Adam Norget's Heather team tried to get a little boost from the dark side of the force in a minor event game yesterday at the 118th annual MCA Bonspiel.
Norget's lead Jordan Bauldic, a University of Manitoba student who played in this year's provincial junior championship, donned a Darth Vader mask -- complete with voice alterations -- for a game against Wayne Oliver of Warren at West Kildonan Curling Club the team lost 7-6 in an extra end.
He wore the mask each time he threw a rock. "Darth Vader is one of my heroes," said Bauldic. "You know, no guts, no glory kind of thing. No mercy.
"I always wanted to buy this toy, but I never got around to getting it, so for Christmas Adam bought it for me. I said 'Oh, that's pretty sweet,' and I said if we dropped down to a minor event, I'd wear this during one of our games."
Apparently, everyone on the team is a fan of the tragic Star Wars character. The team's website even features Darth Vader music.
Bauldic said it was likely a one-time thing. The team was eliminated from the main events last night, with a 6-4 loss to Rob Cosens of West St. Paul. Besides, it's not easy to curl with a mask on, even if you are an evil Jedi.
'FOGS UP TOO MUCH'
"It fogs up too much, so it's really hard to wear," Bauldic said, adding that the he couldn't make use of the voice converter while calling to the sweepers either.
"It takes too much time to press the button so I just call it regularly."
And he admits, when the game got close, the mask came off.
"I took it off in the last end when it started to get a little serious."
STICKING IT TO 'EM: David Sawatzky's Heather rink, made up of curlers who are 70-something, rattled off four straight victories in the minor events before finally losing yesterday.
Not bad for a bunch of older fellows with sticks.
The squad, which includes Gary Parker, Wesley Stevens, Bill MacKenzie and fifth Jack McDougal, uses sticks -- devices designed to make curling easier for people with bad knees and other aches and pains -- to make shots.
The devices are perfectly legal, although the team would not be eligible for a Safeway Select berth.
COMEBACK KIDS: David Kendall's Wildewood foursome found itself down 8-0 after two ends of a minor event game against Delvin Klimack yesterday at West Kildonan.
But they decided not to pack it in too quickly, and lo and behold they came all the way back for an 11-10 victory.
They scored two in the third, four in the fifth, four in the seventh and stole one in the eighth (minor event games are just eight ends) for the victory.
"Yeah, it was strange," said Kendall. "We just wanted to play a couple of ends and see how it went, and then we scored four and then another four and thought we might have a chance.
"It probably won't happen again. The guys with the sticks beat us Saturday night, so I guess you could say this was the comeback game."
ANOTHER KIND OF STICK: Former Brier champion Vic Peters is hoping to curl in his hometown of Steinbach next month at the Safeway Select, but he never curled there when he was growing up.
"I played hockey there," said Peters, who moved to Winnipeg when he was 22. "I didn't curl a whole bunch until I had some hockey injuries. Like most kids, you tend to gravitate toward the more physical sport."