Not since 2008 has a Yukon men’s rink made it to the Brier, the Canadian Men’s Curling Championships. But, perhaps, this is the year N.W.T. will be the one to miss out.
The Yukon will have two well-matched, experienced rinks to face N.W.T. at the Yukon/N.W.T. Men’s Championships next month. The winning team gets the one spot available at the Brier for the two territories.
This past weekend was the Yukon’s Men’s Level 2 Playdown, the territory’s seeding process, at the Whitehorse Curling Club.
Taking the No. 1 seed was Team Hilderman while Team Solberg secured No. 2.
Hilderman swept up the top seed in a close best-of-three showdown, winning 10-8, losing 8-4 and then capturing the top-seed with a 9-4 victory on Sunday.
“This last game was probably my team’s best effort this year,” said skip George Hilderman. “We came out and were all firing on all four cylinders, so I’m really proud of my guys.”
“The team we played today was a much better team than us and I hope their play carries over to the next level because typically the territorial teams stick together and help each other out as much as possible,” said No. 2’s skip, Jon Solberg.
“If George and his crew play the same way they did this weekend, they’ll do very well at the next level. For ourselves, we have a little bit of work to do to prepare.”
Joining Hilderman on the team are third Gord Zealand, second Pat Molloy and lead Bob Walker. On board with Solberg are third Doug Gee, second Steve Fecteau and lead Clint Ireland.
Hilderman, who is going for his first Brier appearance, has played at three Canadian Senior Curling Championships, while teammate Molloy played in the 2004 Brier.
Solberg has played in a few Briers in addition to Gee and Ireland also making appearances.
Making the trip into Whitehorse for the Yukon/N.W.T. playdown are teams led by Yellowknife’s Jamie Koe and Steve Moss.
“It’s going to be really close; it’ll be anybody’s game,” said Hilderman. “You have to be hot for that weekend and hopefully, if we can keep playing the way we did this last game, I’m sure we’ll have a shot at it. I think it’s going to be four evenly matched teams.”
On the women’s side of things, no Yukon rink came forward to play in the territorial playdown. Therefore, the top-seeded women’s rink from N.W.T. will get a free pass to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Red Deer next month.
This year’s Tim Hortons Brier will take place in Saskatoon March 3-11.
The men’s Yukon/N.W.T. Men’s Championships is scheduled for Feb. 9 to 12 and will be played at the Whitehorse Curling Club. It would be nice to get a Yukon cheering section out for some of the games, added Hilderman.
“Hopefully we can get some local crowds out here,” said Hilderman. “We need the support.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org