by Joe Pavia
Curlers looking to follow in Rachel Homan's footsteps are coming to town.
The bantam provincial at Ottawa Navy is as important to these young players as the Scotties was to Homan -- the Tournament of Hearts champion was a four-time bantam winner. Typical is Ottawa's Kimberly Gannon.
"We are excited to have made it." she said.
The 17-year-old is third for the Kelly Hawa rink from Toronto. After Gannon's team aged out of bantams last season, she found out that Gawa's team wanted to play as competitively as she did.
The team won the TCA bantam spiel in December in Toronto
The four girls (except for Gannon, all 16 years of age) only get together at tournaments.
"We keep in contact a lot about things we are working on and it has worked well," Gannon said.
Gannon and many girls may be trying to emulate Homan this weekend after the Ottawa team's win at the Scotties Sunday in Kingston.
"Rachel and her whole team are amazing," Gannon said. "I'm so proud to know them."
Former Glenn Howard third and Sportsnet curling analyst Richard Hart will be in town coaching his two sons in the event. Sons David and Joseph play for Jeff Wanless.
The bantam provincial uses a round-robin format with no playoffs. Sixteen rinks take part -- eight of each gender. The two squads with the most wins are declared the champs.
Representing this area are Pascal Michaud, Jordie Lyon-Hatcher, Marie-Elaine Little (all three from Huntley) and Perth's Hailey Armstrong.
The first draw is at 1 p.m. on Wednesday with morning, afternoon and evening draws daily until the last draw Saturday evening at 8. If tie-breakers are necessary they will take place Sunday morning starting at 9:30. The Navy facility is located at Dow's Lake. Admission is free.
Ontario lead Lisa Weagle, who played the tick shot to perfection, was awarded the Sandra Schmirler most valuable player Award after the championship. Weagle certainly ticked off Manitoba.
In this writer's opinion, every competitive Ontario women's team is thankful that Homan's team goes directly to next year's Scotties in Montreal.
Two Ottawa rinks went almost unnoticed Sunday in Pickering at the Dominion Seniors provincial championship.
The Rideau squad of Howard Rajala, Rich Moffatt, Doug Johnston and Ken Sullivan beat the defending title holder, Brian Lewis from the Ottawa, 9-4. Lewis went undefeated in the round robin. Rajala had to defeat his fellow 4-3 round robin finisher, Ray Balachorek of Oshawa, in the semi-final game. The game was actually televised at the same time as the Scotties final.
Galt's Judy Oryniak took the women's side. The Thurso team of Catherine Derick, Sylvie Daniel, Chantal Gadoua and Cheryl Morgan will represent Quebec at the national seniors in PEI beginning March 16.
The bantam mixed zone winners were; 1A - Matt Allen, B - Camille Daly; 2A - Hayden Richmond, B - Austin Gibeau; 3A - Pascal Michaud, B - Marie-Elaine Little; 4B - Hannah Wallingford. Junior mixed zone winners were: 1A - Gannon, B - Matt Jackson; 2A - Ben Miskew, B - Spencer Richmond; 3A - Ryan McCrady, B - Lauren Horton; 4B - Katie Vance. Senior mixed zone 2A winner was Ian Bridger. John Shea Insurance mixed zone winners were: 1A - Celeste Butler-Rohland; B - Chris Gardner.
The Russell Curling Club staged its first Rick Kargus men's bonspiel last weekend. Matt Paul defeated Alexander Dyer to capture the top prize. Playing with Paul were Don Bowser, Billy Woods and Andrew Hamilton. Other event winners were Jean-Michel Menard, Frank Van Ryckeghem and Rob Kennedy.
The Tim Hortons Brier begins Saturday in Edmonton. The first televised game is at 3:30 p.m., on TSN. Like the Scotties, there will be no weekday morning draws until the Thursday.