Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Dunstone rink's task tougher, but so are they

  • Print

THIS time, as he heads into the provincial junior curling championship, Matt Dunstone feels more confident, as he must to bear the weight of a bigger target.

This is just one example of how things change when you are the reigning Canadian champion.

"Without a doubt, we know it's going to be a lot tougher," the 18-year-old Winnipeg skip said on Thursday, as he prepared to defend his provincial title at the Portage Curling Club, beginning this weekend. "People will bring their A-game against us. Last year, we kinda flew under the radar. This year, we're right in the middle of everyone else's radar. We all know that, there's no hiding that. It's a different mindset."

A different mindset, yes. But life is different now, ever since the Dunstone rink rolled through last year's Canola Junior Men's Provincial Championship and curled their way to a Canadian title after that. The foursome, which includes third Colton Lott, second Daniel Grant and lead Brendan Maccuish, got to see the Olympic preparations in Sochi, where they won a world junior bronze earlier this year. They got invited to a Jets game. They signed autographs for fans.

Plus, the skip gets recognized now, a bit, and the first time it happened he was a little taken aback. How many other first-year University of Manitoba students get to experience something like that?

"It was definitely unexpected," Dunstone said, before heading out to the championship's opening banquet on Thursday. "It was a pretty cool feeling, to be honest."

But all the success of the last season is in the past. In Portage la Prairie this week, Dunstone must lead his rink through this new test: Between eligibility age and stiff competition, only a handful of junior men's skips have ever earned back-to-back Manitoban championships. Daley Peters was the last to do it in 2004-05, and before that Ryan Fry completed the feat in 1996-97.

On the other hand, consider the Dunstone team this season won every bonspiel they played except for two. Dunstone reports his rink's record at 38-2, and they sit atop the Manitoba junior curling tour standings with 54 points; Jordan Smith sits second with 42. They're playing as well as a defending champion should.

Still, if Dunstone learned one thing from his team's big run last year, it was how luck conspired with skill to get them there. The pick that went their way, the little breaks that fell in their favour and changed the whole face of a game. "It takes a lot of work to get there, but a lot of things have to fall into your arms for (a championship) to happen," he said. "Besides playing at the highest level, a lot of things fall into place for you."

It's true, though, you work to make your own luck. This season, that process began off the sheet, when Sport Manitoba awarded the Dunstone team a bursary to Focus Fitness. There, sweating next to the occasional Jets player at MTS Iceplex, Dunstone and his teammates worked out with Jeff Stoughton lead Mark Nichols. They worked on building up their legs, adding core strength -- the kind of fitness that in curling is becoming impossible to ignore.

"I think it's helped me mentally, mostly," Dunstone said. "Working out has made me feel better. I even go out to games now more confident."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 27, 2013 C5

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Kevin Cheveldayoff announces Maurice contract extension

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100527-Winnipeg Free Press THe Provencher Foot Bridge is lit up
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google