Iceman cometh

TERRY JONES, EDMONTON SUN

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

Marty Huff was about to retire.

He'd hit 65 and figured 31 years managing the Thistle Curling Club was enough.

Then Terry Morris, chairman of the two ballistic Briers here, took him aside and made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

"He said 'If you stay on for two more years, I'll give you the world,'' said Huff.

Turned out to be the World Seniors.

"Thanks to my friend Terry Morris I'm still here and worried about being here until I'm 77, until they pay it off,'' he joked.

Chairman Barry Worth, Huff and Dennis Moore have finally came out of the closet and announced plans to tie the 2007 World Seniors March 25-31 to the Ford World Curling Championships which start the day the World Seniors ends.

They've got it. But now what do they do with it?

At least they have a headliner. Representing Canada will be Al Hackner. Funny the way that worked out.

"I worked in Edmonton for a couple years in the mid '70s. Terry Morris and I curled front end together, corn brooms and all, in the Super League in '76 and '77,'' said Hackner who went on to win the Brier and the world championships as a skip out of Northern Ontario in 1982 and 1985. "My brother lives in Edmonton. And Randy Ferbey was my teammate in about a dozen 'spiels in the '90s when no one else wanted to curl with him,'' the Ice Man added.

JOINED SENIORS LAST YEAR

Hackner says he finally took up senior curling last year.

"I didn't play my first year of Seniors eligibility. Rick Lang said I wasn't mature enough. The first thing I noticed was that all the teams are much more friendly. And I was surprised how good the curling was.''

It was like old times as Hacker and Rick Lang were back together again.

Hackner says he hopes some of the curlers he played against internationally will qualify for the event which features 15 men's teams and a dozen women's rinks, including Anne Dunn representing Canada.

Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Canada and the U.S. will compete in both events.

The other men's teams are Norway, Germany, Wales, Iceland and Estonia while the other women's outfits are Netherlands and New Zealand.

Organizing the World Seniors presents a lot of challenges that Ford Worlds organizer Janna Tominuk doesn't have.

Like finding somebody in Edmonton who might be interested in "trading houses'' with the women's team from New Zealand and taking a trip down under for the month of March.

"They're spending $3,000 each on airfare to get here and have come up with that idea to try cut down on expenses,'' said Worth.

EXISTED SINCE 2001

The World Seniors have only existed since 2001 and have no funding from the Canadian Curling Association and World Curling Federation. But hooking it to the Ford World Curling Championships here, it is hoped, will take them to a new level.

With 120,724 tickets sold, it's well on its way to breaking every record.

Ticket selling, on that level, isn't the challenge. It will only have behind-the-glass seating and temporary stands on sheet eight to sell and the tickets are only $5 a game, $15 a day or $60-$80 for an event passes.

It's not about selling tickets. It's about selling them to people who have been around the sport for years, who are going to come and swap lies with the oldies but goodies from around the world.

You know who you are.


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