The final category for the ADL/Sport PEI curling awards is “Team of the Year”. This year’s finalists are the Rod MacDonald-skipped Senior Men’s team out of the Charlottetown Curling Complex and the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club, and this year’s Canadian Stick Curling champions, the Roddie MacLean and Paul Field duo from the Cornwall Curling Club. The winning “Team of the Year” will be announced at the awards, being held Wednesday May 29 at the Silver Fox in Summerside in conjunction with Curl PEI’s Annual General Meeting, which will take place first (with a meal) at 5:30 pm, with the award presentations following at about 7:15 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend – there is no cost. Attendees are required to RSVP to Curl PEI Executive Director Amy Duncan today (Friday, May 24) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 902-368-4208.
The team of Rod MacDonald (skip), John Likely (third), Mark O’Rourke (second), and Peter MacDonald (lead) were provincial champions this season in the Credit Unions of PEI Provincial Senior Men’s Curling Championship, and advanced to the Canadian Seniors in Summerside, the hometown of the MacDonald brothers, finishing round robin play tied for third with an 8-3 win-loss record, before losing out in a tiebreaker, realizing skip Rod’s goal of curling in a Canadian championship in his hometown. The other three members of the team all made the all-star teams, determined by their shooting percentages, with Peter MacDonald and O’Rourke making the 1st team all-stars and Likely making the second team.
The experienced team of PEI Tankard veterans was unbeatable at the provincial seniors, going through round robin play with a perfect 5-0 win-loss record to earn a bye to the final, against 2011 PEI Seniors champ Bill Hope, which they won by a 7-4 final score.
Rod MacDonald and his brother-in-law Mark O’Rourke also teamed up with other players to enter the PEI Tankard (with Peter as coach), where they finished as runners-up, and the Provincial Mixed, which they won.
When you take up a new sport, you don’t normally expect to win its Canadian Championship in your first season, but that’s exactly what happened to new 2-person stick curlers Roddie MacLean and Paul Field from the Cornwall Curling Club. Both were experienced players of the traditional four-person hack-delivery format, although Field had stepped away from competitive curling for a number of years due to the hours he had to put in at his busy flower shop. When he sold the business, he was looking for something new to do, and discovered tthe relatively new sport of stick curling, teaming up with MacLean, who was also just taking up the sport. They picked the right year to do it, with the Maritime championship taking place only 50 minutes away in Montague, and the national championships being at their home club, the first time it had been held east of Winnipeg.
The duo came incredibly close to winning the provincials, losing the final 4-3 in TWO extra ends to the Walter Callaghan/John Vincent pair from the host Western Community Curling Club, who had won the event three times before and were runners-up last year. Their runner-up finish gave them a berth in the Maritime championships, where they made it as far as the quarter-final round, gaining valuable experience and proving that they could be competitive at the regional level. Their provincial second place finished also gave them a guaranteed spot in the nationals, where they went undefeated in the triple knockout round, pulling off a six-ender in one of their games. Since there are only six rocks per team each end in stick curling, this is the equivalent of a rare eight-ender in traditional curling, and they were awarded with prizes and a patch for this at the closing ceremonies.
The duo managed two wins by one-point margins in the championship round, bringing them to the final against the defending champion Earl Stephenson/Warren Johnson twosome from the St. Vital Curling Club in Winnipeg. The score was 4-2 for the Island pair coming home without last rock advantage, and they stole a deuce for a 6-2 final score to win the Canadian Championship in front of an excited hometown crowd who also got to witness Cornwall teams win the women’s division and the consolation round, and a Montague rink take the bronze medal game.