Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Provincial Men's Curling Championship

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Alberta 'rookies' get first taste of Toba playdowns

SELKIRK -- They're curling veterans, but they're rookies this week.

Former Alberta men's champions Don Walchuk and Kevin Park will make their debut in Manitoba men's curling here today as thirds for Kerry Burtnyk and Jeff Stoughton respectively.

Walchuk, 45, joked that he had humble expectations this week. "This is my first time," laughed the former world champion and Olympic silver medallist, "and it is hard for rookies to win."

Walchuk also found some comedy during team practices Tuesday. The ice was littered with sand tracked in from the parking lot -- the problem will be fixed by first rocks this morning -- and Walchuk had an observation. "I was joking with them and said, 'What? You guys don't know how to run a championship here? What is all this crap?' "

Park, meanwhile, was the butt of jokes from his eavesdropping teammates as he pondered being a rookie again.

"I'm getting a bit of a hazing," Park conceded. "Dual citizenship and all."

 

Unrequited hostility

REID CARRUTHERS third Dan Kammerlock -- who won this event last year as third for Kerry Burtnyk before being fired by the hall of famer just two months later -- didn't mince words Tuesday when asked what it would be like to play his former skip here this week.

"It'd be very special to win that one," said Kammerlock. "Definitely. That goes without saying."

When asked if he still speaks to Burtnyk occasionally, Kammerlock was equally blunt. "I have nothing to say to him," he said.

Burtnyk, on the other hand, said playing Kammerlock this week would be like playing anyone else and he had some kind words for his former third.

"When Dan was with me, we did a lot of good things and we had some success and I enjoyed the time together," said Burtnyk. "And I'm sure he's going to go on to enjoy a good curling career."

 

Loose hairs

LONGTIME Vic Peters second -- and 1992 Brier champion -- Chris Neufeld is the fifth this week for Mike McEwen, who has Neufeld's sons, BJ and Denni, playing third and lead for him respectively. "If he has to step in, I wouldn't be scared," said McEwen...

Petersfield's Dave Boehmer will have local support with a new team this year made up entirely of curlers from this area. Boehmer is playing with Daley Peters's old team. "We haven't been together very long but in the spiels we did play, we played good," said Boehmer... Kammerlock said the Carruthers foursome is in a good position going into this event. "We've had a pretty laid back approach this year," Kammerlock said, "so it's not like there's a lot of pressure on us."

-- Wiecek

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 18, 2009 C3

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