Unlike two teams that travelled all the way to Mont-Royal, Quebec, to compete at the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship last week, Team Yukon got to compete.
The teams that finished in the bottom four spots at last year’s mixed nationals, including Yukon, had to compete in a double-elimination qualifier in which the top two teams would advance into the main draw.
Team Yukon, made up of skip Steve Fecteau, third Helen Strong, second Wade Scoffin and lead Patty Wallingham, defeated Newfoundland and Labrador 9-4 and Nunavut 10-4 to advance.
“That was definitely a disappointing circumstance for Newfoundland and Nunavut,” said Scoffin. “The athletes and competitors were very clear with their disappointment with this format for the national championship.
“The format could be done a lot of different ways and the players do want to have all 14 of the member associations represented for the full duration of the national championship.”
Team Yukon had less success in the main event, going 0-11 for last.
Fecteau and his team had some close losses along the way. They lost 9-5 to third-place Quebec, 9-3 to Nova Scotia, who went on to take silver, and 7-4 to Manitoba.
Playing Manitoba, Yukon took a one-point lead in the seventh end before Manitoba scored two in the eighth end and two in the ninth.
“We actually had a really good week,” said Scoffin. “We didn’t have high expectations. We were going into the competition to be competitive. This was also the first time Steve had taken the reins of being a skip at a major national championship.
“It was a big learning curve for the whole team.”
It was Scoffin and Strong’s third time representing the Yukon at the mixed national and Fecteau’s second. Scoffin has also curled at three Briers.
Wallingham represented the Yukon in curling at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax, helping Team Koltun finish fifth. She continues to curl with Whitehorse’s Sarah Koltun.
In Team Koltun’s first Women’s World Curling Tour in October, the team went 5-2 for third place at the Valley First Crown of Curling in Kamloops, B.C.
“Patty Wallingham, who is one of the juniors on Sarah Koltun’s team, was our lead,” said Scoffin. “We wanted to provide her a great opportunity to gain a lot of experience. One of her strongest games was our last game , against Alberta, where we played Cheryl Bernard. The stats show that she curled an 88 per cent game.”
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