It might not be the traditional game most people are familiar with, but mixed doubles curling is quickly becoming a fast-paced and exciting version of the great Canadian pastime.
The spotlight is about to shine on mixed doubles curling with its inclusion at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and a couple Cranbrook-based teams are looking to take the first step on the long road to qualifying.
Trevor Qually and Tracey Amy form one of the crews, with Brenna Baker and Chris Medford the other Cranbrook duo headed to the 2016 B.C. Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, which begins Friday at the Enderby Curling Club.
“We’re pretty excited to go and we know there’s going to be some great competition,” Amy said Tuesday afternoon at the Cranbrook Curling Centre. “It’s our first time and we’re pretty happy to be there.
“We’re going to have to curl consistently, we’ll have to have some good strategy and be at the top of our game.”
There are 17 teams expected at the provincial championships, including father-daughter duo Jim and Jaelyn Cotter. Jim and his Vernon-based rink were just crowned B.C. men’s curling champions last weekend in Nelson.
“It’s a great opportunity, it’s something you always want to compete in and do well in,” Medford said Tuesday. “Having the opportunity to go and compete against the province’s best is great. If we can beat the other team we go with [Team Amy/Qually], we know at least we’ll come back with something.”
Team Amy/Qually and Team Baker/Medford are no strangers to one another, having practiced together at the Cranbrook Curling Centre in preparation for the provincial tournament. While the four are good friends, there’s undoubtedly a bit of friendly competition for bragging rights as Cranbrook’s top mixed curling duo.
More importantly, on the line is the opportunity to represent B.C. at the 2016 Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship, scheduled for March 31 to April 3 in Saskatoon.
“We need to go in planning to win all our games,” Baker said.
The winner of the Canadian championship will book a ticket to the 2016 World Mixed Doubles Championship in Sweden, which is the first qualifying event for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Teams are expected to arrive in Enderby Thursday evening with the tournament draw taking place that night. Round-robin action begins Friday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. (Mountain) from the Enderby Curling Club.
Mixed doubles is relatively new on the curling scene, with the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship first being contested in 2008. Interestingly enough, the 2017 edition of the event is slated to be hosted just across the Alberta-B.C. border in Lethbridge.
If you are not familiar with mixed doubles curling, there are some key differences between it and the traditional game.
The obvious begins with only two players (one man and one woman) representing each team as opposed to the traditional four-person rink. Scoring is the same, but each team delivers only five rocks per end as opposed to the traditional eight stones thrown.
Additionally, two rocks are positioned prior to the beginning of each end. Both positioned rocks are in play and eligible to be counted. The team with the hammer determines the placement of positioned rocks.
With only two players on the ice surface, you might be left wondering who there is to sweep. Both players are eligible to do just that, with the non-delivering player free to be anywhere on the ice at the time of delivery.
For the complete rules to mixed doubles curling, visit curlbc.ca.
Team Amy/Qually wished to extend its thanks and gratitude to its generous sponsors and community support, including Cranbrook Street Liquor Store, Trikon Precast Concrete Products and Tracey Amy — RBC Mortgage Specialist.
Team Baker/Medford wished to extend its thanks and gratitude to its generous sponsors and community support, including Denham Ford, New Dawn Developments and Trimark.