Mixed emotions

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

Say what you will about Mixed competition but a Manitoba team has not won the national title since 1991 when Jeff Stoughton won his second such championship.

"That's some dry spell," Brandon's Terry McNamee said on the eve of the 2007 nationals. "We'd better bring it home then, I guess."

In the interim, such luminaries as Newfoundland's Mark Nichols, Alberta's Shannon Kleibrink, Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones and Quebec's Jean-Michel Menard have won the Canadian Mixed.

McNamee will make his third trip to the CCA's national Mixed in the last four years, with lead Tanya Robins joining him all three times. Joining McNamee in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., for the event which starts this Saturday will be third Lana Hunter and second Geordie Hargreaves.

"I would think we'd be one of the favourites going three of the last four years," said McNamee, 41. "We've all been to nationals of some kind before so that should help. It would be nice to win in such a strong field and I'm very excited about my team going."

That field includes Alberta's Ted Appelman, with Heather Nedohin at third, New Brunswick's Terry Odishaw, Nichols and Eve Belisle, who is skipping the Quebec entry again.

McNamee lost the semifinal in his first try.

"You think about that every time you're playing for something big," he admitted.

McNamee is still riding the high of beating Assiniboine Memorial's Kerry Burtnyk with his men's team at the WCT/MCT's recent Meyers Norris Penny Prairie Classic.

"He hasn't lost much this year so that was kind of good," McNamee said. "That does build your confidence."

GREEN RIBBONS: Heather Mowat, who went to the 1996 national Mixed with Chad McMullan, remains in a coma at the Health Sciences Centre after being involved in a recent vehicle accident in Brandon. Although she still cannot receive visitors, all those concerned can show how much they care. Her curling team, skipped by Liza Park, wore sage-green ribbons on their jerseys at last weekend's women's MCT cashspiel at Asham Arena to show respect and hope for Heather. Sage green is the colour of Heather's eyes and green is the colour of hope.

There is an e-mail being sent to urge all curlers and friends to wear a green ribbon, scarf, jacket, etc. "to show that you're thinking, wishing and praying for her." Then you are urged to take a picture of yourself and send it to family friend, Kal Barteski, at crazy@ideamonsters.com to start a huge poster wall in her hospital room. And when she wakes up, she can see all those people "who were pulling for her and her family," he writes.

Heather is known for her fun-loving ways so the crazier, funnier the pics the better. And smile, laugh and make faces. No frowns. Send as many as you want along with your names. The more the better. Show her how much you care.

What a great idea. Get busy snapping pics all.

BITERS: Speaking of pics, the latest nude curling calendars, which feature Canadian Olympian Christine Keshen, are now available from The Curling News for $29.95 plus shipping and handling. Contact 1-800-605-CURL (2875) or www.thecurlingnews.com ... The deadline for entries into the Safeway Select Northern Berth Bonspiel and the Chicken Chef Masters men's and women's berth spiels is tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. Contact the MCA ... The Victoria Curling Club will host a reception to honour MCA president Mitch Tarapasky on Friday. Tickets are $10 each ... The MCT spiel in Thunder Bay has been cancelled due to lack of entries.

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TEAM OF THE WEEK

They had formed a new foursome the year before but could not remember how to win when the current curling campaign began.

But Josh Claeys of Deer Lodge finally re-discovered that winning formula and rattled off seven straight wins. The squad capped it off by winning a junior cashspiel for 16-and-under teams at his home club and is the Sun's Team of the Week.

Supported by third Scott Peterson, 16, second Scott Bruce, 15 and Graham Wilson, 15, Claeys, 16, earned $210 as he actually defended his title, the most cash his squad has ever won.

"The real big key was that we played as a team," said Peterson, a Grade 11 student. "And we pretty much made most of our shots when it counted. I'd say we made about 70% of our shots.

"We hadn't been doing that well but we've won some games now, I guess."

The foursome also plays in a junior Super League that is played at both Deer Lodge and the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club.

Pembina's Dylan Gousseau won the 13-and-under competition of the sixth annual Deer Lodge junior cashspiel.

The spiel drew 32 teams -- 16 in each category -- up from 14 when it first started.

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COMING UP

The World/Manitoba Curling Tour's White's Drug Store Classic starts in Swan River this Friday while the MCT's East St. Paul Cash Spiel for both men and women begins tonight ... Manitoba's Kerry Burtnyk and Jeff Stoughton will compete in a WCT spiel in Lloydminster, Sask., this weekend ... Both the MCA's McDiarmid Lumber Senior Men's and Mondetta's Senior Women's Berth Bonspiels also go this weekend ... The Granite Curling Club will host a 'Blues Open' Bonspiel ... Central Manitoba's DEKALB Super League, which features such teams as Portage la Prairie's Don Spriggs, La Salle's Randy Neufeld and David Hamblin of Morris starts in Portage tomorrow.

HOUSE CLEANING

Fort Garry's Vic Peters edged La Salle's Randy Neufeld 8-6 in the final of the MCT's Ken Kurbis Memorial Galaxy Bonspiel at the Rossmere Curling Club to earn $4,000. Neufeld pocketed $2,000 ... Jared Kolomaya and Alyssa Vandepoele won their respective finals at junior cashspiel for 16-and-under at the Charleswood Curling Club that was offered as a warm-up to next month's Canada Games play off at the Granite C.C. Eight of the 10 junior women's teams invited competed while six of the 10 junior men showed up ... Three different junior spiels were offered last weekend and some juniors, such as Tyler Waterhouse, entered the MCT spiel at Rossmere, where he earned $830 for making the semifinals. None of the junior events seemed to suffer despite the conflicts.


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