Blue & yellow all over

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:00 AM ET

When you're planning a big birthday party, it's not always easy to know who to invite. Like today's. Alberta's 100th.

If you want a sports team to help head up the celebrations, due to the Calgary-Edmonton rivalry, who do you call?

When it comes down to it, there's really only one team all of Alberta cheers for -- only one team which wears an Alberta crest on their uniforms, takes pride in representing the entire province and has been unbelievably successful.

The Ferbey Four.

They'll be spread around the province today, special hosts interviewing guests as part of a multi-media celebration.

Randy Ferbey will be in Medicine Hat, although they may not recognize The Ferbs without his moustache for the first time in 25 years.

"I'm flattered to have this honour," said Ferbey, who goes back to when a shave and a haircut was two bits.

"We really do like to see ourselves as Alberta's team," adds the third-rock-throwing skip who has won six Briers and four world curling championships.

PART OF EVERY COMMUNITY

"Curling is the one sport which is part of every community in the province. Alberta is a great curling province and when you go to the Brier, you don't go as Edmonton, you go as Alberta.

"We won a Brier in Calgary and the fans were really behind us. That's something no other team really gets to enjoy in Alberta. We're the team people are used to seeing on TV. And I think most people see our team uniform as being the blue and yellow of Alberta."

Scott Pfeifer will be in Lethbridge.

"We were once in the Calgary Stampede parade. I think that says it right there," says Pfeifer.

Marcel Rocque, a native of St. Paul, will be at the legislature grounds at the main celebrations there. And Dave Nedohin will be at Jubilee Auditorium, heading up the live webcast on www.albertacentennial.ca for his new company StatisFirm, which ties in to Aquila Productions and the CityTV/Internet 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. telecast.

"It'll all be shown on the webcast, we'll all be part of the TV show and it'll be on Jumbotrons set up in 10 locations around the province," says Nedohin. "As primary hosts for the online viewer, we'll talk to celebrities, singers, dignitaries and interesting Albertans at each location as they leave the stage."

Sept. 1 is a day Nedohin has been working on for a long time. Sept. 2 is the start of the new curling season.

"We start practising together as a team Friday and we'll go five times a week until we leave for Madrid together Sept. 18."

Madrid? Spain? Curling?

They've had some interesting invitations.

"Madrid we're doing more as a getaway for the team and together on the road as a team," said Ferbey.

The team returns to play in a Battle of the Sexes skins game against Jennifer Jones in Brandon then fly back overseas to play in an event in Switzerland the following weekend.

Well, three quarters of the team. Dave and Heather are expecting in October. And Nedohin will be replaced by recently retired Kerry Burtnyk for the trip. "Burtnyk will throw last rock, but Randy will call the game," reports Rocque.

Back from that, they hit the cash 'spiel circuit with an event-a-week schedule in Bonnyville, Portage La Prairie, Halifax, Lloydminster and Yorkton leading into the Olympic Trials in Halifax in December. The off-season is over when the party is over tonight. And what an off-season.

They still can't believe they were selected to meet the Queen. Nor what happened in the four or five minutes they spent with her.

LAUGHING PRETTY HARD

"We had her laughing pretty hard. We were certainly the only group to get her laughing. Everybody else was pretty stuffy," said Nedohin. "I asked her if she ever curled. She said 'Oh, no. That's much too difficult with all that sweeping.'

"And then Queen Elizabeth stood there pretending she was sweeping with a corn broom. We have a really great photo of her pointing at Marcel and laughing. We're not sure if she was laughing with him or laughing at him."

They also went to Las Vegas with their new sponsor, the World Financial Group.

"We spoke to 3,000 people on teamwork," said Nedohin. "That was quite something. It was a fantastic trip. That's where Randy lost the moustache. We've been bugging him to lose the mustache for years. We finally convinced him."

Ferbey said it was on a bet.

"I had that thing all my life. I said I'd shave it off if Dave coloured his hair. I lived up to my half of the bargain."

The rink also had 46-year-old Ferbey on an off-season conditioning program.

"We've had a real serious training schedule under Jeff Krushell. The whole team has been at it five days a week all summer. He's in the greatest shape of his life. He's probably lost 20 pounds," says Nedohin.

"There's going to be a lot of double-takes when people see Ferbs this year," predicts Pfeifer.

"He's looking good, the old boy," says Rocque.


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