McLeod foursome advance to northerns

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:20 PM ET

They've been the Invisible Men at curling's men's city playdowns.

Yesterday, Doug McLeod won his first-ever zone and Wade White was actually present for the first time he's won a zone out of the Edmonton area.

After winning their respective A Event finals, both teams advance to the men's northerns, Jan. 20-23 at the Granite Club.

White was missing in action last year when he decided to skip his team in the Alberta telecommunication workers final.

Third Dan Holwaychuk, better know as Randy Ferbey's fifth man during their incredible run, skipped the crew into the men's northerns.

"Since then, he's been taking all the credit,'' quipped White. "After this game, the guys were saying 'you actually won a zone for yourself this time.' White laid a six-ender on Chris Schille in the second and ran away with a 9-3 win.

"That one snuck up on 'em,'' said White. "They tried to go through a hole, I don't know. I didn't think it was there ... but it might have been.''

It's been a bit of a different off-season for White, who was unsure he'd even be around Edmonton for curling season.

During the Telus strike, White had contemplated heading for Fort McMurray to help pay his bills.

It's not like his roots are too deep in Edmonton. White moved here five years ago from Hinton, from where he'd made at least a half-dozen northerns appearances on the Glen Hansen crew.

Due to the uncertainty around White's work situation, the team's cashspiel activity had been minimal.

Still, they've built up a 9-1 record at the Edmonton Super League, battllng for first place with Mark Johnson and Les Rogers.

They'd been a middle-of-the-pack team in their two previous seasons together.

"I feel pretty good,'' said White. "I feel we have a pretty good chance to get to my first provincial. With a lot of the big-name teams already there, it gives us a better chance.

First, though, they're going to have to sort out a familiar, yet ongoing issue.

White's going to have to decide what he's going to do on the 23rd, the date of this year's telecommunications workers spiel. Holwaychuk would like White to stick with this team.

"We're going to have a few Keiths, talk about it and put the bug in,'' said Holwaychuk.

There was a bit o' bubbly around the McLeod table, a perennial also-ran who's come close.

On his way to the 2005 B final, McLeod knocked down Kevin Martin and Ryan Keane, teams that have earned byes into this year's provincial. He finally succumbed to David Climenhaga.

"It's been a long road,'' said McLeod, an 8-1 winner over Ted Appelman.

"All the boys are pretty happy. It's their first year at the northerns. I've been curling for so many years without getting a zone.

"We've got a pretty good team.

''It all felt good from Day 1 and we've just carried on.''


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