Rock on!

It came down to last rock. After a three-hour epic that went to an extra end, Nanaimo, BC’s Waatainen rink came away with the $10,000…

It came down to last rock.

After a three-hour epic that went to an extra end, Nanaimo, BC’s Waatainen rink came away with the $10,000 first-place prize at the Skookum World Curling Tour Cashspiel this weekend at the Whitehorse Curling Club.

It was Sexsmith, Alberta’s, Ron Chrenek who came up short with the hammer in the extra end, after controlling most of the game.

Skip Steve Waatainen said his team struggled a bit early in the final, but he orchestrated a comeback from a 3-0 deficit, to tie the game by stealing a point in the eighth end for a 5-4 win.

“I think we were throwing quite well, but we weren’t getting breaks like we were in our last game,” said Waatainen after the win.

Waatainen said that there were noticeable changes in the ice on Sunday, calling it “a little wonky,” for the semis and the final, and that “a rock that should curl four feet was only getting about six inches.”

The Nanaimo rink eliminated defending champ Randy Ferbey’s rink in the semi-finals.

“Everything seemed to go our way against Ferbey, and they had some bad breaks as well, but hey, that’s curling.”

Waatainen’s rink suffered a rocky start to the tournament, which had Ferbey, a five-time world champion, and Rick Folk, also a world champ, in the draw.

“We started off pretty slow, we lost the first two, and had to win the next three just to qualify,” said Waatainen.

“By the last game of the round-robin, we started to click, and it just got better.”

In fact, its first game was against Ferbey, and they lost.

“Whenever we lose against a team, we always seem to pay them back,” said Jeff MacPheat, Waatainen’s third.

The timing couldn’t have been better for the payback, in the semis against the defending champ.

“Well, it’s nerve-wracking,” said MacPheat, when asked about squaring off against a curling legend like Ferbey. “The more you play them, the more you understand that anybody can win out there, anything can happen. Our team, we’re grinders, we don’t give up — we knew we had a chance coming in here.”

MacPheat, who grew up in Ross River, and went to the junior nationals for the Yukon at 15 with Chad Cowan’s rink, had a bit of a hometown crowd cheering him on this weekend.

“I think it’s great, I always wanted to come back up here to curl,” he said. “Last year, when I heard they were hosting an event, I went to my team and said, “Let’s go, let’s go,” — but we’d already committed to Seattle at that time.”

Waatainen’s rink plans to return next year to defend its title, and following a four-year plan to make it to the Vancouver Olympics.

The emergence of a real competition speaks to the growing cachet that the Whitehorse event is starting to attract.

The draw of 18 teams included eight teams from outside the territory.

“Initially, we had to lure Ferbey up here last year — and he didn’t bring his full team,” said James Buyck, one of the Cashspiel organizers.

“This time, it didn’t take much to convince his teammates to come up as well. The word got out.”

“In the grand scheme of things, the curling community is quite small and when you have a good event, word of mouth goes a long way,” added Buyck. “That’s our whole goal, to get real competitive curling here, not just for the viewership, but to give our local curlers the competition to get better as well.”

Skookum World Curling Tour Cashspiel

Money finishers:

1st Team Waatainen, Nanaimo, BC — $10,000

2nd Team Chrenek, Sexsmith Alberta Ú $6,000

3rd Team Ferbey, Edmonton, Alberta — $3,500

4th Team Thomas, Calgary, Alberta — $3,500

5th Team Folk, Kelowna, BC — $1,750

6th Team Solberg, Whitehorse, Yukon — $1,750

7th Team Fraser, Whitehorse, Yukon — $1,750

8th Team Cowan, Whitehorse, Yukon — $1,750

Just Posted

A new leash on life: Injured Whitehorse pup settles into new home

‘I think now he’s less of a perfect dog but he’s more himself’

Yukon well represented in Olympic ski relays

‘It’s always rewarding when you’re racing for a team’

Yukon government launches new website and logo

Opposition slams $500K project cost as a waste

Former Whitehorse gas station employee sues over alleged sexual harassment, assault

Susan Lynn Keleher alleges there was a ‘campaign’ of sexual harassment and assault against her

Tagish dog rescue owner says she’s euthanized 10 dogs

Shelley Cuthbert said she put down 10 dogs after surrendering them to the animal health unit Feb. 15

No Resource Gateway construction work this season, YG says

‘We’re not as advanced as we would have liked to have been but we still are advancing’

Former Whitehorse RCMP officer gets conditional discharge for sexual assault

Judge Richard Scheider sided with the defence’s argument that conditional discharge was appropriate

Tagish dog rescue owner asks court to change dog surrender order

Shelley Cuthbert is asking for changes to an order requiring her to surrender 10 dogs per month

Team Yukon has strong showing at Whistler Super Youth and Timber Tour

‘Anwyn absolutely destroyed the competition’

Yukon skier turns in personal best at Junior World Championships

‘It was another great international racing experience’

Most Canadians believe journalism plays critical role in democracy: poll

Survey suggests 94 per cent of Canadians feel journalism plays ‘important’ part

Yukon child care deal to fund grandparents, courses for caregivers

‘How this is completely going to look, we’re still working on’

Full house for annual Native Bonspiel in Haines Junction

The 36th annual Yukon Native Bonspiel from Feb. 2 to 4 saw… Continue reading

Most Read