2013-14 VCC Successes Abound at All Levels

The 2013-2104 season was a successful one for many different VCC teams and individuals who were representing the Club at competitions from Ottawa to the Comox Valley, and many places in between.

This season was a unique one for the Club because for the first time in recent memory, there were VCC teams at three different national championships. We would like to congratulate Team Switzer, Team Gibson, Team Schneider and Team Thompson for representing the Club so well on the national stage.

Team Switzer (skip Keith Switzer, third Sandra Comadina, second Leonard Firkus and lead Carman Cheng) were in Ottawa last fall for the 2014 Canadian Mixed Curling Championships. Competing as Team BC, one of their highlights during the event was defeating the defending national champions from Ontario. They wrapped up the 2014 Canadian Mixed Championships in 10th place.

Team Gibson, meanwhile, achieved success at two different levels. First, and after winning both the BC Dominion Club Challenge and the Pacific International Cup in the spring of 2013, they earned the right to compete as Team BC in Thunder Bay at the 2013 Dominion Curling Club Championships this past fall. The team was composed of skip Amy Gibson, fourth Rebecca Turley, second Michelle Dunn and lead Marilou Richter. They finished tied for third in their pool, both winning and losing some very close games.

Team Gibson continued their strong season when they qualified for the 2014 Scotties BC Womenís Curling Championship, held at the Prince George Golf and Country Club. Skip Amy Gibson, fourth Rebecca Turley, second Carman Cheng, and lead Michelle Dunn headed into their final game of the round robin in a three-way tie for seventh and needed to win as well as get a break in the other game results to possibly create a six-way tiebreaker. The other results came in as desired, but the team sustained yet another close and heartbreaking loss as they finished on the wring side of a 6-5 decision decided by a measure, and ended in ninth place.

At the 2014 Canadian Gay Curling Championships, and for the third consecutive year in a row, Team Schneider solidified their hold as the undisputed national champions. During the intense all-Vancouver rematch, Team Schneider (skip Stephen Schneider, third Shawn Eklund, second Shelley Birston and lead Glenn Smith) came out on top against long-time rivals Team Thompson (skip Aaron Thompson, third Jack Holmes, second Brian Oldham and lead Mark Trowell).

VCC success did not stop at the national level. There were many VCC members who waved our Club flag proud at a number of playdown events and provincial championships this past season. Beginning with the masters level competitions (for those curlers aged 60 and over), two VCC teams (and one partial VCC team) participated in the Masters Menís Lower Mainland Playdowns in early February at the Mission Curling Club. The VCC teams included Team Bain (skip Croft Bain, third Randy Chambers, second Bill Dauphinee and lead Gary Lubin), and Team Watson (skip Ken Watson, third Dale Hockley, second John Smiley and lead Bill Rafter). In addition to Teams Bain and Watson, Team Martin (VCC members skip Jerry Martin, third Irwin ìShortyî Sellars, second Wayne Chine and lead Wayne Saito) played under the Royal City banner. Team Martin lost in the B semi finals and C quarter finals to finish tied for 7th place, and Team Bain finished tied for 10th place. Team Watson was one of three teams (the B qualifier) who moved on to the provincial championships. At the 2014 BC Masters Menís Curling Championship in Creston in March, Team Watson finished the round robin in fourth place. In the page playoff 3-4 game, Team Watson finished fourth when they lost a one point game that was decided in the eighth end on a measure.

At the senior level (for curlers aged 50 and over), Dianne Petrant played second on Team Thompson (playing out of Richmond CC), and lost in the C final at the Lower Mainland Playdowns. Jane Cuthbertson played lead and Brad Burton coached Team Smiley (from Royal City CC). As winners of the playdowns in the C division, they qualified for the Tim Hortonís BC Senior Womenís Curling Championship. Once there, and after having played at the Comox Curling Club in February, Jane and Brad, along with the rest of Team Smiley, finished in fourth place against the rest of the province.

On the menís side of the senior competitions, Team Watson (skip Ken Watson, third Dale Hockley, second Randy Nelson, lead Dale Reibin) won the Lower Mainland Playdowns to qualify for their second provincial championship of the season. Jan Bos played third for Team Brower (out of the Langley CC). They lost in the A semi finals but came back to win the B final and qualify for the provincials. Keith Switzer, meanwhile, played third for Team Moss (Richmond CC). They bowed out in the B quarterfinal of the Lower Mainland Playdowns. Moving forward to the results at the 2014 Tim Hortonís BC Senior Menís Curling Championship in Comox in February, Team Watson and Jan and his team both finished in a three-way tie for fourth, where only the top three teams qualified for the playoffs.

