Team Paslawski had the hammer when they needed it the most Sunday morning.
The Whitehorse rink used it to nail down their first territorial title at the Yukon Men’s Curling Championships at the Whitehorse Curling Club.
Skip Pat Paslawski, which includes third Doug Hamilton, second Alexx Peech and lead Trent Derkatch, went undefeated at the championships, winning five straight round-robin games, for the title.
“It was a close field, we had two extra-end games,” said Paslawski. “One of the extra-end games came down to a measure where we had to measure to see who was shot (rock). Everything fell our way this weekend.”
By chance, the only two undefeated teams by Sunday morning met in the final draw in the round-robin, making the game essentially a final.
Down by one going into the 10th end, Team Paslawski scored two with the hammer for a 6-5 win over Team Scoffin.
With the Yukon title, Team Paslawski will be “Yukon 1” and the runner-up Team Scoffin will be “Yukon 2” when they play N.W.T.’s top two teams at the N.W.T./Yukon playdowns early next month in Whitehorse.
The top team after the playdown will earn the two territories’ one spot at the Tim Hortons Brier – the Canadian men’s championship – in March.
“I’ve been Yukon 2 a couple of times, but I’ve never been Yukon champion,” said Paslawski. “It’s cool. In the long run it means something, it’s nice to have the title, but it doesn’t really help us going into the next level of playdowns because we just start over there.
“But it’s nice to get our names on a trophy. For the guys on my team it means a lot, especially the guys who haven’t done this before.”
Team Scoffin skip Wade Scoffin has also played in the N.W.T./Yukon playdowns and with success.
He and teammate Clint Ireland won the playdown and went to the Brier in 2008, which was the last time a Yukon team competed at the national men’s championship. Scoffin also competed at the
Brier in 2002 and as an alternate in 1997.
On board with Scoffin is Steve Fecteau throwing third, Mitchell Young second, and Ireland as lead. Team coach Kevin Patterson filled in for Young in the final game on Sunday as Young had to return to school in Alberta.
The team wants that Brier spot. “That’s why we entered this year,” said Scoffin. “We’ve certainly been working hard and we’ve done a little bit of travelling. With Mitch being down in Calgary, we’ve gone down for events where he’s at and he’s obviously come back to play with us at different times. So we’ve been putting in some time and lots of practice.
“We’re feeling good. The format of the next level, being a double round-robin and being at our home, is something we’re really comfortable with from past experiences.”
Since the N.W.T. men’s championships will take place in two weeks, it has not been decided which two teams will travel to Whitehorse for the territorial playdowns. However, included in the three
Yellowknife teams registered is that of Jamie Koe.
Koe has made seven Brier appearances, including the last five in a row. In 2012 his team went 7-4 in the round-robin, making the playoffs and placing fourth for his best finish to date. Koe is the brother of 2010 world curling champ and 2010 Brier winner Kevin Koe, who plays out of Alberta.
The Yukon title is Team Paslawski’s second big feat of the season.
The rink became the first male team from the territory to reach the playoffs of the Dominion Curling Club Championships in Thunder Bay, Ont., this past November. They lost to Saskatchewan in the semifinal.
“It’s already been quite a season,” said Paslawski. “We’re having fun and that’s a great thing. Success is nice, but to have a bunch of guys who really enjoy curling together is pretty sweet.”
Paslawski has curled at two mixed nationals in 1995 and 1997, and the Tim Hortons Brier in 1999 with Peech’s father. A trip to the Brier this year would be his first as a skip.
“That’s a long way away, we’d have to curl really well,” said Paslawski. “It would be a real thrill to be a skip at the Brier. To take these guys would mean a lot to me. They place a lot of trust in me and I appreciate that and it’s something I’d like to do for them.”
Six teams competed at the Yukon championships over the weekend. Bob Smallwood’s team placed third with a 3-2 record, ahead of Gord Zealand’s rink in fourth with a 2-3 record.
Team Wallingham placed fifth with one win and Team Mikkelsen went winless.
“It was great to have a lot of good competition out there,” said Paslawski. “There have been years recently where there haven’t been many teams entered, so it was nice to have six strong, competitive teams out there. I really enjoyed the camaraderie, the sportsmanship. There was lots of laughing and smiling and kidding back and forth.”
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org