Championship made for common curler

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

Talk about competing in the shadows.

The Canadian Curling Trials will soon be here and the national Mixed Championship is being played in Burlington, Ont., this week.

But another Canadian curling event will hit the ice next week and will be akin to curling in the dark, especially in light of this Olympic year. The inaugural Dominion Club Championship will be played in Etobicoke, Ont., Nov. 24-28, an event set up as a competition for the better club teams that have little chance of ever advancing to a Brier or Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

"It's fantastic because it gives us an opportunity that we haven't had in a while," said Jackie Komyshyn, who will represent Manitoba on the women's side. "It's really awesome that they're doing something like this."

While Komyshyn actually won a Manitoba junior women's title (2003), she had not been involved in competitive curling for a few years so she was eligible to compete in the provincial Dominion championship last spring.

Likewise, Carberry's Bart Witherspoon once competed in a men's provincial championship but was eligible because he had not made it there for a few years.

"This is great for the club curlers, for the guys who have never gone anywhere or done anything," said Witherspoon, who throws the last brick for Rod Waterhouse. "This is perfect. It's our best chance to get a Buffalo on our backs."

Brent Calvert and Leonard Birch comprise the front end.

"We're taking this very seriously," Witherspoon added. "We'd love to go win a national championship."

So would Komyshyn.

"I'll always have a competitive streak in me," said Komyshyn, supported by her sister, Riki, at third, second Vanessa Chetybrok and Amanda Tychollis. "We're not just going to get drunk, although there are banquets every night and some wine-tasting parties."

All expenses are paid for the teams and Komyshyn plans to visit nearby Niagara Falls for the first time.

Clubs must register with the local associations to be able to send reps to the Dominion provincial championships.

"The response has been great," said Curl Manitoba executive director Shane Ray. "There were actually more teams competing for the Dominion Championship than there were for the Brier last year."

BETTING MAN: Manitoba's Jason Gunnlaugson blames third Justin Richter for listing his occupation as "poker player," but it is all he does when he is not curling.

"I'm not as good at that as I am at curling and I'm not that good at curling so, that's not saying much," he joked.

MIXED UPDATE: Manitoba's Dave Boehmer was 3-2 heading into last night's draw against Nova Scotia's Mark Dacey (3-2) at the national Mixed. Ontario's Mark Bice leads the pack at 6-1.

BITERS: Because the Junior Christmas Bonspiel will be held after this year's provincials, there will be two provincial spots available at junior men's and women's berth bonspiels this weekend ... The Safeway Championship Northern Berth Bonspiel is also being held in The Pas this weekend ... Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton and Jennifer Jones will both compete at a World Curling Tour stop in Brantford, Ont., and there is a Manitoba Curling Tour spiel in Stonewall ... Thunder Bay's Art Lappalainen earned $5,000 for winning an MCT spiel that has returned to Thunder Bay, last weekend.

PET PEEVE: The event is called the Canadian Curling Trials, not the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials or Olympic Trials because organizers would have to pay to use the trademark, Olympics.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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