January 24, 2011
Kennedy catches fire
By CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - On the first day, the skip looked like a Dead Kennedy.
But a miraculous resurrection worthy of Lazarus was completed on Sunday.
Glen Kennedy grabbed the last available spot for the Alberta men's provincial with a hard-fought 6-2 win over Warren Hassall in the C Event final of the northerns at the Leduc Curling Club.
After dropping a pair of games on opening day, Kennedy’s team faced a win- or-go-home situation.
All they did was rattle off five straight wins.
“The way we played on Friday, Betty’s senior Tuesday night team could have beat us,” said Kennedy.
“I’m extremely proud of the boys. They came out with great integrity and concentration the last few days.
“We were down in the dumps on Friday, but at the end of the day, you still have a life. You’ve just got to rattle off a few wins and get some momentum.”
Kennedy’s supporting cast of third Dustin Ekstrand, second Steven Meadows and Kris Meadows have played together a long time.
Chris Schille, who’s now with Don Walchuk, was the skip of that crew two years ago.
Still, it was a tough grind just to get the chance to play in a qualifier.
“Out of those five, I think three of them came down to last rock,” said Kennedy, who simplified his game plan.
“A lot of the last couple of days, we just played the scoreboard. Sometimes, when you’re that far into the dumps, you don’t want to be playing a whole pile of rocks, because it’s pretty tough on the sweepers to go hard for five straight games.”
This will be Kennedy’s first appearance as a skip at the provincial level.
He tried skipping a couple of years out of junior, then had some pretty good success as a second on Mark Johnson’s team.
That team lost one provincial final to Kevin Martin and was a force on the World Curling Tour.
Kennedy values his experience with Johnson, who’s going to represent Canada at the world seniors later this year.
“It’s nice to get back to the show,” said Kennedy. “It’s always a different experience at the T-line. I’ve had a bit of a roller-coaster men’s career.
“In a lot of ways, I still have a lot to learn as a skip. Getting draw weight when you’re not able to see rocks being thrown is something I’ve had to get used to.
“For all the years I was playing second, you got such a read on the ice just from sweeping. To take that away was a big adjustment.”
Even though Kennedy played with Ekstrand last year, this is a completely new lineup that has had mixed results on the World Curling Tour.
“It’s been a really up and down year,” said Kennedy. “We’ve probably played 30 games this year and you look at the big boys and they’re over 100.
“We’re still confident, and we still think we have the weapons, but at the end of the day the lack of games is a bit of our falling out.”
After losing both the B and C Event finals, all Hassall had left was a long drive home to Lloydminster.
“It was a tough one,” said Hassall, who lost Saturday night’s B Event final on a measure, allowing Randy Ferbey to steal the game in an extra end.
“It was really close. We could have been there for sure. Life goes on.”