Kia Cup chock full of talent

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:25 AM ET

The Beatles aren't the only ones singing Help!

"Know anybody who can work retail?" asked Kevin Martin at yesterday's draw announcement for the Kia Cup at the Saville Centre. "Both of the curling guys who work in my store are in the same pool as we are. Help!"

Yep. As fate would have it, Chris Schille and John Morris draw into the B Pool with Martin.

Playing 'beat the boss' at Alberta's biggest rock show this year will be Adam Enright (3rd, Schille) and Marc Kennedy (2nd, Morris).

Starting Feb. 8, that means there's nobody left to mind the store - Kevin's Rocks N Racquets - other than the tennis specialists.

Given the quality of this field, the Beatles and Martin won't be the the only ones singing Help!

TOP MONEY-MAKERS

"The depth of this field is amazing - I'd put this up against any Brier field talent-wise, no question," said Kurt Balderston, who's in Pool B with Brent MacDonald and Dean Ross.

"People can say 'Yeah, you're just hyping this because it's Alberta,' but you can't deny it."

Pool A features world champ Randy Ferbey, Mark Johnson, Jamie King, Ryan Keane, Steve Petryk and Rob Maksymetz.

That list of names includes four of the world's top seven earnings leaders and four of the eight teams playing in next week's Canada Cup.

"I don't care if you're Kevin or Randy," said Balderston, who doesn't get intimidated easily. "You lose one to a team you shouldn't and all of a sudden you're do-or-die against two of the top four teams in Canada."

Johnson figures even the big guns are scared.

"I'd be surprised if they're not," said Johnson, whose team qualified as the top ACF spiel team for the second straight year.

BIG GUNS WARY

Martin knows there's no guaranteed wins for the big guns.

"For sure," he said. "Especially with the year - and Dave (Nedohin) wouldn't argue this - they haven't been the sharpest this year and neither have we. Turn it the other way and John Morris has had his best year ever. So has Mark Johnson.

"K. Park (Kevin, skip rocks for Petryk) has been brilliant this year. You've got Balderston coming back to prove something and, geez, that's already pretty good."

CHANGE OF PLANS: A couple of days ago, Neil Nedohin had his surgery rescheduled for Feb. 7.

That means his son Dave will be able to join Randy Ferbey and rinkmates at the Canada Cup after all.

"I said, 'I don't know if I'll still go to the Canada Cup,' " said Nedohin.

"He goes, 'Well, I'm probably going to go to watch, so you may as well go play.' It's tough for him and what he's been going through with all these postponements.

"He wants me to curl in the provincials. He said there's no way I'm not going to. We're only a couple of minutes away from the hospital. If this event hadn't been held in Edmonton, I may have had to miss the provincials."

LAST STRAWS: This competition will be the first in Alberta to use electronic handles to determine hog-line violations.


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