The Buchy/Toffolo names have been a staple in Kimberley curling for many years. Whether it’s Tom and Dave playing in mens, or both men teaming up with wives Lori and Robyn for mixed, they are perennial favourites to make it deep into the British Columbia curling play downs.
Last year the Buchy mixed rink won the BC championship and will now play for the Canadian title in Swan River, Manitoba next week.
The team leaves on Saturday and play begins on Sunday.
The team is trying to keep expectations reasonable, as the field is a strong one, but a playoff spot is the goal.
“Everybody is big competition,” Buchy said. “There are a lot of good teams, a lot of good young teams, which is good to see.”
“It’s a short round robin, so there’s no time for a slow start,” Toffolo said. “I think you have to get to four wins out of six games to have a chance. The playoffs are definitely our goal.”
This is the fourth Canadian mixed championships for the team, which has been together for 14 years, and the fifth for Toffolo, who also went to the Mixed Championship in 1994. The Buchy/Toffolo team competed in Whitehorse in 2006, in Morris, Manitoba in 2011, and in Montreal in 2013.
They bring a great deal of experience to the ice and that’s important, Toffolo says.
“The good thing about curling is, that unlike say, football, you don’t get beat up. You can play for a long time. A lot of it is in your mind, you need to be mentally tough and experience can be the key.”
Curling with your spouse brings an interesting dynamic to the game, he says.
“It is a weird dynamic. As soon as you’re off the ice you are husband and wife. Things that happen on the ice can’t affect your life off the ice. But on the positive side, you can also lean on that person if you’re having a bad game. It’s very rewarding actually.”
Unlike the Brier and the Scotties mens and women’s championships which are contested almost immediately after provincial champs are decided, mixed curling has an almost six month gap between provincials and nationals. The Buchy rink won the provincials last March.
In some ways, it would be nice to just continue on to nationals when you are on a winning streak from provincials, Buchy says, but the break does offer some advantages as well.
“It’s nice to have time to organize flights, to get sponsors,” he said.
“We have been able to get on the ice for the past six weeks. It’s still early in the season but we’re hoping to play well and get into the playoffs.”
The winning team in Swan River will then represent Canada at the 2018 World Mixed Curling Championship, at a site and date to be announced by the World Curling Federation.
For the first time, CBC Sports will provide live-streaming coverage of the Canadian Mixed Championship. Beginning Monday, Nov. 13 each draw will be available via live-streaming coverage at cbcsports.ca and on the CBC Sports app, so there may be an opportunity to catch the Buchy team in action.
Other participants include Northwest Territories skip Jamie Koe, a veteran Brier competitor who won a silver medal at the 2015 Mixed in North Bay, Ont., along with his third (and sister) Kerry Galusha, herself a multiple Scotties Tournament of Hearts competitor; New Brunswick’s Charlie Sullivan, the 1990 Brier silver medallist and 1988 world junior champion who has played in several Mixed; Nova Scotia’s Brent MacDougall, silver medallist at the 2013 Mixed in Mount Royal, Quebec; Saskatchewan’s Bruce Korte, another Brier veteran who also was the runner-up at the 2016 Canadian Mixed in Toronto, and Yukon’s Sarah Koltun, who will play third for Robert Smallwood and holds the record for most appearances (eight) at the Canadian Junior Women’s Championship.
The Bucy team would like to thank their sponsors who make it possible for them to attend these events. They are ABC Country Restaurant, Steven Rota Managegmentt Inc, B&B Glass Winshield & Tires, Assante Wealth Managegment, Kootenay Insurance Services, Coors Light, Cap It, Caliper, Remax Caldwell Agencies, Tourism Kimberley, Melody Motors, Tyee Homes, Kimberley Elks Club and The Kimberley Curling Club.