Team Yukon set a high watermark for the territory at the 2015 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship last week.
The team of skip Bob Smallwood, third Nicole Baldwin, second Wade Scoffin and lead Jody Smallwood took five wins and four losses at the championship in North Bay, Ont.
That is the first time a Yukon rink has returned with a winning record this millennium. (Canadian Curling Association records for the championship only go back to 2000.)
“It was another good experience,” said Bob. “The more nationals, the more high caliber games you play, the better you’re going to get.”
There is only one instance of a Yukon team producing more wins at the championship since 2000 and that was when Yellowknife’s Jamie Koe, who was representing both N.W.T. and Yukon at the time, went 6-5 in 2006.
The Smallwood team, which finished in 10th overall, went 2-4 in their pool to start the championship. They were a win short of qualifying for the championship pool, but went on to place second in the seeding pool, which will benefit the next Yukon rink to go.
Yukon placed in front of New Brunswick, P.E.I., Newfoundland and Nunavut.
“We had to win more to qualify for the championship playoff – they were only taking eight teams, four out of each pool,” said Bob.
“All the games we did win, we didn’t go the whole eight ends. We beat them pretty handedly. We beat B.C. – that one sort of stands out.
“Our losses weren’t bad, we just got run out of rocks. A couple shots either way and it would have been a much closer game.”
Yukon opened with a 10-1 win over New Brunswick and also beat Team B.C., which went on to place fourth.
Following a pair of losses on Nov. 12, Yukon defeated Nunavut 13-2 the next day.
They wrapped up with 8-3 over P.E.I. and 7-2 over Newfoundland.
Yukon lost 10-4 to N.W.T.‘s Jamie Koe, who went on to take silver with a loss to Saskatchewan in the final.
The Smallwoods, who are husband and wife, played with two other curlers at last year’s mixed nationals, where they didn’t make it through a pre-qualifier competition that was not included in this year’s format.
“After talking to Wade and Nicole, we decided to hang together and give it a shot for next year,” said Bob.
Scoffin and Bob plan to put together a men’s team for the Yukon Men’s Curling Championships with the hope of making it to the Brier – the Canadian men’s championship. Bob has previously competed at two Briers and Scoffin at three.
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