The Defending Champion Reid Carruthers rink from West St. Paul has been selected as the #1 seeded entry for the inaugural Viterra Manitoba Men’s Curling Championship which begins next Wednesday at the Selkirk Recreation Complex.
Carruthers went into the 2015 Provincials as the 3rd seed, so there will be no pre-conceived notions about #1 guaranteeing anything when he and rink mates Braeden Moskowy (Third), Derek Samagalski (Second), and Colin Hodgson (Lead) hit the ice on Wednesday at 4 p.m. to play Shaun Parsons of Burntwood.
“I was kinda thinking after watching Dunstone on the weekend that they might re-do the seeds and put him number one,” joked Carruthers, in referring to The Granite’s Matt Dunstone winning the Canadian Junior Championship with a near flawless performance last Sunday in Stratford, Ontario. “I think it’s just not putting too much pressure on ourselves. I could worry about all the other teams I gotta play but we’ve been working hard at practice and focusing on what we need to do and if we do that I like our chances.”
Carruthers “upset” Mike McEwen 5-3 in last year’s championship game, making it 5 Finals in the last 6 years the McEwen rink has been one win away from a Provincial title. So while obsession might be just a tad strong to describe the rink’s mindset going into this year’s tournament, longtime third BJ Neufeld says the #2 ranked team is well aware of that elusive brass ring. “We have to come up with our best when it matters most,” says Neufeld. “I feel like our preparation coming into this has been really, really good. A little different. And I think that gives us a little comfort going into this event that we have done the rights things to come out on top at the end.”
The McEwen rink gets the early wake up call at 8:30 a.m. next Wednesday Morning to play St. Adolphe’s Murray Woodward on the opening draw.
The other top 5 seeded rinks include perennial contender William Lyburn of The Granite, and East St. Paul clubmates Daley Peters and Alex Forrest. And of course, the aforementioned Dunstone team who could create a bit of a dilemma if he was to add a Viterra Trophy to his National Junior title. The Dunstone foursome are already committed to representing Canada at the World Junior Men’s Championship in Taarnby, Denmark. And the dates for that event, March 5-13 coincide exactly with the Brier in Ottawa.
Curling Manitoba Executive Director Craig Baker says that will be a “cross the bridge when we get to it” type of scenario, with a number of possibilities to be considered if the Dunstone rink advances to the playoff round. But at this point, there is no Plan A or Plan B set in stone, or even granite.