Red-hot despite freezing

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:12 AM ET

Darren Moulding has found a great way to deal with adversity: Find the nearest heat register.

The skip, third Scott Cripps, second Mike Westlund and lead Shawn MacLachlan decided to camp in a fifth wheel at the last-chance qualifier in Hanna on the weekend. Sometime Saturday night, they ran out of propane.

"Life was grand until the propane ran out," said Moulding, laughing. "It was a little chilly and we didn't get much sleep. Mike brought a 30-below sleeping bag and you could hear him sawing logs all night.

"Me, all I brought was a little blanket. I was huddled in the corner, just freezing."

First thing Sunday, Moulding found a heat register in the club to stand on and thaw. Then he rang off enough wins to take the qualifier's second berth for the men's Southern Alberta playdowns this weekend at North Hill club.

Hanna's Ken Boulter, along with third Brad Zukewich, second David Ackney and lead Larry Rowden, earned the first spot.

"We had to fight hard to get there," said Moulding. "Things looked pretty bad. We were four back in one B-game, down 5-1, but we scored four to tie it.

"Then we were down 8-5, scored three to tie it and then we were down two coming home and scored three to win ... After that, we rolled. We needed that one wakeup call, I guess."

As if the team hadn't had enough at districts. The Moulding crew even considered not entering the last-chance qualifier after a dreadful showing in Airdrie.

Districts was the rink's first event since the Red Deer spiel in November and Moulding said he and the boys may not have been as prepared for the playdowns.

"I think we thought we could handle not curling for a month," he said. "But we got to districts and, I'm telling you, there are a lot of good teams around here. If you're not ready to play, they're gonna beat you."

The four of them sat around the Airdrie club after elimination and talked about their missed chances.

"The guys are not quitters," said Moulding. "They wouldn't give up unless we were done. If we had any chance at all to go ahead, we'd go."

They also hatched a plan to enter the team under Cripps' name.

"We thought it would cause a bit of a reaction," Moulding said, acknowledging the discussions at his home club, North Hill, about his team breaking up. "And there was five different theories on what was going on.

"You know how curling is. Word spreads like brushfire. And we didn't tell anyone until we got to Hanna. We just wanted everyone to wonder."

A much better controversy than the one created last spring when Moulding and a throw-together mixed team were suspended for one year by the Alberta Curling Federation. The penalties for an on-ice lack of discipline were rescinded this fall in favour of warnings.

"Yeah, that was a learning lesson," Moulding said. "You have to respect the code of conduct."


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