Kimberley skip Tom Buchy will lead a team of curlers at the provincial championships for a shot at representing B.C. in the Tim Hortons Brier.
Joining Buchy is fellow Kimberlite Dave Toffolo, while Fernie’s Darren Will and Kelowna’s Dave Stephenson are also on board as the four hope to build on their showing from last year in Parksville on Vancouver Island.
Buchy and his team earned two wins and three losses in five games last year, though a couple of them were decided either in the last end or extra ends.
Toffolo adds that the team is eager to take another run after losing those close games.
“I think last year, we played five games—four of them went down to last rock games or extra ends—it could’ve so easily gone the other way,” Toffolo said.
Stephenson is a new addition, filling in the gap left by Ken McHargue, however, he is well acquainted with Buchy, as the two played together as juniors many years ago.
McHargue opted out this time around to play seniors curling, according to Buchy.
Once Buchy and Stephenson were out of juniors, they played in quite a few cash spiels in their early 20s.
While Buchy and Stephenson go way back, Will and Toffolo only got the five games during regional qualifiers to play as a complete team with the new guy.
However, Toffolo has run into Stephenson before, usually as an opponent over the years.
“I’ve never curled with him, but I’ve curled against him quite a few times. He’s a good guy, he’s a good guy on the ice, he’s a good guy to curl against, but he’s also a very good competitor,” Toffolo said.
Buchy said the competition is going to be very tough.
Jim Cotter, who skips out of Vernon, is a two-time provincial champion and has made an appearance at the Brier.
Brent Pierce won a Brier in 2000 playing third for Greg McAulay, and went on to capture a world championship the same year.
Dean Hornig, who curls out of Castlegar and faced Buchy in the zone playdowns, has been to the Brier three times.
“Every year I seem to say it’s one of the better fields, but this is a good field,” Buchy said. “Any time you go to provincials, you won’t see a weak team there. It’s just a matter of getting on a roll and getting a few breaks.”
The team will get a chance to throw some rocks on Tuesday and check out the ice before competition begins in earnest on Wednesday.
“That’ll give us a chance to view the ice, see if it was anything like last year,” said Buchy. “Last year it was fantastic—had big curl, rocks were great and it was really fast, so that’s kind of the ultimate for shotmaking.”
The four face Jason Montgomery and his Victoria-based team first in Wednesday afternoon draw.
“We know everybody is throwing rocks, we have to trust in our ability and our experience, because we all have decent experience and we expect everyone to come and be able to play well,” said Toffolo. “Hopefully it all happens at the right time. That’s the hope—if it all comes together, good things will happen.”