Canadian Senior Champions!

2023 Everest Canadian Senior Curling Champions Nova Scotia (left) and Ontario (right). (Photo, Curling Canada/Wayne Emde)

Nova Scotia’s Team Flemming and Ontario’s Team Froud are gold medallists at 2023 Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championships

After a thrilling week at the 2023 Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championships, hosted at the Vernon Curling Club in B.C., Nova Scotia’s Team Paul Flemming (10-2; Halifax/Truro) and Ontario’s Team Susan Froud (9-3; Alliston) have risen to the top and are now senior men’s and women’s Canadian champions, respectively. 

Both teams will now represent Canada at the 2024 World Senior Curling Championships from April 20-27 in Östersund, Sweden. 

On the women’s side, Ontario defeated Saskatchewan’s Team Nancy Martin (10-2; Martensville) by a 10-4 score while in men’s play, Nova Scotia downed Saskatchewan’s Team Bruce Korte (9-3; Saskatoon) 4-3 in the final. 

Team Nova Scotia, rounded out by vice-skip Peter Burgess, second Marty Gavin and lead Kris Granchelli, opened the final with an all-important deuce with hammer and preserved that 2-0 lead until the fourth-end break thanks to three straight Saskatchewan blanks. Team Saskatchewan would apply pressure in the fifth end and had an opportunity to score multiple, but its offering missed, resulting in steal of a single and a 3-0 lead for the Bluenosers. 

Everest representative and six-time Brier champion Randy Ferbey presents Team Nova Scotia with its 2023 Everest Canadian Senior Men’s Curling Championship gold medals. (Photo, Curling Canada/Wayne Emde)

“I think the curling gods may have been on our side there in the fifth end,” Flemming said. “Bruce had a legit shot at three, maybe even four, so we caught a break there. Having said that, I thought we played pretty good and got ourselves out of a few jams.” 

The steal proved to be critical. Team Saskatchewan would rally back to tie the game at three headed into the eighth end, but Flemming would have a quiet-weight open hit to win on his final stone and secure the senior men’s national title. 

“I never even looked over at that table once out there,” Flemming said about the Canadian senior gold medals on display ice-side during the final. “The last thing you want to do is look too far ahead and think of results. It’s just one end at a time and try to manage control of the curling game.” 

It was a championship run that was almost not meant to be for Team Nova Scotia. Flemming began his time in Vernon at the hospital with a chest infection before being discharged and cleared to resume curling activities.  

To add, Team Nova Scotia was on the elimination bubble entering the final draw of Championship Pool play, but secured its playoff berth with an 8-4 win over Team Saskatchewan Friday evening. 

“It’s such a fragile game sometimes. It’s such a fine line,” Flemming said. “Look at last night for example. If we don’t squeak through there against Saskatchewan, we’re not even playing. So you don’t take anything for granted.” 

Flemming is no stranger to success in curling. He’s an 11-time Brier participant (1998, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022) and two-time Canadian mixed champion (1999, 2003), all representing Nova Scotia.  

It’s the first time Flemming will have the chance to represent Canada on an international stage, with his other closest opportunity coming at the 2005 Brier as vice-skip for Nova Scotia skip Shawn Adams, dropping the final to eventual champion Randy Ferbey of Alberta. 

“Over lots of years and lots of decades, things tend to even out,” said Flemming. “We’ve been on the losing side of these things over the years as well. It feels good to be on this side of it.” 

On the women’s side, Ontario’s Team Susan Froud, completed by vice-skip Kerry Lackie, second Kristin Turcotte, lead Julie McMullin and coach Al Corbeil of the Alliston Curling Club, carried a 9-3 record through the gold medal performance. 

“Amazing. Absolutely amazing,” Froud said. “We knew we could do it, we just had to play our game but didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves. I’m so proud of the girls. They played awesome all week we’re such a great team.” 

The win marks a first national title for Froud, who has been actively chasing national curling dreams since her youth. 

“I can hardly believe it,” Froud said. “I’m just so proud of the team and all our fans have been great all week. Our little team coming out of the little club of Alliston, really, so proud.” 

The final victory for Team Ontario is a story of late blooming, as it trailed Team Saskatchewan 4-2 at the fourth-end break. It wasn’t until the latter half of the game that Team Ontario found its stride, scoring two with the hammer in fifth, before walloping Team Saskatchewan with back-to-back steals of three in the sixth and seventh ends, putting the game on ice. 

With the 2023 victory, Ontario now pulls alongside Saskatchewan atop the overall standings with 11 titles each, followed by B.C. with eight. The Canadian Senior Women’s Championship began in 1973 at Ottawa. 

Back on the men’s side, the gold medal marks Nova Scotia’s second men’s senior title, with the other coming in 2014 when skip Alan O’Leary took home the top prize at Yellowknife. 

The Canadian Senior Men’s Championship began in 1965 at Port Arthur, Ont. Since then, Ontario has won a leading 13 titles, followed by Manitoba with 12 and Alberta with 10. 

Manitoba’s Dave Boehmer (9-3; Petersfield) defeated New Brunswick’s Mike Kennedy (7-5; Moncton) by an 8-5 score in the men’s bronze medal match while British Columbia’s Diane Gushulak (8-4; New Westminster) took the women’s bronze with a 7-3 win over Alberta’s Atina Ford-Johnson (7-5; Calgary). 

Final scores and complete results for the 2023 Everest Canadian Seniors are available by CLICKING HERE. For event information, including team lineups and draw times, CLICK HERE.