'It's nice to play Monday'

CON GRIWKOWSKY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

LLOYDMINSTER -- When it comes to curling around these parts, nobody does it better than Warren Hassall.

So, there was more than a bit of excitement on Saturday night when Hassall got himself into today's final of the Wayside Inn Classic with a 9-6 win over Edmonton's Jamie King in one A Event final.

Hassall has qualified in his hometown spiel before, but has never managed to get past the semi.

With a bit of love from the local fans, he'd like to give them something to cheer about in today's playoff round.

"It hasn't been too much success for us in this spiel," said Hassall. "It's really neat. It's nice to play in the home rink. We know a lot of people here, we're familiar with the rink and we're familiar with everything. That means a lot.

"It's nice to play Monday."

For the past 17 years, Hassall has banged heads against Alberta teams. He's skipped and been part of other squads, most notably the one skipped by Edmonton's Brent MacDonald, who put together an all-star team from this area. He's also been on Don Walchuk's supporting cast.

This season, Hassall is going to buck convention and will be trying to qualify for the Brier out of Saskatchewan.

It's not much of a stretch, since Lloydminster straddles the Alberta-Saskatchewan border.

"Having the ability to go to Saskatchewan through Lloydminster, we thought it might be a better choice for us," said Hassall.

"We're not slighting Saskatchewan curlers, but Alberta has got four or maybe five of the top teams in the world."

Looking at opposition like Kevin Martin, Kevin Koe, Randy Ferbey and emerging powers like King, Ted Appelman and Chris Schille, Hassall may have seen the writing on the wall.

"Right away, you're starting to bang heads with five of the top teams in the world and that makes it a bit tougher," said Hassall. "That's just the way it is.

"Appelman's hot, King's hot, Schille's hot ... it's like the list never ends. It keeps getting tougher and tougher, to be honest with you.

"The better the teams get, everybody picks up their game that much more."


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