Steve Petryk would rather not dwell on the past.
But the truth is the Calgary curler was a member of the last South team to capture the coveted Alberta purple heart -- and he remembers the victory way back in 1994 like it happened yesterday.
"Amazing -- it was absolutely amazing, and a bit stunning," said Petryk, who was lead for Ed Lukowich's champion team 15 years ago. "You play a week wanting to win, but when you win, it's just jubilation -- and a bit unreal.
"I definitely could go for another time like that."
The Calgary curler will get his shot, beginning today in Wainwright.
And as amazing as it might feel for Petryk to win a second provincial men's championship, it would be equally as stunning again, especially given the stellar field vying for this year's Alberta tankard.
It's loaded with talent -- a who's-who of not just Alberta curling but of Canadian curling. Of course, the competition includes the North's Big Three -- Kevin Martin, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Koe.
Defending three-time king Martin has won the Alberta title seven times since Petryk won it with Lukowich. Ferbey was triumphant five consecutive times between 2001 and '05. And Koe, the reigning Canada Cup champ, has been knocking on the door for years.
"I know who's there, and they know who I am," said Petryk, the A-event champion of the 2009 Southern Alberta Curling Association's Boston Pizza Cup two weeks ago at The Glencoe Club. "I've certainly played the big teams. They know who I am and what I'm capable of. They know I can beat them."
Petryk, who has skipped at provincials three of the last four years, has done just that in his decorated career, including a victory over Martin just two months ago at the Canada Cup qualifier in Edmonton.
"Any given weekend, anybody can win," said the 45-year-old Petryk, a veteran of seven previous men's provincial championships. "Sure it's been a while since a South team won it. Certainly we're not considered the favourite, but I'm fine with flying under the radar, so to speak."
Certainly, Petryk won't concede to the super-curlers.
In fact, he feels he might have a wildcard -- or two -- up his own sleeve with his Calgary Curling Club foursome. While he's the wily veteran of the rink, savvy third Rob Schlender is making only his second trip to provincials -- the first was with Petryk a year ago -- and second Brent Bawel and lead Sean O'Connor are making their Alberta tankard debuts. Both Bawel and O'Connor are relatively new to the men's game.
"I don't think any of these teams, especially the top three, have any weaknesses," said Petryk, when asked if he can draw off his own experience facing and playing alongside members of the Big Three. "Our young guys are maybe our wildcard. Maybe the other teams don't know what to expect from them. I know that I'm going to get more than 100% out of our two young guys."
Calgary's Will Sanders and Raymond Hagel will represent SACA at the master men's provincials, Feb. 25-March 1 in High River. Sanders and his Inglewood Curling Club rink won the A final of the Southerns this past weekend in Medicine Hat, while Hagel and his North Hill Curling Club team qualified for the provincials through the Southerns' C event. Sanders beat Ken MacRae (Calgary Curling Club) 9-6 in the A final by counting four in the final end, while Hagel beat Frank Bailey (The Glencoe Club) 11-5 in Monday's C qualifier. The B title was won by Medicine Hat's Lloyd Heller in a 7-4 triumph over Wayne Barrowcliffe of the Calgary Winter Club ... In Fort Macleod, South reps for the juvenile men's provincials were decided. Sundre's Craig Bourgonje and Red Deer's Shane Parcels qualified through the A and B events respectively. Bourgonje beat Parcels 7-4 in the A final. Parcels rebounded to win two straight, including the B final, 6-4 over Oyen's Josh Carroll. The two qualifiers head to Olds for the Alberta championship, March 6-8.
Dean Ross (Calgary Curling) and Rob Armitage (Red Deer) are the other two SACA reps joining Petryk for provincials in Wainwright.
ALBERTA men's champs since 1993
2008 KEVIN MARTIN SAVILLE
2007 KEVIN MARTIN SAVILLE
2006 KEVIN MARTIN SAVILLE
2005 RANDY FERBEY GRANITE
2004 RANDY FERBEY OTTEWELL
2003 RANDY FERBEY OTTEWELL
2002 RANDY FERBEY OTTEWELL
2001 RANDY FERBEY OTTEWELL
2000 KEVIN MARTIN OTTEWELL
1999 KEVN HUNKA OTTEWELL
1998 TOM REED GRANITE
1997 KEVIN MARTIN OTTEWELL
1996 KEVIN MARTIN OTTEWELL
1995 KEVIN MARTIN OTTEWELL
1994 ED LUKOWICH GLENCOE (LAST CALGARY RINK TO WIN)