Jamie Newson hopes his team is peaking at the right time.
The Charlottetown Curling Complex rink enters the Prince Edward Island Men’s Tankard Provincial Championship as the top seed. It started the season slow, but has played consistently well during the past four cashspiels.
“We’re just starting to pick up steam,” Newson said. “We’re feeling pretty good going into the weekend.”
The squad is a new team this season, but there was some familiarity.
Newson and lead John Desrosiers have played together for four years, including the past three in a row.
Third Andrew Robinson and Newson played together a decade ago for four years. Back then, Robinson was the skip and Newson was the third. They reunited this season and Shawn Cleary joined them as the team’s second.
Newson said it worked on its mechanics and fundamentals early in the season with coach Peter Gallant and has gained a comfort level playing with one another.
The 10-team Tankard begins today at the Montague Curling Club.
The top four teams were seeded based on cashspiel winnings this season. Robert Campbell is the second seed followed by MacDonald and Blair Weeks. Non-seeded teams are skipped by Donald Clarey, Tyler Harris, Bill Hope, Blair Jay, Eddie MacKenzie and Kyle Stevenson.
“There may be a few teams gunning for us, but I don’t consider us the favourites,” Newson said when asked about being the top seed. “I still say Roddie MacDonald or Eddie MacKenzie would be considered the favourites as the experience and the defending champs. I don’t think there’s a lot of pressure on us.”
MacKenzie and MacDonald have combined to win six of the past nine provincial titles. MacKenzie beat MacDonald 7-6 in an extra end in last year’s final in Crapaud.
Montague last host the championship in 2009 when MacDonald claimed victory.
Newson said his team lost to MacDonald in the final of a cashspiel in Montague a couple of weeks ago and has since been back to the club to practise a few times.
“The ice has been pretty good,” he said. “It’s quick. It’s straight in a few spots, but the speed is pretty good and it’s consistent.”
Eight of the 10 teams are from the Charlottetown Curling Complex while Hope curls out of the Cornwall Curling Club and Clarey from the host Montague club.
Jay normally curls out of the Silver Fox Curling & Yacht Club in Summerside, but is replacing John Likely, who is unable to curl due to an eye injury.
Prince Edward Island Men’s Tankard Provincial Championship
u When – Today to Sunday. Draws go at 2 and 7 p.m. daily with the final slated for Sunday at 7 p.m.
u Where – Montague Curling Club.
u Opening ceremonies – Tonight at 6:15 pm.
u Format – It’s a triple-knockout event, qualifying four teams for the Page championship round.
u At stake – The winner will represent the province at the Tim Hortons Brier, March 1 to 9 in Kamloops, B.C.
u Admission – $3 per draw or $25 for an event pass.
u Who – Ten teams will be competing. They are:
u Robert Campbell, Erik Brodersen, Dennis Watts and Mike Dillon from the Charlottetown Curling Complex.
u Donald Clarey, Larry Richards, Rob Young and Mike Clarey from the host Montague Curling Club.
u Tyler Harris, Sam Ramsay, Cody Dixon and John Mullin from the Charlottetown Curling Complex.
u Bill Hope, Craig Mackie, David Murphy and Doug MacGregor from the Cornwall Curling Club.
u Blair Jay, Mark Butler, Robbie Doherty and Robbie Younker from the Charlottetown Curling Complex.
u Rod MacDonald, Kevin Champion, Mark O’Rourke and Mark Victor from the Charlottetown Curling Complex.
u Eddie MacKenzie, Anson Carmody, Tyler MacKenzie and Sean Ledgerwood from the Charlottetown Curling Complex. Phil Gorveatt is the alternate and Al Ledgerwood is the coach.
u Jamie Newson, Andrew Robinson, Sean Clarey and John Desrosiers from the Charlottetown Curling Complex. Phillip McInnis is the alternate while Peter Gallant is the coach.
u Kyle Stevenson, Pat Lynch, Kyle MacDonald and Jeff Gallant from the Charlottetown Curling Complex.
u Blair Weeks, Robert Shaw, Matthew Nabuurs and Connor MacPhee from the Charlottetown Curling Complex. Doug Weeks is also with the team.
Past Tankard Champions
2013 – Eddie MacKenzie, Anson Carmody, Alex MacFadyen and Sean Ledgerwood.
2012 – Mike Gaudet, Tyler MacKenzie, Tyler Harris and Sean Clarey.
2011 – Eddie MacKenzie, Mike Gaudet, Mike Dillon and Alex MacFadyen.
2010 – Rod MacDonald, Kevin Champion, Andrew Robinson and Mark O’Rourke.
2009 – Rod MacDonald, Kevin Champion, Andrew Robinson and Mark O’Rourke.
2008 – Peter Gallant, Kevin Champion, Mark O’Rourke and John Desrosiers.
2007 – Peter Gallant, Kevin Champion, Mark O’Rourke and Robert Campbell.
2006 – Rod MacDonald, Kevin Champion, Phillip Gorveatt and Mike Dillon.
2005 – Rod MacDonald, Kevin Champion, Phillip Gorveatt and Mike Dillon.
2004 – Mike Gaudet, Evan Sullivan, Craig Arsenault and Sean Ledgerwood.
2003 – Robert Campbell, Kevin Champion, Phillip Gorveatt and Mike Dillon.
2002 – John Likely, Robert Campbell, Eric Brodersen and Jeff Smith.
* The complete list dating back to 1936 is available at http://peicurling.com/history/mens.shtml