Whitehorse Daily Star

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CARRYING THE BROOM ― Bob Smallwood’s rink will be headed to the Canadian Mixed Curling Championships for the fifth consecutive time. Team members are: (l to r) Jody Smallwood, Alex Peech, Sarah Koltun and Bob Smallwood.

Three curling rinks headed to national events

Three rinks out of the Whitehorse Curling Club are preparing to represent the territory at national competitions this month.

By Dustin Cook on November 2, 2017

Three rinks out of the Whitehorse Curling Club are preparing to represent the territory at national competitions this month.

Skip Bob Smallwood’s team will be heading to the Canadian Mixed Curling Championships for the fifth consecutive year.

Smallwood and his wife Jody are familiar with the national tournament but they will have two new faces joining them this year after organizing the new team for the Yukon qualifying tournament.

Out of the five years the Smallwood’s have qualified to represent the Yukon, Bob Smallwood said they had different players make up the rest of the team four times.

This time around, two players with prior national experience will be joining the squad.

Three-time Team Yukon Scotties skip Sarah Koltun will be joining the team as the third. Earlier this year, her rink announced they won’t be curling together this year and Koltun will be joining Kerry Galusha’s rink out of Yellowknife.

Galusha has represented the territories 14 times at the Scotties tournament.

“I curled with Sarah Koltun in a mixed doubles spiel the year before in Portage la Prairie,” Smallwood said, noting he then asked her to join their team for the mixed season.

Alex Peech, who has competed in Canadian junior championships, will be the second for Smallwood’s rink with Jody Smallwood as the lead.

In the four previous national competitions, Smallwood said his rink has qualified out of the pool play twice and that is the first goal for the team — giving them an opportunity to qualify for the medal round out of the 14 teams.

The rink will open the championships in Swan River, Manitoba against the team from Ontario. The competition runs Nov. 12-18.

Just a week later, two more teams will don Team Yukon jackets to represent the territory at the Travelers Curling Club Championships which sees curling club champions from across the country go head-to-head.

Skip Peggy Dorosz and her team, consisting of Laini Klassen, Kandice Braga and Inge Brown, will be competing at a national championship for the first time.

In preparation, Dorosz said her team went down to B.C. to compete in the Pacific International Cup against teams from around the world and they placed in second out of their pool.

“We learned we are competitive at this level and can do well,” Dorosz said. “It got us working this summer and setting our goals towards Kingston.”

The team also added a coach for the first time in preparation for the event. They will hit the ice Nov. 20-25 in the 14-team competition, with eight teams qualifying out of the pool play into the quarter-finals.

At the same time and same place, Dustin Mikkelsen and his men’s team of Scott Williamson, Brandon Hagen and Scott Cole will also be representing the Yukon in the championship.

His rink won out of the Whitehorse Curling Club and then won the territorial championship against a team from Atlin, B.C.. Mikkelsen said.

With two teams from the same club going to compete, Dorosz said it will be a benefit to go through the experience together.

“We’re playing on the same ice and with the same rocks,” she said. “We can be there for cheering and moral support and it makes a big difference.”

Back home in Whitehorse, the curing club is preparing for their first bonspiel of the week competing for cash prizes.

As of Nov. 1, the club had 12 teams registered for the event totalling a current amount of $5,600 in shared cash prizes.

The teams will play at least four eight-end games with the finals set for Sunday afternoon.

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