Tom Buchy and his team are heading out to Quebec on Friday to represent B.C. for the Canadian Mixed Curling Championships after earning the honour by winning the provincial play down last spring.
Buchy and his wife, Lori, are joined by teammates Dave Toffolo and his wife, Robyn, who booked their third trip to the national tournament in their nine years of curling together. For Dave Toffolo, it’s his fourth time competing in the event, but it was with a different team 18 years ago.
“You still get a little nervous and excited, but I think we’re going to have to be able to go play our best,” said Buchy. “Our goal is to make the playoffs and see what happens after that, but it’s a good field this year and it’s certainly different, going for a third time instead of your first time, as far as nerves-wise.”
The four have been hitting the sheets at the Kimberley Curling Club as much as possible over the last few weeks to get themselves back into game-shape, according to Dave Toffolo.
“It’s more getting your body where it was in the spring, the strength in your legs to push out of the hack, the strength for sweeping and there is some endurance involved in sweeping,” Toffolo said.
“That’s kind of what you’re working on at this time of year to try and get there really quick. It’s tough but we’re working as hard as we can.”
Anytime can be practice time for the team, as Toffolo makes the ice at the Kimberley Curling Club and has keys to the building.
The field is pretty tough.
Team Alberta, who came in second last year after losing the final in a close game against Saskatchewan, is back with the same team, but with an Olympic pickup in Cheryl Bernard, who replaced a pregnant team member.
Bernard represented Canada in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, skipping her team to the gold medal final where they lost a heartbreaker to Sweden.
“She’s going to be throwing third rocks for them and that’s a pretty good pickup for any team,” said Toffolo.
Robert Campbell and his team out of P.E.I.—the 2011 championship team—is back for another shot at glory and will be a tough opponent as well.
However, each team at the tournament is the top team in their province, meaning everyone will be tough.
“They’re all so solid, but I would say P.E.I and Alberta are the top two favourites,” added Buchy. “But you can’t take anyone lightly because every team is really solid.”
The team flies out on Friday to Mont-Royal, Q.C., and competition begins on Saturday for the following week.
The team would like to thank following sponsors for all their support: Stephen Rota Management Inc., Coal Valley Motor Products, Assante Wealth Management, Avenue, B & B glass, ABC Country Restaurant, Coors Light, Marysville Petrocan, David Bellm & Company Insurance, Sun Life Financial – Frank Vanden Broek, Prestige Hotels and Resorts, Tourism Kimberley and Kimberley Curling Club. The team also thanks everyone who supported the 50/50 draw, with the $500 prize going to Jan Boyachek. The four are also grateful for donations from Bill and Jill Olmsted, Larry Limacher, Allan and Joy Stephenson, Doug and Hanna Simpson, Mike and Pat Harrison, Gord and Ethel Jenkins, Randy and Debra Krantz, Gene and Cheryl McIvor, Ted Phillips and Don Bedard.