Powell River Curling Club’s elite four left for St. Albert, Alberta on Monday, February 27, to compete in the 2012 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.
The foursome of skip Richard Lang, third Dale Eckert, second Lance Barker and lead Peter Cossarin will be joined by their fifth member from Kelowna, Joanne Seefried. Curling entries must have five members and with just four qualifying members at the Powell River club, Seefried was recruited at the provincials last fall.
The team won its zone a year ago and in the fall swept the provincial competition to earn the right to represent BC at the national championships.
On arrival in St. Albert, the team will go into a seeding round to determine its ability and from there will curl in a conventional
round robin with playoffs.
The seeding round games have been scheduled and BC knows it will face Nova Scotia first followed by Northern Ontario and Prince Edward Island.
No small potatoes for the team from the Sunshine Coast but everyone is very excited and left Powell River wearing big smiles and their uniforms for the first time.
They are outfitted with curling jackets which are the same ones worn by the men at the Tim Hortons Brier and women at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
The Special Olympic motto is “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Powell River’s curlers live that motto but they also are a pretty darn good bunch of curlers.
“I don’t think they realize how good they are,” said coach Cameron Reid. “When they make a good shot they are certainly excited about it, but even if they don’t go far having fun is the bottom line for them.”
Certainly the four curlers have a strong bond through this sport but they also participate in other activities such as bowling and bocci which all compliment each other.
“I know their abilities,” said Reid, “and I know if they focus and concentrate then they will do well.”
Lang said the key to success for his rink has been to, “play more of a draw game because it’s easier than takeout. We like board weight or t-line weight so we don’t lose control.”
Eckert was by his side, as he is throughout the game, and he was asked if there was ever disagreement on strategy. “Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn’t,” he said but, “we talk about it.”
Their enthusiasm for the sport is evident and when Lang was asked if he was ready to throw to the button to win a game he said enthusiastically, “Oh yeah, I love the pressure.”
“He’s our last hope because he’s our skip,” added Eckert.
Manager Susan Storry said the excitement for the group has been building.
“We’ve never met any of the teams from any of the provinces so we don’t know what we’re up against,” she said. “We’re just going to go there, have a good time and do our best.”