Friendly battle on ice

Don Holowaychuk (left) and Wade White come out of the house as White throws a rock during the 2007...

Don Holowaychuk (left) and Wade White come out of the house as White throws a rock during the 2007 Alberta Kia Cup at the Omniplex in Drayton Valley, Alta., on Thursday. (Sun Media/Jason Franson)

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

DRAYTON VALLEY -- They've been friends for a long time but today they're in for a battle.

As fate would have it, Don Walchuk and Randy Ferbey meet in the A Pool final round-robin game at the Kia Cup provincial curling championship.

Jeff Ginter took the inside track to first place after knocking Walchuk out of the undefeated ranks. Ferbey was none too happy after dropping to 2-2 last night with a 8-6 loss to Mark Johnson.

"Honest to God, this is the worst ice for picks I've ever played on in 35 years," said Ferbey, who estimated his team had 12 picks, including five on key shots.

"This ice it totally ridiculous. The skill level is totally taken out of the game. Seriously, you may as well flip a coin, it's that simple. The skill level is gone out of this game totally."

If nothing else, Ferbey will be in an ornery mood when he meets his old buddy at 9 a.m. today.

On Sunday night, the pair were driving back home with four 55-inch big-screen TVs after winning the Viking Spiel.

"These guys obviously knew something before we went because they took twotrucks," said Walchuk, who pinch-hit for Dave Nedohin.

Even though their curling careers have taken them on different paths, their friendship forged during their days with the Ryan's Express remains as strong as it ever has.

"Even though you'd think it would be hard to stay friends through all these years ... we've been tested but our friendship has always prevailed," said Walchuk.

You can bet both would love to represent Canada at this year's worlds in Edmonton ... and Walchuk jokingly volunteered.

"I wouldn't mind taking him out," Walchuk said. "He's won enough already. That game's going to mean something."

"That game could mean a ton for everybody," said Ferbey.

In two spiels the Hall of Fame pair have played together this season, they're 13-0.

"The relationship will be there 30 years from now," said Ferbey. "I can see me and Don going into masters. It'll be 'I'll hold the broom and you sweep, Don.' He'll whine about it. He'll be 65 and still whining about it."

They've bought horse races together and spend much of their time together after parting ways more than a decade ago.

"We've realized friendship is more important than curling," said Ferbey.

In Pool B, defending Alberta champ Kevin Martin needs a win over Calgary's Adrian Bakker at 1 p.m. to keep his playdowns record unblemished and clinch first place.

Both teams, and the winner of today's Kevin Koe/Lloyd Hill matchup are guaranteed to advance to the playoff round.


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