Always love the approach to February. It often means winter is waning – a particularly good thing this year given the lack of quality of road clearing in my neighbourhood.
It also means spring training (MLB) is nigh, regular seasons in junior hockey are ending and the playoffs are on the near horizon, and curling playdowns are coming, often to a curling club near you, with important events scheduled for broadcast in that sport, again on the near horizon.
A curling club near you is on the list of provincial final playdown sites this year. The Trail Curling Club will be hosting the B.C. senior (50+) championships Feb. 19-24.
Among the contenders are players from the local super league. The top Kootenay team, unbeaten at the Creston qualifier, was the van Yzerloo rink, with players from Trail and Castlegar. Number two from the region is Tom Buchy’s team, with local Rob Ferguson at third.
On the women’s side, Heather Nichol’s super league team from Castlegar was unbeaten at the qualifiers and provides local rooting interest, as well.
So, Castlegar skips have yet to lose a game along the way to the provincials, for whatever that is worth.
An interesting sidelight to the seniors event is the breadth of the catchment areas from which teams are composed. For context, teams used be drawn together from their local clubs, then it was from within the local zones.
The same was once true of all levels of competition. I was once disqualified from attending a zone playdown in Nelson because I had played more games in one club (The Shift Club) than the other (Trail Men’s Club, from which I had drawn together a zone team) from within the same (Trail Curling Club) building.
Not to worry. We put together a Shift Club team that went unbeaten up to an extra end loss to local legend (who won the zone) Buzz McGibney in the knockout round.
The two teams that qualified from the mainland senior men’s playdown this year have curlers from throughout the southern part of the province. The Wright rink has players from Vancouver Island, two different lower mainland clubs, and Kelowna. The Lepine rink has players from clubs in Penticton, Vancouver, Langley and Cloverdale.
Kind of makes Rob Ferguson hooking up with an across-summit Cranbrook squad a non-event, and his club origin is not even listed separately in the playdown guide.
That’s the way it is in curling these days, now that the top dogs are more interested in money than tradition. I think it is a bit sad, but maybe that is just me.
Anyway, there is curling spectating to be had soon, if you are interested.
• There is one local junior hockey game wanting your support this weekend. Beaver Valley hosts Golden at the Hawk’s Nest Saturday night.
The Smokies, probably only a couple of points away from officially clinching a playoff spot but in need of a run to get close to hope for a home ice start in those playoffs, are in Salmon Arm to face a Silverbacks team they have not seen for three months, in a doubleheader.
I don’t pay much attention to it, but NHL All-Star weekend is on tap if you need a hockey fix.