Martin, Ferbey should finish 1-2

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

Since Glenn Howard is otherwise occupied, Edmonton teams are poised to finish 1-2 on the World Curling Tour money list for the third straight year.

The only difference is the Randy Ferbey rink, which has made more than $200,000 the past two seasons, has pretty much conceded Kevin Martin the No. 1 spot.

Most of the top teams will be on Vancouver Island today for the $81,000 Bear Mountain spiel, and then head to the season-ending $100,000 Players Championship starting Tuesday in Calgary.

"We won't finish on top," said Dave Nedohin, whose team has won $105,563 - third on the WCT list behind Howard's $111,661 and Martin's $144,000. "We'd have to win both, and he'd have to not qualify in both for us to catch him.

"But we have a chance at second, so Edmonton teams could finish 1-2 again."

The bigger prize for the new-look Ferbaldo Four would be a successful defence of their Players Championship title.

After a successful defence of the Canada Cup title, that would give them two legs up for one of the four automatic spots to the 2009 Olympic Trials, expected to be held in Edmonton.

Any team that gets three wins out of either the Brier, Canada Cup or Players Championship gets an automatic berth.

This weekend's event is one of the favourite stops on the WTC circuit.

"It's a great spiel," said Nedohin. "It's in a beautiful location, one of the nicest golf courses and a crowd that's phenomenal."

There's a reason Edmonton is known as curling's capital city. Along with the world's top two teams, Edmonton-based teams claim five of the top 10 spots on the WCT money list.

Kevin Koe sits at No. 5 with $71,000 in earnings, Mark Johnson is No. 8 with $37,600. Don Walchuk broke into the top 10 when his supporting cast got into the final against Martin at the Port Hawkesbury Grand Slam event late last month.

The women's Players Championship is also a $100,000 event and will be held at the same time.

CUTTING IT DOWN

There was plenty of talk about a format change at this year's men's northerns, and the process is moving along.

At a Northern Alberta Curling Association meeting here earlier this week, a proposal passed to lower the size of the event from 32 teams to 16.

The men's northerns had been a grind for years and players were near-unanimous in their opinion that the event's size has had its day.

Since many of the top teams in NACA were already pre-qualified for the provincial under the new format, the need for such a big field proved to be redundant.

The ratification at this June's AGM should be a slam-dunk.

DRIVIN' AWAY

The Alberta Curling Federation is now searching for a new title sponsor after Kia decided not to renew their deal.

Alberta was the only province that held onto the sponsorship last year after the company took a new marketing direction.

MOVIN' ALONG

Heather Nedohin will finish off her run with Deb Santos during the Players Championship. Nedohin plans to form a new rink with Beth Iskiw ... It's expected Wayne Middaugh will have former Jeff Stoughton third Jon Mead in his lineup next season. Mead helped Howard win the Wayside Inn Classic in Lloydminster in November.


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