Vernon skip Kim Slattery delivers a rock during the opening draw of the B.C. women’s curling championships in Quesnel. Slattery was an 8-4 win over Diane Gushulak of New Westminster. (Ronan O’Doherty/Black Press)

Vernon rink starts Scotties with win

Kim Slattery scores 8-4 win over New West rink in opening draw at B.C. curling finals in Quesnel

Vernon’s Kim Slattery rink is off to a winning start at the B.C. women’s curling championships at the West Fraser Centre in Quesnel.

Slattery, backed by teammates Alyssa Kyllo, Kelsi Jones and Morgayne Eby, scored three in the ninth end to secure handshakes from Diane Gushulak of New Westminster in an 8-4 victory.

“The ice is outstanding, nice and quick with lots of curl,” said Slattery following the win. “The event is in a new, beautiful building, and it’s super organized. The girls played solid this morning. Lots of games to go.”

The Vernon foursome was back on the ice Tuesday night to face Sarah Wark of Abbotsford. Eight rinks are playing a round-robin plus playoffs for the right to represent B.C. at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian championships Feb. 16 to 24 in Sydney, N.S.

Quesnel is also hosting the B.C. men’s championships, with 12 teams competing for the right to represent the province at the Tim Hortons Brier March 2 to 10 in Brandon.

Vernon’s Jim Cotter rink went a long way to tune up for this week’s provincials.

Cotter and teammates Steve Laycock, Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky were in Tempe, Ariz. over the weekend, competing in the World Curling Tour’s Ed Werenich Golden Wrench Classic, presented by The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen at Coyotes Curling Club.

The Vernon rink went 3-1 in their preliminary pool of the 20-team event, good enough for a quarterfinal spot, where Cotter fell 11-7 to Rich Ruohonen of Chaska, Minn.

In the round-robin, Cotter beat American rinks Edward Scimia of Bridgeport, Conn. (8-2), Bob Leclair of Tempe (8-1) and Chris Bond of Seattle (8-1) before losing 6-2 to Canadian rival and eventual tournament winner Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg.

Cotter will be looking for an eighth Purple Heart and trip to the Brier in Quesnel. The Vernon rink played its first game Tuesday night against Matthew Blandford of Victoria, who defeated former champ Deane Horning of Castlegar 5-4 in the opening draw Tuesday morning.

Cotter lost last year’s final to Sean Geall of Kelowna in an extra end, denying the Vernon skip a fifth consecutive B.C. championship. It was Cotter’s only loss of the tournament in Parksville.

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