Published on September 11, 2013
Head ice technician Jamie Bourassa pebbles the ice Wednesday at the CARI Complex for the Curl Atlantic Championship.
Published on September 11, 2013
Work was underway Tuesday to transform the CARI Complex from a hockey venue to curling for the Atlantic Curling Championship. The 24-team event begins Thursday.
Many of Atlantic Canada’s top curlers are in Charlottetown for four-day tourney
By Blair Weeks
Special to The Guardian
Preparation time is over – the 2013-14 curling season starts Thursday at the CARI Complex at the Curl Atlantic Championship (C.A.C.).
First draw of the round robin begins at 1 p.m. and features the defending champion, Newfoundland’s Stacie Deveraux, versus P.E.I.’s Kathie O’Rourke.
O’Rourke has added a key recruit this season as Robyn (MacPhee) Green will join the team and throw skip rocks. Many Islanders remember Green’s last great run as a skip when she was mere inches from eliminating Jennifer Jones and advancing to the semifinal at the Scotties in 2009.
Other first round games sees two-time world champion Mary Anne Arsenault play fellow Nova Scotian Colleen Pinkney and New Brunsiwck’s Andrea Crawford play Christina Black of Halifax.
On the men’s side at 1 p.m. Jamie Newson of Charlottetown plays James Gratton, New Brunswick’s perennial men’s champion. Rod MacDonald kicks off his curling season against Zach Eldridge.
The preparations are done, but how do top-level curlers get ready for curling in August and early September without unlimited access to curling ice?
O’Rourke’s team had been dry-land training leading up to its first ice time on Aug. 23.
“However, with Crapaud Curling Club putting ice in early it has given us some ice time that we would normally not have to prepare for the C.A.C.,” she said.
Charlottetown’s Eddie MacKenzie’s team has been training all summer for the event.
“After a Brier appearance last year, our team is anxious to start this year on the right foot and the C.A.C. is a great starting point for the year,” said Sean Ledgerwood, lead for MacKenzie’s team.
Fredericton’s Andrea Crawford has made weekly trips to Moncton to get on the ice, which they started making on Aug. 13. Mary Anne Arsenault’s team has practised at Mayflower in Halifax for the last few weeks.
“We threw rocks six times before the event,” said Kim Kelley, who is third for Arsenault’s squad. “Not a lot of preparation but we have been able to get comfortable throwing. I think the C.A.C. is part of the kick off/preparation for the season so all you really need is a few stretch and throw sessions.”
Defending P.E.I. women’s champion Suzanne Gaudet has also managed to find some ice time.
“Since there was ice at the APM Centre in Cornwall for Whitecap Curling Academy our team was able to get out on the ice twice to practice on arena ice,” Gaudet said. “It was very beneficial. Also, having ice in Crapaud early this season, we did not have to travel over to Moncton to be able to get out on the ice before the event starts.”
The competing teams have made a big effort to be ready and will provide some exciting moments for P.E.I. curling fans. Draws continue at 5 and 9 p.m. today, as well as all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting at 8 a.m.
The men’s and women’s final will be played Sunday at 4 p.m. Event passes and daily tickets are available at CARI or by visiting the Curl Atlantic website.
Curl Atlantic Championship
What – Twelve men’s and 12 women’s curling tournement.
When – Thursday to Sunday
Where – CARI Complex, Charlottetown
Online – http://curlatlanticchampionship.ca/