Get ready to cheer for Team Hilderman and Team Johnson this spring.
The two Whitehorse rinks will represent Yukon at the 2015 Canadian Masters Curling Championship – which will be hosted by the Whitehorse Curling Club – it was decided over the weekend.
Team Hilderman went undefeated to win the men’s Yukon Masters Curling Championship at the Whitehorse club, earning a berth to the nationals.
Team Johnson was the only women’s masters team to register for the women’s championships and therefore received a spot at nationals outright.
It’s going to be pretty neat to be a home team at a national championship, said skip George Hilderman.
“I’m looking forward to that,” said Hilderman. “That’s very special because we’re going to showcase our club here, we’re going to showcase the city. And what makes it special for me is I love this ice, so I think we may be able to do a good showing.
“We have one of the best ice surfaces in North American, so it really builds your confidence and makes you a stronger player here.”
Team Hilderman, which includes third Gordon Zealand, second Clarence Jack and lead Richard Trimble, secured the spot with three straight wins. They won 9-1 over Team Young, 10-1 over Team Tuton and then 7-6 over Tuton in their closest of the weekend. Hilderman scored two in the eighth to push an extra end where they scored one for the win.
With the men’s title already in hand, Hilderman then won 10-4 over Team Young on Sunday for good measure.
“It all came together, but the opposition played very well against us today,” said Hilderman. “We really had to pull out all we had.”
Team Tuton – skip Craig Tuton, third Pat Molloy, second Bob Walker and lead Barry Mole – placed second with a pair of wins over Team Young, which placed third/last.
Second place could potentially lead to a spot at the nationals, should a province or territory choose not to enter a team. P.E.I. forfeited their spot at last year’s championship in Coaldale, Alberta.
Both Hilderman and Johnson competed at last year’s championships in Coaldale.
Team Hilderman, which had Paul Warner playing lead, went 2-6 with one-point losses to the top three finishing teams.
Team Johnson includes skip Ellen Johnson, third Elaine Sumner, second Ev Pasichnyk and lead Nancy Kowalyshen. Last year in Coaldale, Team Johnson went 0-9.
The Masters, which is for athletes 60 and over, will be the first national championship hosted by the Whitehorse Curling Club since it housed the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship in 2006.
The Championship is sanctioned by the Canadian Curling Association and will take place March 29 to April 5.
“It depends on the ice surface, but since we’re playing here, we play fairly aggressive,” said Hilderman. “If we have the opportunity, we will go around guards. Gord and Clarence hit quite well, so if we have to go into defensive mode, we can do it.”
“I’m excited,” he added. “I think it’s going to be great to represent our club and our city.
“I always throw well on this ice, so I think it’s going to be good.”
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