Home-ice advantage?

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

INNISFAIL -- If any team has home-ice advantage, it could be Red Deer's Rob Armitage.

Last year at Hinton, Armitage faced Edmonton's Kevin Martin in the last game of the round robin.

Both teams were 4-2 and the stakes were simple. Win and you're in the playoffs. Lose and go home.

Armitage lost. But one of Alberta curling's most personable skips stuck around anyway to drown his sorrows.

He's back this year with a younger team and one that could not avoid controversy on the playdowns trail.

When lead Steven Meadows was transferred to Lloydminster, Armitage called in Edmonton's Adam Enright.

Even though Enright helped the team qualify through the Alberta Bonspiel Series, it was ruled Enright had not been with the team enough to make him eligible for Innisfail.

"There's nothing I can do about it now," said Armitage, who had to accept the Alberta Curling Federation ruling.

Still, it's not going to prevent him from trying to make the best of the situation - or being the life of the party.

"Home-crowd advantage, possibly," said Armitage, who already knows where action central will be. "It'll be next door at the Brier Patch - the Innisfail Curling rink."

Having a much younger supporting cast of third Chris Schille, second Shaun Meachem and Meadows seems to have given Armitage an injection of renewed enthusiasm.

"I've got the kids," said Armitage.

"This is a great chance for the kids, regardless of how well things go or don't go this weekend, our team will get something out of this.

"We'll gain experience. Last year, with an older, experienced team, we had to lay it on the line and hope it worked. The kids, it will be a big event in their lives. They can build on it.

"It'll make them better curlers in the long run. It might addict a couple of them and ruin their lives forever."


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