For Mike McEwen, this weekend couldn’t have come soon enough. In a 2016-17 season that has been largely forgettable to date, McEwen’s Winnipeg foursome finally came away with a result to remember.
After a fall that saw them fail to qualify in three straight events, McEwen and Co. built on qualifying efforts at the last two Grand Slam of Curling events, and finally put it all together to win the DEKALB Superspiel on Monday in Morris, Man.
Before this weekend, the struggling squad hadn’t made it past a quarter-final appearance in any of the events it played this season. Considering just two years ago it felt like the team couldn’t lose a game, the current season has been a grind.
But with the good Slam performances, and the win in Morris, McEwen and Co. (B.J. Neufeld, Matt Wozniak and Deni Neufeld) seem to be gaining steam as they head towards the meaty part of the season, including the 2016 Home Hardware Canada Cup, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, beginning Nov 30 in Brandon, Man. The DEKALB victory earned them $11,000 and 46.260 points on the Canadian Team Ranking System, and World Curling Tour Order of Merit.
Fellow Winnipegger Willie Lyburn skipped the only team to beat McEwen on the weekend, besting him in an A-Side matchup. McEwen fought through the “B” qualifier and got his revenge on Lyburn in the final with a convincing 9-4 win. Lyburn got $6,600 for his effort, along with 36.347 CTRS points.
On the women’s side, another team seems to be gaining momentum. After starting the season without their skipper, Team Jennifer Jones is rolling, now that Jones has returned to action.
Jones’s squad (Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, and Dawn McEwen) won the women’s event in Morris, taking down Michelle Englot in the all-Winnipeg final. Jones earned $11,000 for the win, and 51.188 CTRS points (Higher points indicate the women’s event had a stronger “Strength of Field” rating).
It was the first win of the season for Jones, but prior to this, the reigning Olympic gold-medallists had already qualified in every event in which they played. The points now leave them in second place behind CTRS leader Allison Flaxey (Caledon, Ont.) who was a quarter-finalist in Morris.
While that was happening in Manitoba, another big event was happening in Alberta. The Red Deer Curling Classic hosted 32 men’s and 22 ladies teams, fighting over nearly $70,000 in total prize money.
Calgary’s Kevin Koe (with Marc Kennedy, Brent Laing and Ben Hebert) won the men’s side, beating Edmonton’s Ted Appelman in an extra-end final. Koe took home $10,000 and 45.335 CTRS points, while Appelman got $7,000 and 35.620 points.
On the women’s side, Calgary’s Nadine Chyz (with Heather Jensen, Rebecca Konschuh and Heather Rogers) beat Scotland’s Hannah Fleming, 8-4, to take home the $8,500 top prize, and 42.351 points.
In Halifax, a hometown team skipped by Jamie Murphy (with Jordan Pinder, Scott Saccary, and Philip Crowell) won the Dave Jones Mayflower Cashspiel which earned him $6,000 and 25.204 points. Fellow Haligonian Jill Brothers (with Erin Carmody, Blisse Joyce, and Jennifer Brine) won the women’s side, taking home $3,400 and 23.150 points.