Petryk is Games for another shot

TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

A chance to play for Olympic gold is on every curler's mind this year.

But few can draw from the experience of competing in the Winter Games like Calgary's Dan Petryk, who wants a chance to redeem a fourth-place performance at the five-ring circus 16 years ago alongside Kevin Martin, Kevin Park and Don Bartlett.

"Don and I are always chatting -- sometimes about those Olympics," said Petryk, who was second for Canada's first men's curling entry at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France. "He's always telling everybody what a fantastic hitter I was, and now he can't believe how well I am at drawing."

Petryk and Bartlett caught up on old times this past weekend in central Alberta, where the two former Olympic teammates faced off against one another in the final of the 2008 Red Deer Curling Classic, a $26,800 event on the World Curling Tour.

While the good times of the run to Albertville are often recalled when the two talk curling, their focus is now squarely on 2010 Vancouver -- Petryk heading his own rink out of Calgary, and Bartlett playing lead for Ted Appelman's Edmonton foursome.

One way to gain entry into the Olympic playdowns to determine the Canadian representative for Vancouver would be to win the 2009 Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary, March 7-15.

"From this province, you expect one of either Martin, Randy Ferbey or Kevin Koe to be at the Brier," said Petryk, who won the men's national title with Martin in 1991 before falling short in a repeat bid under Martin the next year and then during another run under Ed Lukowich in 1994.

"We want to make the provincials and be a darkhorse. What you want is to be the guy on the hot streak and maybe hope lighting strikes in the final."

And so the Petryk rink, with third Scott Cripps, second Mike Westlund and lead J.D. Lind, is trying to find that spark.

The foursome is a familiar one, since Petryk, Cripps and Westlund once curled successfully under Jamie Koe of the Northwest Territories. Koe and Co.'s best finish was 7-0 perfection at the McCain Superspiel West five years ago.

The new twist sees Lind throwing lead rocks but calling the shots -- and it's working well for Petryk, who is an advisor with Professional Investment Services (Canada Inc.) in Calgary.

On the tour this year, the team has earned $10,200, which includes Sunday's second-place $5,200 prize at the Red Deer Curling Classic. And the rink lost the final only because of a spectacular last-rock, extra-end shot by Appelman.

With the button heavily guarded and a solid in-turn draw by Petryk, Appelman executed the perfect shot to prevent the steal, count one and win 5-4.

"Even Ted said it was a shot he didn't think he'd make," Petryk said.

"I couldn't have placed my last rock any better. We should've had the steal. But there was one spot on the ice that seemed to carve really good, and he hit it right on the screws.

"I'm feeling the aches and pains today. We came from the depths of the 'C' event to make the final -- and we should've won that final."

EXTRA ENDS

Cheryl Bernard won the $32,000 women's side of the Red Deer Curling Classic but only after a thrilling final, 5-4 over fellow Calgarian Shannon Kleibrink. Down two with last rock, Kleibrink nearly executed a game-winning 12-ft. raise back, but she was a hair shy on the angle to count just one point. Bernard, who scored two in the seventh end to take the lead, pocketed the $9,000 first-place prize, while Kleibrink brought home $5,200 ... Glenn Howard won the $70,000 WCT stop in Brooks, counting two in the last end for an 8-6 final win over Kevin Martin to cap the 2008 Cactus Pheasant Classic. Howard's payday was $22,000, while Martin's rink, with Calgarians John Morris and Ben Hebert, collected $14,000 for second place. In the semis, Howard knocked out Randy Ferbey, while Martin eliminated B.C.'s Sean Geall.

LAST ROCK

The WCT rolls into Lloydminster this weekend for the Best Western Wayside Inn Curling Classic, which boasts a whopping $85,000 purse for the men. The women's event, the Colonial Square Ladies Classic worth $35,000, begins Friday in Saskatoon.


Photos