Chinese curling getting Ferbey touch

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:35 AM ET

EDMONTON - A couple months back there was a report that Randy Ferbey was going to Russia to coach the Russian curling team through to the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

He decided not to go to Russia.

He’s going to China instead.

A farewell function was held Thursday night at the Good Buddy restaurant to send the Randy Ferbey and Heather Nedohin teams to Beijing for the inaugural Beijing International Cup.

Tin Yip, who was the local liaison for Betty Wang’s team training in Edmonton for four years leading to the Vancouver Olympics, put the function together after helping orchestrate the trip.

It was to involve the entire Ferbey Four and their wives, who all are or were competitive curlers, but Marcel and Raylene Rocque bowed out due to a schedule change.

So Ferbey, Dave Nedohin and Scott Pfeifer will be joined by Mike McEwan of Winnipeg while Heather Nedohin will curl with Wendy Ferbey, Chantelle Pfeifer and Dawn Askin, the lead of the Jennifer Jones team.

“The way it had been set up, we had to find another couple,” said Ferbey of the Manitoba mates.

Six-time Brier champion Ferbey said at first this was going to be a coaching trip for his four-time Brier championship team.

“It was going to be an instructional visit for their grass-roots curlers and we were going to come in early July. But they didn’t know that you needed three days to make curling ice, and speedskating had booked the ice. But then, not quite two weeks ago they came up with this idea.

“It’ll involve their men’s and women’s national teams in a Continental Cup-style format in a three-day competition.

“They’re going to show it on TV all over China. Betty Wang has had as many as 40 million viewers for a game at the Olympics. In Canada four million is a good number and 10 million is huge.

“They’re bringing us over and treating us like royalty. And we’re going to talk about going back and setting up camps in Harbin within the next six months,” he said of Edmonton’s sister city in northern China where all their curlers come from.

“All 100 of them,” said Ferbey.

Only problem with the event is that it’s been a while since Wendy Ferbey and Chantelle Pfeifer last curled competitively.

“Other than Christmas ‘Spiels and things like that, it’s been 10 years for Wendy,” said Ferbey.

“She’s been panicking. When she throws a couple of bad rocks ...”

He said maybe he shouldn’t have told her about the 40 million Chinese watching curling on TV.

“We’ve been out practising six times already — earliest I’ve been out in 25 years.

“I’m looking forward to it. I think it’ll be a great adventure for all of us. It’ll be interesting.”

Ferbey said the chance to coach Russia in the Olympics was real.

“I pulled the plug on it,” he said.

“They wanted me to head up the national team right through to the Olympics.

They agreed to $100,000 a year each year right off, with some real good bonuses. I was dealing with the minister of sport.

“I wanted to have the team train in Edmonton, like the Chinese women did. They wanted me to spend three months each year over there.

“I wanted an assistant of my choice and they didn’t want that, either.”

@sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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