Road through MCA gives Burtnyk an edge

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

SELKIRK -- It's no coincidence that Kerry Burtnyk has qualified through the MCA Bonspiel the last three times he won the provincial men's curling championship.

"I don't know that we've always done well coming through the MCA, but obviously when you have been curling that much, you are going to be a little sharper," Burtnyk said this week at the Safeway Select at the Selkirk Recreation Complex.

Teams skipped by Burtnyk won championships in 1988, 1991 and 2001 after earning a berth in the Manitoba playdowns through the gruelling MCA Bonspiel.

Burtnyk also qualified through the MCA this year and that has the veteran skip brimming with confidence.

The Winnipeg foursome looked solid yesterday, opening the event with an 8-2 thumping of Baldur's Jerry Janz.

"I thought we came out and played a real strong game this morning, which is something that we wanted to try to do," Burtnyk said. "We needed to get off to a good start and establish some confidence. I think the first step was very good."

DRIVEN TO SUCCEED: He comes from great curling bloodlines and loves to play on the pebble, but Kyle Armour's claim to fame comes on the golf course.

The second for Terry McNamee's Brandon foursome and son of former Manitoba men's champion Doug Armour, has parlayed his ability to smash a golf ball into some national notoriety.

Armour won a national long-drive competition in 2000, blasting a ball 352 yards and he continues to try to qualify for the world championship at events around the country.

"The last four times I've (tried to qualify) I've finished as the alternate," Armour said yesterday after his team's 9-7 win over Richard Muntain at the Safeway Select.

"I'm right on the doorstep and I just need that extra little bit of a push to get over the threshold."

Armour, a 30-year-old who works for CP Rail, says his record is 470 yards, albeit wind-aided and during an exhibition.

PEBBLES: Doug Armour of Souris continues to be one of the most respected curlers and rightly so. After all, he is a master. The third for Neepawa's Kelly Robertson, who won a provincial title in 1982 with Mel Logan, turned 60 in 2004 and now competes in the masters division ... Mike McEwen, the third on the James Kirkness Fort Rouge team, did his best Vince Carter impression, wearing an Mp3 player during warmups and even while playing in the first end. McEwen said he has a pre-game ritual of listening to certain songs and an inspirational speech from the movie Any Given Sunday. "It probably makes me look goofy," he laughed. "People say James is talking to me, but that would be illegal." ... The St. Vital Curling Club is hosting a sendoff for the provincial women's champion Jennifer Jones team Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the event are $5. Jones will represent Manitoba at the Scott Tournament of Hearts in St. John's, Nfld., Feb. 19-27.


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