A Kimberley curling team has taken the first step to competing on the national stage this season.
Tom Buchy and his fellow curlers competed in the Kootenay zone playdowns in Sparwood this weekend, going undefeated to capture one of two qualifying spots for provincial playdowns in Vancouver next February.
The winner of the provincial championships represents B.C. at the Tim Hortons Brier—the national men’s curling championship.
Buchy is joined by teammates Dave Toffolo and Darren Will, second and lead respectively, along with newcomer Fred Thomson, who is third.
Skip Trevor Perepolkin and his rink out of the Castlegar Curling Club won the second qualifier, in a field that included seven teams from the East and West Kootenay.
The Buchy rink faced Chris Ducharme out of the Creston Curling Club and scored a triple in the ninth end to secure a 9-5 victory in the opening draw on Friday.
Later in the afternoon, the Kimberley foursome went up against Rob Ferguson representing the Trail Curling Club, and won 6-3. Heading into the final end, the Buchy rink had a tenuous 4-3 lead, but scored a deuce to close out the victory.
Still undefeated in the ‘A’ bracket, Team Buchy and Team McHargue battled for the first provincial qualifying spot. McHargue, representing the Elkford Curling Club, featured Cranbrook resident Gerry Kent on his team.
After five ends, Buchy led 4-0 before McHargue tallied a pair of points over two ends. However, the Buchy rink scored a deuce in the eighth end to finish off the game and win 7-2.
“We had a really solid weekend,” said Buchy. “We won three games and now advance to Vancouver starting February 5th.
“…The guys played well and we managed to get it done.”
Thomson is a new addition this year after Kelowna’s Dave Stephenson was unable to sign on for another year due to work and family commitments, according to Buchy.
However, it’s a small and close-knit curling community in the region, and Buchy invited Thomson to join the crew.
“He’s been to the Briers once, been to the Canadian Mixed twice, so he’s a good fit,” Buchy said. “…We all know Fred really well and thought he’d make a good fit, just by knowing him.”
The team acknowledges and thanks the following sponsors for their support:
Stephen Rota Management Inc., Coal Valley Motor Products, Assante Wealth Management, Avenue, B & B glass, ABC Country Restaurant, Coors Light, Marysville Petrocan, Kootenay Insurance Services Ltd., Sun Life Financial – Frank Vanden Broek, Prestige Hotels and Resorts, The Kimberley Curling Club.