Vernon rinks up for B.C.s

Getting a feel for the ice shouldn’t be a problem for three of the rinks competing at the Canada Direct Insurance B.C. Men’s Champions, starting Monday at the Vernon Curling Club.

Sweepers Jim Cotter (left) and Lee Ranger attend to a rock delivered by Young Il Kwon in Baron Insurance Super League play.

Sweepers Jim Cotter (left) and Lee Ranger attend to a rock delivered by Young Il Kwon in Baron Insurance Super League play.

Getting a feel for the ice shouldn’t be a problem for three of the rinks competing at the Canada Direct Insurance B.C. Men’s Champions, starting Monday at the Vernon Curling Club.

Local teams skipped by Darren Heath, Aron Herrick and Jim Cotter, all of whom compete in the club’s Baron Insurance Super League, are entered in the 10-team playdown. The winner earns a berth in the Tim Hortons Brier, March 5-13 at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ont.

Heath is backed by former world champion Gary Van Den Berghe, Ryan LeDrew and Darrell (Heavy D) Houston, while Herrick has third Tobin Senum, second Marc Fillion and lead Jason Wizniak for support.

With Kelowna’s Bob Ursel recovering from a knee injury, Cotter brought in Ken Maskiewich at third to join front enders Kevin Folk and Rick Sawatsky.

Cotter, who made his Brier debut with Ursel in 2008, has watched the game transform over the years, with players taking any competitive edge they can by hitting the weights, or even hiring team psychologists.

“It’s not quite the same as it used to be. There’s no ashtrays on the ice like there used to be,” chuckled Cotter. “Guys are working out to stay in shape. If you’re not doing it, someone else will.”

Meanwhile, in Super League play Wednesday night, Cotter’s Woodland Equipment fell 9-5 to another veteran ice maker – Wayne Laface (Inspiration Homes).

Laface, now 11-6, counted four in the first end, but Cotter (10-6) answered with deuces in two and four, followed by a single steal in five to make it 5-5. Laface put the game away with a triple in six and steal of one in seven.

Dave Merklinger’s Jet Ice built an early lead on the way to an 8-4 doubling of T.J. Perepolkin’s Canaccord Capital Wealth Management.

After surrendering four points in the first two ends, Perepolkin (8-9) responded with a single in three and triple in five. Jet Ice countered with three in six to force handshakes.

Jenn Gerow’s Gateway Mechanical continued their hot streak with a 6-1 drubbing of Jeff Richard’s B.C. Trailer.

The two teams opened by swapping singles, but Gerow (6-10) recorded three in the third end, followed by steals in the fourth and fifth to seal the win. Richard is 2-13.

Brad Kuhn’s North Enderby Timber had their draw weight dialed in as they dismantled Kayla Gunner’s Armstrong Inn 8-0.

After opening with a triple in one, Kuhn (13-3), stole five points over the next three ends to earn an early night upstairs. Gunner is 2-14.

Ty Griffith’s Nufloors needed an extra end to brush back Blake Kimura 7-6.

Griffith, now 12-4, opened with a triple, only to watch Kimura (5-10) rally with singles over the next three ends.

n Jon Gardner’s Team B.C. is out of the playoffs at the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Calgary.

After four straight losses Tuesday and Wednesday, the Vernon rink was 2-8 heading into the final day of round-robin play Thursday.

Gardner, backed by third Michael Longworth, second Michael Hiram and lead Jonathan Hatten, had losses to Saskatchewan’s Braeden Moskowy (11-2) and Newfoundland’s Colin Thomas (8-5), Nova Scotia’s Kendal Thompson (9-4) and Ontario’s Mat Camm (10-3).

“We needed a good start to the week and it didn’t happen,” said coach Mark Longworth.

“We played a little better, but we still struggled. A little disappointing in the play, but a good experience.”

Moskowy led the field at 10-0 with Camm in second at 8-2.

Gardner ended the round-robin that day against Alberta’s Colin Hodgson (6-4) and Manitoba’s Sam Good (4-6).