Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for March 7, 2013

Paslawski, Baldwin rinks sweep up Dominion Club victories

While a Brier matchup glowed softly from the television in the curling club lounge, local Yukon rinks were focused on a different tournament on the ice this weekend in Whitehorse.

While a Brier matchup glowed softly from the television in the curling club lounge, local Yukon rinks were focused on a different tournament on the ice this weekend in Whitehorse.

As the top male curling rinks in the country were playing for a national title in Edmonton, six local rinks were curling in the local Dominion Club Playdowns.

Pat Paslawski’s rink emerged at the top of the four men’s teams, finishing with a 5-1 record in the double-round robin tournament.

Paslawski’s team, including Gord Zealand, Alex Peech and Trent Derkatch, bested teams skipped by George Hilderman, Jim Sias and defending champion Ray Mikkelsen to win the capital city’s title.

On the ladies side, Nicole Baldwin’s rink beat Laura Eby’s two straight to take a convincing win.

Baldwin’s team included Rhonda Horte, Helen Strong and Ladene Shaw.

Jody Smallwood’s rink did not return to defend its 2012 title.

The winners of the men’s and women’s divisions will move on to the territorial championships next month in Mayo.

“It was probably one of the closest-matched fields in the Dominion history here at the club,” said Matt Bustin, business manager of the Whitehorse Curling Club. “If we played the tournament again, there’s a very good chance we’d have a totally different result.”

Paslawski said his team was confident they could win the local playdowns, if they played up to their standard.

“For us right now, there’s really no chance to go to the Brier, because we’d have to play against basically professional curlers,” he explained. “We decided before this year that we would concentrate on the Dominion.”

Paslawski said if the Brier playdowns between the Yukon and Northwest Territories had been held in the Yukon, his team would have been involved.

Paslawski previously curled in the 1999 Brier on Orest Peech’s team, which finished 0-11.

“I’d like to go back to the Brier,” Paslawski told the Star. “We have to play against those top teams to get better and to try and climb up to their level.”

But playing against professional teams would be a daunting task, he admitted.

“Really, there’s only a couple of teams in any given year that we could hope to beat,” Paslawski said. “Going back to the Brier would be a great opportunity, but the reality is we don’t belong there.”

Entering play on Sunday, Paslawski’s rink was 4-0. Sias’ rink was the only other team in contention at 2-2, but for the second-place team to have a chance, they would need to win both Sunday games while Paslawski would have to lose both to force a playoff.

Ironically, the two rinks squared off Sunday morning, with Sias winning the game 7-6 in an extra end.

Sias scored four points in the fifth end to go up on Paslawski, who clawed his way back the rest of the game, including a steal of two in the eighth.

“We made Jimmy make a really tough shot to win the game, so we were pretty happy with that,” Paslawski said.

“There was a little bit of drama there Sunday morning,” Bustin said. “People were kind of freaking out. It was a good game to watch.”

Paslawski downed Hilderman’s rink to end the tournament on a winning note.

Yukon Curling Association executive director Linden Mattie said he is still confirming which curling clubs from across the territory will be sending representative teams to the Yukon playdowns April 5 to 7.

The winners of the Mayo playdowns will earn the right to represent the Yukon at the 2013 national championships in Thunder Bay, Ont.

The national playdowns are slated to happen Nov. 18 to 23 at the Fort William Curling Club.

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