Yukon rink has best ever showing at club nationals

Never before has a Yukon curling team done so well at the Dominion Curling Club Championship, which wrapped up Saturday in Richmond, BC.

Never before has a Yukon curling team done so well at the Dominion Curling Club Championship, which wrapped up Saturday in Richmond, BC.

Team Yukon’s men’s rink, from the Whitehorse Curling Club, went 3-3 to place seventh out of 14.

And they were so close to reaching the playdowns – a quarter inch, to be specific.

“When we lost our last game, against Northern Ontario, again we lost that in the eighth end,” said skip Scott Hamilton. “The guy made a nice shot behind the centre guard and I tried to chip him out, but it didn’t go far enough by a quarter of an inch.

“We were a quarter inch from being in the playdowns,” said Hamilton. “It’s definitely a game of inches.

“But we’re very proud of how we did … it let us know that we definitely had a shot at that thing.”

In the rink’s first appearance at the championships, Team Yukon defeated NWT and New Brunswick 5-4 and then BC 7-5, stealing two in the eighth end for the win.

“We started with a game against Alberta, and that’s the game I guess we got beat the worse, by four or five points,” said Hamilton. “But Alberta ended up winning the whole thing, so we’re certainly comfortable with having lost to them.”

The rink, which includes Walter Wallingham, Ed Kormendy and Curtis Kuzma, gained entry to the championship by winning the Whitehorse Curling Club Championship last February and then a best-of-three series against a rink from the Atlin Curling Club.

“We’ve only been together two years,” said Hamilton. “Our first year was feeling each other out, developing the team, and then we got more serious last year. We forewent the playoffs to the Brier last year to focus on the Dominion, so this was our first major event.

“We’re quite happy with how we did and we’re very much looking forward to, hopefully, going again.”

Yukon also had representation on the women’s side of the tournament, but from the Atlin Curling Club.

Though the team, featuring Sherry MacInnis, Bev Murphy, JoAnne Snobelen and Janis Harper, went winless on the ice, for last, they were the biggest winners off the sheets.

With all of Canada’s provinces and territories represented, the team from Atlin won the charity fundraising competition, raising more than $5,000 for the British Columbia Paraplegic Association.

“We did it in one night, more or less, at a music night,” said Harper, who plays lead. “Local musicians came together for the music night and we made chili, had an auction with local art work, a 50/50 draw and people were just incredibly generous.

“The only competition in the fundraiser was the team from Nunavut,” she added. “There must be something about these small northern communities.”

Just to be clear, Atlin, a town of about 400, out fundraised 13 other clubs from across Canada.

In doing so, the rink was awarded $1,000 for the Atlin club, “And I won the 50/50 draw down there, so there’s another $500 for the club,” said Harper. “So our curling club comes away pretty good, even though we didn’t win any games.”

The presence of Darryl Tait, the young man paralyzed in a snowmobile accident two years ago whose parents live in Atlin, helped loosen some purse strings, said Harper.

“He came down and his family and him put on a slideshow about how his life has changed since his accident. I’m sure that helped make people a little more generous.”

“We got to sit with them at the closing banquet,” said Hamilton. “It really brought tears to your eyes that a community of 400 people came together, out of all of Canada, and was the largest charity gatherers and donators.”

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