High and mighty King

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

EDSON -- Jamie King's rink is heading into this weekend's Canada Cup holding a hot hand.

King's crew is one of 15 teams invited into the Grand Slam charity event in Winnipeg starting Thursday.

They're in the Alberta championship for the fourth time in five years and lost just one game this weekend before winning Sunday night's B Event qualifier against Ted Appelman.

Blake MacDonald, who throws last rock, is happy about the chance given his team.

Most of the rink has off-ice obligations that do not allow them to curl as much as they'd like.

"We would have been going to Viking," said MacDonald.

"That's just an awesome spiel. We've qualified in nine out of 10 events we've been at, including here. We've had a pretty good year at this point in time."

Although the rink did not originally sign an exclusivity agreement with the Grand Slam, this is an appreciated olive branch.

"It's nice to see that the World Curling Tour is sort of coming around and allowing teams to earn their way into the Slams instead of inviting the old boys' club," said MacDonald, part of the 16th-ranked team on the World Curling Players' Association list.

The event conflicts with the Saskatchewan and B.C. playdown.

After several teams dropped out, the King squad was called because they were the highest-earning team not in the event.

King has drawn the toughest of the three pools.

"In our pool is (Kevin) Martin and (Glenn) Howard, the top-two money-winners this year," said MacDonald.

"I'm quite OK with that. We figure if you go 2-2, you should make a playoff somewhere to get into the quarters.

"It's great money if you can make it in somewhere."

There's $30,000 for the first-place winner and that's what the team is gunning for.

"We're looking forward to winning it," said MacDonald. "The big sponsor for it is the Children's Foundation, so we'd actually donate some of our winnings - if we win anything. It's going to be a lot of fun."

TRYIN' TO BREAK EVEN: It's going to be a touch-and-go proposition for the Edson Golf and Curling Club to recoup the $6,000 hosting fee for the men's northerns.

"It has been busy," said kitchen manager Doug Woodhouse. "In terms of gate, I'm not sure if we'll make back the hosting fee. That might be partly blamed on the lovely weather we've had."

As far as beer sales go, this event finishes well down the list from the annual Oilmen's Bonspiel.

"I'd think the sales are average," said Woodhouse. "When we have the Oilmen's, the beer truck is always pulling up to the door with more supplies. But of course, those are oilmen.

"These are supposedly serious curlers, it's not quite as big. They drank more than I thought they would, though."

The club is in the running to host the curling event at the 2006 Alberta Winter Games.

A-B-C YA LATER: Doug Zingel lost his best shot to get to his first provincial when he lost the A qualifier to Dean Davidson Saturday night.

And, as is so often the case when a team loses a game it probably should have won, the Lloydminster team was eliminated yesterday.

After losing Sunday's B semi to Ted Appelman, they were bounced by Ryan Keane in the C quarter.

"It wasn't the ice today," said the personable skip.

"Pilot error."


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