Proud to wear Buffalo

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:44 AM ET

Doug Harrison keeps living his dream.

Harrison won the Manitoba provincial men's curling championship in 1978, then captured the provincial mixed crown in 2000.

Now, he will wear the Buffalo patch on his back for a third time.

Beginning Sunday, Harrison and his Granite Curling Club rink of Howie Restall, second Doug Holmes and lead Bill Hodgson will represent Manitoba at the Canadian senior men's and women's curling championship at the East St. Paul Curling Club.

"Oh, it's fantastic," Harrison said yesterday at a press conference at the East St. Paul Curling Club, noting he threw his first curling rock 52 years ago. "I don't think there's anything better than doing that in the curling world. It's a Manitoba thing, and I'll wear it with pride."

Experience

Although this is the first year the team has played together (Harrison, Holmes and Hodgson are in their second season together), there's no shortage of experience as all four have been to the Brier.

Harrison said the foursome has compiled an impressive 32-5 record and practised often this season.

In what has been the year of the new team in Manitoba -- Jennifer Jones' St. Vital dream team Scott Tournament of Hearts champions is off to the world championship and Randy Dutiaume's thrown-together crew recently returned from a third-place finish at the Brier -- can Harrison's team continue the trend of strong showings?

"Yeah, we're hoping to build on that momentum," said Restall, who turned 50 in October. "I've actually had Doug spare for me a couple of times over the past couple years, and I've played against Doug for more years I'd like to admit. And our front end are two of the nicest guys you'll run across. As far as being able to mesh, we haven't had a problem at all."

In a situation similar to Alberta's Randy Ferbey rink, Restall calls the game but throws third stones, while Harrison takes care of the sweeping duties but throws skip stones.

"I've always enjoyed sweeping, way back to the corn brooms," said Harrison, who first tried the format in the early 1970s. "It's not the right fit for everybody. Some guys don't want to stand there and hold the broom. Going up and down the ice for myself, I can get rid of my frustrations a little bit by sweeping, instead of taking it out with the broom on the bench."

While Restall is known as calling a more aggressive game than Harrison, they've found a happy medium.

"I've always been accused maybe of being kamikaze, to the point of being silly," said Restall. "Doug's game is more of a conservative game, and we've managed to make a nice blend where we'll keep it conservative when we think we need to, and when we have to go, we'll go."

Harrison will face the Saskatchewan rink skipped by Eugene Hritzuk in his first draw, Sunday at 8 a.m.

On the women's side, the Brandon Curling Club rink of Linda Van Daele, Betty Couling, Evelyn Clegg and Jean Ungarian will represent Manitoba and opens up Sunday at noon against Crystal Frisk of Saskatchewan.


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