Ah, it was a great day yesterday to be young and curling.
Young gun squads skipped by Ted Appelman (average age 25) and Kevin Skarban (average age 23) won their B Event qualifiers and move to the northerns later this month.
Appelman bounced Kevin Kym 7-2, while Skarban took out Rick Kravontka 8-5 at the Shamrock.
"It was time for a change," said Appelman, who shook up his lineup after losing a pair of qualifiers at the men's northerns in Edson last year. "A little inexperience hurt us there."
He had an open hit for a win against Jamie King in the B final and stormed off the ice after his C final loss to John Climenhaga.
About a week later at the Viking Spiel, Appelman made a pitch to Jeff Erickson.
"It seemed to be a good fit between him and his brother (Tom), and me and Dave (lead Harper), " said Erickson, the former Alberta junior champ whose main claim to fame was giving Kevin Martin his first push out of the 2005 playdowns.
There's no truth to the rumour that part of the contract was Erickson and Harper got to wear their ball caps backwards to distinguish themselves from the straight-up look preferred by the Appelman brothers.
NEEDS A HAIRCUT
"Naw, it's because I need a haircut," said Erickson. "It's not pretty when it's off."
The hair and the caps would have to come off if the team makes it to the provincials.
"That's our goal," said Erickson.
"After the run Ted had last year and the run we had, our ultimate goal is to get to the Brier, but first we have to get to the provincials."
Although it looked like a good idea on paper, their on-ice performance left them scratching their caps. They lost six cashspeil qualifiers.
A ROUGH START
"We had a rough start - couldn't really win a game to save our lives," said Appelman. "In the last half of the season, we've been on a roll."
Then, they lost semis to Mark Johnson in Wainwright and Red Deer.
"At the beginning of the year, Randy (Ferbey) didn't like it when we were losing lots," said Appelman, who renewed a sponsorship deal with the world champs' curling supplies store this season. "I think he wanted to pull it. Hopefully, we can do a little better for him and get to the provincials. We've got to get brooms from him."
Skarban, 23, went to the junior nationals twice as a front-ender for Erickson.
"It's nice because now we have next week off," said Skarban, who posted a 4-3 record in his first northerns in 2005 after qualifying out of the Last Chance Spiel he's now avoided.
"We knocked off big teams like (Collin) Herbers and Jamie King (in the B semi), a guy who lost the provincial final two times," said Skarban.
"Extra-end, had to draw the pin and made it. A little bit of pressure, but there's nothing wrong with that."
IN THE HACK: Coming out of the C Event were Brian Connell, Rick McKague, Collin Herbers and Rick Kravontka .... Jamie King was knocked out in the C semifinal and will likely try his luck at this upcoming weekend's Last Chance Spiel ... Rob Schlender qualified at the First Chance Spiel.