on the junior squad was skip Mitch Young, third Will Mahoney, and second Joe Wallingham.
On board with Zealand was third Herb Balsam, second Bob Walker and lead Clarence Jack.
“We’ve all curled around each other for a number of years, but this is the first year that we’re curling together as a foursome,” said Zealand. “We know each other and we enjoy curling together.”
Placing third with $230 was Team Bedrock with skip George Hilderman, third Walter Wallingham, second Scott Hamilton and lead Ed Kormendy.
Team Young wasn’t the only junior rink curling for cash at the spiel. Team Horte, who captured silver at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games, finished in fourth with $215. Team Koltun, another junior rink, placed fifth with $160, one spot behind Team Tags with $175.
With eight teams competing, the turnout for the competition was half the size organizers were hoping for. They, therefore, lowered the entry fee and, conversely, the prize money.
“There are a lot of competitive teams outside the Yukon right now,” said Matt Bustin, business manager of the Whitehorse Curling Club. “We have two teams at the Dominion (club championships) and one at the mixed nationals. And the team at the Canadian mixed is made up from four members from different teams.
“I think it’s just a bad weekend. There are some curlers who just came back from a Fairbanks cashspiel and they can only curl so much. And a couple other curlers went to Toronto for the Grey Cup.”
Team Young took fifth place at the 2012 Leduc Lions Junior Bonspiel, in Leduc, Alta., earlier this month. They also won bronze at the Men’s World Curling Tour Flatiron Challenge in Lacombe, Alta., at the start of the season.
Young, Horte and Koltun will be playing in the Yukon Junior Championships in December. The winning boys team and winning girls team will go on to represent the territory at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships next year in Fort McMurray, Alta.
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