He just spent a weekend competing against some of the top teams in Canada. Not only that, but Daley Peters played third for a foursome skipped by his dad, Vic, that actually knocked off Alberta living legend Randy Ferbey 12-7 in the Grand Slam's Canadian Open. And he cashed his share of a $7,000 pay cheque, which will help cover the costs of his trip to Fredericton, N.B., where he will represent Manitoba at the Karcher Canadian Junior Men's and Women's Championships, which start at two different curling clubs today.
So Peters should have a psychological advantage when he skips at the nationals for the second straight season.
"I don't really think they'll be intimidated, but it (Slam experience) will give me some confidence," Peters, 20, said last weekend. "It builds my confidence knowing that I can play with these guys. And I don't think I really played all that well (last) week."
Then again, the junior men's field includes P.E.I.'s Steven Howard, son of two-time world champion Russ Howard. It also includes New Brunswick's defending champion Ryan Sherrard and last year's runner-up, Matthew Blandford, of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Peters finished 9-3 and lost the semifinal to Sherrard last year.
"I'll try to get off to a better start, that's the bottom line for us, really," said Peters, supported by third B.J. Neufeld, second Doug Hamblin and Marc Lacroix. "But we've got a real tough starting schedule."
Peters opens against Alberta and Quebec.
The junior men's final will be televised live by CBC on Saturday at 11 a.m. The winner will represent Canada at Pinerolo, Italy.
On the junior women's side, Manitoba will be represented by Calleen Neufeld, whose foursome will make its first appearance on the national stage. Calleen, however, did wear the Buffalo after she won the provincial under-17 title.
"We're pretty excited," Neufeld said before leaving Winnipeg. "Once we get there, we'll be pretty nervous."
Neufeld will skip a pretty young foursome. Both her third, Sabrina Neufeld (no relation) and second Laryssa Grenkow are 16 while lead Lindsay Edie is 19. And they have welcomed advice from MCA president Lorne Hamblin, who coached his son, David, to the 2002 junior world title, and will also be coaching Peters in Fredericton. Ross Derksen, David's third, had a chat with them, too.
"They just said to curl your best and enjoy yourselves," said Neufeld, 19. "And that it's still just juniors, but it will be tough."
The foursome had been basking in the glow of winning Manitoba.
"Now, with that over, we're ready to create some new excitement," Neufeld said. "In the provincial final, we curled really well as a team and didn't get down on ourselves when things went bad. That's what we've got to do (in Fredericton)."
Neufeld opens against Alberta's Desiree Robertson, who finished third in 2003, and Quebec's Marie-Christine Cantin, last year's runner-up.
CBC will televise the junior women's final live next Sunday at 11:30 a.m., with the winner also representing Canada in Italy.