Gowsell pushes for senior title

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Once a pioneer in introducing the push broom to the international stage, Paul Gowsell figures he might go old school in a return bid for provincial curling supremacy.

How's that for a little irony from the Calgary legend?

"We're thinking of bringing out some straw brooms to equalize the field a little bit," said Gowsell, revealing his strategy for the 2010 Alberta Senior Men's Curling Championships. "If you can get some straw out on the ice, it can make up for a little shot-making advantage others have on us."

Sounds kinda corny coming from a guy who was the first Canadian to use a push broom in international competition and who enjoyed more curling success than anybody he'll face in the eight-team senior provincial field, which begins Wednesday at Edmonton's Thistle Curling Club.

Gowsell is a two-time world junior king, skipping Alberta and national winners to global triumphs over Sweden in 1976 and '78.

He's a provincial men's champion, spearheading his Calgary Winter Club rink of third Neil Houston, second Glen Jackson and lead Kelly Stearne -- the same lineup that won the junior title four years earlier -- to the 1980 Labatt Brier in Calgary.

He's a go-to reliable guy, making cameo appearances to fill-in for fellow legendary Alberta skips, such as Pat Ryan and Kevin Martin, on the world stage.

And he's upended some of the best curlers in the nation, recently as third for Harold Breckenridge.

"We used to beat up on Martin and (Russ and Glenn) Howard and all those guys," Gowsell said. "I used to get to beat up by (four-time Alberta champ) Hec Gervais."

So if there's a favourite heading into the Alberta seniors, Gowsell fits the bill.

"No ... we're a darkhorse," said Gowsell, who will be flanked by third Wayne Cox, second Al Rogers and lead Gord Dewer (filling in for Bill Stirling). "The Edmonton teams are heads and tails better. They've been together longer -- we're in our first year together. They've practised a lot. And they've been in semifinal and finals (on the World Curling Tour).

"That's why we're going to slap some corn down and shake these guys up a bit. I'm telling you -- it levels the playing field."

Certainly, there's a few names of Alberta fame -- including Edmontonians Mark Johnson and Brad Hannah -- in pursuit of the senior crown. Johnson, for instance, skips Les Rogers' former squad which won the province in '05 and '06 and went on to win the world championship.

"I played juniors against Mark," Gowsell said. "I played against Hannah in men's, so I know he's strong, too. And (Lloydminster's Doug) Zingel -- I played him in men's and know he's good.

"I'm looking forward to seeing some of the guys in Edmonton that I played with and against in men's and in juniors. And yes, we'll go up there with every intent of playing our best. If I have to spend a week in Edmonton playing those guys, we'll try and step up. Second prize is a bowl of soup."

Extra ends

Joining Gowsell as Southern Alberta representatives at the senior provincials are Red Deer rinks skipped by Lowell Peterman and Rob Armitage. Grande Prairie's Colin Griffith and Falher's Don Dumont round out the eight-team field as Peace District entries ... Okotoks' Debbie Miller and Calgarians Diane Foster (Calgary Winter Club) and Terri Loblaw (North Hill) carry the south colours for the eight-team field at the Thistle-hosted senior women's provincials. The Peace District sends Grande Prairie's Norma Huitt and Dorothy Trask of Fort St. John, B.C., while the north reps are Fort McMurray's Brenda Elder and Edmonton's Elayne Powell and Dianne Bowen ... Fifteen teams clashed for two provincial spots in the juvenile men's southerns at The Glencoe Club. In the A final, Nanton's Jeremy Harty beat Lucas Scott of the Garrison Curling Club 6-5 after two in the final end. Red Deer's Shane Parcels met Lethbridge's Cody Smith in Monday's B final ... Among juvenile women, reigning provincial champion Jocelyn Peterman of Red Deer will defend her crown after winning the A event 10-3 over Airdrie's Courtney Missikewitz at the southerns. Megan Chambers of the Calgary Curling Club and Keely Brown of the Calgary Winter Club met in the B final to determine the other south qualifier for the provincials (March 5-7 in Wainwright).

LAST ROCK

The 2010 Alberta Master Men's Curling Championships go Feb. 24-28 in High River. Calgarians Ron McCurdy and Rod Butcher and High River's Emery Boucher qualified through southern playdowns this month at the Ogden Legion Curling Club. McCurdy of the Calgary Curling Club topped Gil Schmaltz of the North Hill Curling Club 6-4 in the A final. In the B final, North Hill's Butcher beat Dan Guglielmin of the Calgary Winter Club 6-3. The C final saw Boucher edge Guglielmin 6-5.


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