Featured Curling Athlete: Pat Simmons

Alberta is filled with former Saskatchewan residents who’ve headed west in search of opportunities, so Pat Simmons fits right in as the first-year vice-skip for Kevin Koe’s curling team.

Pat Simmons calls the sweep at the 2009 Canadian Curling Trials (Photo Michael Burns)

Koe, who won the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier and world men’s championship with third Blake MacDonald, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen, had to find a new player for the run up to the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials in Winnipeg when MacDonald announced in the off-season that he was stepping aside. Koe and Co. didn’t have to look for long; Simmons is one of the most respected players in the game with a powerful resume of his own playing out of Saskatchewan, and he jumped at the opportunity to play with the Alberta powerhouse. The Moose Jaw chiropractor was no stranger to big-time curling before he hooked up with Koe; he skipped four straight Saskatchewan men’s champions, from 2005 through 2008, and also played in the 2011 Brier, throwing last rocks for Steve Laycock. His closest call came in 2008 at Winnipeg, where he finished second in the round-robin with a 9-2 record and had eventual champ Kevin Martin on the ropes in the Page one-two game before a 10th-end pick cost him the game. He would then lose to Glenn Howard in an extra end in the semifinal. Prior to his men’s success, Simmons was a three-time participant in the Canadian Junior Men’s Curling Championship, in 1992 at Vernon, B.C., in 1994 at Truro, N.S., and 1995 at Regina — making the semifinal in his last appearance while playing third for Neil Cursons. Simmons also qualified for the 2009 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials in Edmonton, finishing seventh with a 2-5 record. Birthplace: Moose Jaw, Sask. Hometown: Moose Jaw (along with Calgary, my truck, the airport …) Curling Club: Saville Sports Centre Current Team: Team Kevin Koe Position: Third Delivery: Right Nickname: P-spot, Cub Quick Hits with Pat Simmons Do you have any superstitions? “My left curling shoe always goes on first.” If you could be a star any other sport, what would it be, and why? “Golf — I might actually have a chance to win a free lunch against Carter (Rycroft) and Kevin (Koe) one of these years.” If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why? “How about the lead throws the first and fifth rocks, second throws the second and sixth, third throws No. 3 and 7 and the skip throws the fourth and eighth rocks of the end to mix it up.” What music, if any, do you like to listen to before a game? “Never been a music guy before games.” Favourite: — Order from Tim Hortons? “Large French vanilla.” — Vacation destination? “Maui.” — Junk food? “Potato chips.” Do you have any pet peeves? “Drivers who display road rage for no reason; answering the same question over and over again.” Person who had the most influence on your curling career. And why? “That’s a tough one; probably my parents, as they managed our home curling rink in the winters for many years as I was growing up.” First thing on your Bucket List? “Travel, including a cruise and maybe going to Wimbledon.” Favourite pastime between draws at cashspiels? “Napping, eating, golfing (on the long breaks).” Mixed doubles in the Olympics — thumbs up?  Thumbs down? And why? “More publicity for the sport potentially; but is it a little too Mickey Mouse with possible negative connotations for the real sport of curling? I’ll sit on my thumb for this one and let the experts decide if it is a good idea or not.” One thing most people don’t know about you? “I believe the Whistle Dog is the best hotdog on the face of the planet.” Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal: “A shot of Amarula — after Kevin makes his out-turn draw.”