Peters invited to qualifier

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

It was a decision that caught him completely off guard.

But it looks like the Vic Peters team will be among those from Manitoba headed to the $110,000 Canada Cup Bonspiel West. Peters will get in as the World Curling Tour exemption because he was the top squad (15th) on the World Curling Players' Association rankings over the past two seasons -- after those ahead of him had qualified, Canadian Curling Association administrator Danny Lamoureux said yesterday. Lamoureux added that he was awaiting information from the WCT last night to confirm the exemption.

"I definitely didn't expect to get in there," Peters responded. "I knew we weren't playing very good so I knew we couldn't get in through the (WCT) money list (67th).

"But that's pretty good. I hope the guys can make it because we weren't expecting to go anywhere that week."

The western bonspiel will be held in Edmonton, Dec. 15-19. Actually, Peters has the choice to enter either the eastern or western one as he has earned more WCPA points than the other WCT exemption, B.C.'s Bert Gretzinger. If Peters goes west, Gretzinger would have to head east (Ottawa).

NOTHING EASY

"If I was in Vic's shoes, I'd go east, judging by the field in Edmonton," Lamoureux suggested.

"There's nothing easy anywhere and you'd have to stand on your head anyway," Peters said. "And I'm kind of curious to see the new (Saville) Centre in Edmonton. I hear it's quite a building."

Other Manitoba teams which earned trips either through the Canada Cup Bonspiel Series or the Canadian Team Ranking System are skipped by: Kerry Burtnyk, Allan Lyburn and David Hamblin, with James Kirkness having an outside shot, Lamoureux said before the last squads were finalized last night. Although Graham Freeman also qualified, he turned it down because he apparently had a recent addition to his family. Jeff Stoughton, Brent Scales and Ryan Fry already clinched berths last winter.

The newly-created CCA events will serve as qualifiers for the Canada Cup in March. The four Cup bonspiel winners will earn berths into the 2005 Olympic trials and $14,000. The top four in each of the 32-team spiels will advance to the Canada Cup, which will also offer trials berths and truckloads of cash.

As previously reported here last week, Jennifer Jones, Karen Porritt and Joelle Duguid clinched spots on the western women's side, to be played at the same time as the men's. Lois Fowler and Barb Spencer qualified last winter.


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