In the Mixed division, the VCC sent five teams to the Lower Mainland Playdowns, and had two other teams with strong VCC connections competing. Team Gessner (skip Brian Gessner, third Marilou Richter, second Chris Chute, lead Jaime McLaren) won the C event to pick up the final qualifying position for the provincial championships. Team Birston (skip Scott Robertson, third Shelley Birston, second Kevin Mintenko, lead Krista Frazee) finished tied for 12th place. The 2013 defending BC Mixed champions entered with a player change at the second position as Team Switzer (skip Keith Switzer, third Sandra Comadina, second Wayne Hogaboam, lead Carman Cheng) lost in the C semi final to finish tied for 7th place. Team Tully (skip Brock Tully, third Laura Guetta, second Chris Faa, lead Wilma Fuchs) and the 2013 BC Mixed Bronze medalists Team Wakefield (skip Jay Wakefield, third Rebecca Turley, second Jeff Cawker, lead Michelle Dunn) both finished tied for 9th place. The two other teams at the competition with strong VCC connections included Team Holladay playing out of the Richmond CC, but with all four team members also being VCC members. Skip Siobhan Holladay, third Mark Robinson, second Allison DenToom, and lead Craig Coyne finished tied for 12th place. Meanwhile, Amy Gibson played third with Team Denis from Richmond CC and won the B event to qualify for the provincial championships.

At the 2014 AMJ Campbell Van Lines BC Mixed Championship, Team Gessner lost in the B semifinals and the C finals to finish in a tie for fifth, and one place away from the playoffs. Meanwhile, Amy Gibson on Team Denis lost in the C finals to also finish in a tie for fifth place.

Our younger members were able to replicate the success of our older members as the high school boys curling team from David Thomson Secondary qualified for the provincial championships in Parksville in January. Skip Matt Chan, third Benny Jiang, second Jonah Fourchalk, lead Patrick Fourchalk, fifth Kent Yip, and coaches Zoe Higgs and Kevin Chen won the Zone 2 playdowns to qualify for the provincials, and went on to finish in eighth place at the BC School Sports 2014 Curling Championships in Parksville.

A second group of younger curlers continued their success from last season. Team Ueda (skip Jay Ueda, third Cullen Quek, second Keegan Lennie, lead Arthur Yee, fifth Matt Chan) plays out of the North Shore Winter Club. At the BC Winter Games in Mission in February, Team Ueda won their round robin pool and their semi final game. They lost in the championship final by one point in an extra end to earn the silver medal. Jay, Keegan and Arthur were members of the VCC at the time. They continued their season in March when they traveled to Vernon to compete at the BC qualifier for the Canada Winter Games. Team Ueda finished tied for fourth in their pool and did not advance to the playoffs.

The final group of VCC teams competing in playdowns were a number of menís teams and individual members playing for other clubsí teams. In Salmon Arm in January, at the final playdown for the 2014 Canadian Direct Insurance BC Menís Curling Championship, presented by AutomationOne, there was one VCC team and two teams with VCC connections who came close to playing at home for the 2014 BC Menís Championship. Team Schneider (skip Stephen Schneider, third Shawn Eklund, second Rick Feeney, lead Brant Amos, and fifth Adam Cseke) represented the Club well but bowed out of the competition in the C semifinals.

Meanwhile, the two other teams with strong VCC connections played well. Team Brower, from Royal City CC, featured two VCC members (third Chris Faa and second Jan Bos) and they lost incredibly close one point games in both the B and C finals to barely miss out on qualifying. Team Gessner from Royal City CC had one VCC member (skip Brian Gessner). They lost out in the C semifinals.

At an earlier menís playdown, held in December at Royal City Curling Club, Team Brower (with Chris and Jan) and Team Gessner (with additional VCC members including Brian as skip as well as second Dale Reiben and coach Brad Burton) competed alongside a couple of VCC teams. Team Brower lost in the A quarterfinals and B quarterfinals, and finished tied for 10th place. Team Gessner lost in the C quarterfinals, finishing tied for seventh place. Meanwhile, other VCC teams in this playdown achieved the following results: Team Forrest (skip Andrew Forrest, third Dave Marchant, second Chris Chute, lead Kris Davis) finished tied for 10th; Team Schneider (skip Stephen Schneider, third Wes Johnson, second Shawn Eklund, lead Brant Amos) lost in the B semi finals and C semi finals and finished tied for fifth place; Team Thompson (skip Aaron Thompson, third Jack Holmes, second Brian Oldham, lead Mark Trowell) lost in the C quarterfinals, finishing tied for seventh place.

The final two teams who deserve a round of applause for their efforts this past season are Team Birston and Team Schneider for their results at the Dominion Curling Club Challenge. Team Birston (skip Shelley Birston, third Allison DenToom, second Siobhan Holladay, lead Krista Frazee) competed in the womenís division and won their round robin pool at the Lower Mainland division. They went on to capture the silver medal and qualify for the provincial playdowns. Team Schneider (skip Stephen Schneider, third Shawn Eklund, second Brant Amos, lead Christopher Ordog) finished tied for second in their pool and did not qualify for the playoff round.

At the BC Dominion Curling Club Championship, Team Birston started out strong and built a 3-0 record halfway through the round robin; however, they had a couple of close games go against them to finish the provincial event with a record of 3-4, for fifth place.

Congratulations to all VCC teams and members who competed against the rest of the country, the province and the lower mainland. The Club is proud of everyone's achievements and accomplishments during the 2013-2014 season.