The biggest event ever hosted by the Duncan Curling Club wrapped up on Sunday, with nothing but positive reviews for the 2017 Scotties BC Women’s Curling Championship.
“We were quite pleased with how it all ended up,” said Brent Dellebuur, co-chair of the organizing committee.
If anything, the tournament was even more successful than organizers expected.
“We had more spectators in the building than we had anticipated,” Dellebuur said. “We were kind of making a few changes on the fly, but we ended up able to accommodate everyone. From a club standpoint, we were very pleased.”
From spectators to Curl BC executives to competitors, everyone seemed to be happy with the way the tournament went.
“A number of competitors came up to us and said this was the best Scotties they had been to from a hospitality and welcoming standpoint,” Dellebuur noted. “We wanted to wow them, and we definitely did.”
Among the competitors was Sarah Wark, who curled out of the Duncan Curling Club for six years before relocating to Chilliwack last April. A veteran of eight women’s provincials, Wark was impressed with the way her former club hosted the Scotties.
“It was probably some of the best hosting I’ve seen in a lot of years,” she said. “They put on a great event.”
The BC Scotties was won by the Maria Mallett rink out of Golden Ears Winter Club, who beat Diane Gushulak’s Royal City/Vancouver rink 6-3 in the final on Sunday afternoon.
Mallett qualified in first place after the seven-draw round robin, then beat Lindsay Hudyma of Vancouver/Victoria 6-1 in one page playoff, while Gushulak edged Wark’s Chilliwack rink 8-7 in a last-rock nail-biter in the other page playoff. Gushulak got past Hudyma 6-4 in the semifinal to set up the final against Mallett.
Mallett also won the event in 2009, and went on to place second at the national Scotties in 2009 when it was held in Victoria. Gushulak played third on Mallett’s team at the time.
Wark’s rink with third Kristin Pilote, second Stephanie Prinse and lead Michelle Dunn made the playoffs by finishing fourth in the round robin with four wins and three losses. Wark had been hoping to reach the podium this year, but was happy with the way things went regardless.
“During the B.C. Scotties week, anything can happen,” she said. “The performance the girls put together was great. There were a lot of things we learned along the way and fixed quickly.”
“It was a big event for us,” she added. “We’re still a new team; our front end has a little less experience than the back. It was the perfect place to learn. Coach [Jock Tyre] helped us. We had to tweak things as we went along. For us to make it where we did, I was super proud. It was a good learning week for a new team.”
Wark emphasized her appreciation for the effort that her former club put in to present the B.C. Scotties at the Glen Harper Curling Centre.
“A huge thank-you to the Duncan Curling Club and the host committee,” she said. “I was really, really, really impressed by everything throughout the week. I’ve been to a lot of provincials, and this was one of the best. It was put together so well.”
With all the positive feedback, it’s no surprise that club members haven’t wasted any time pondering their next move.
“There are already heavy discussions about what we’re going to tackle next,” Dellebuur admitted. “We were quite encouraged by the feedback from Curl BC. All the discussions have been started over a few beers, so we’re not far along yet, but we’re definitely on the radar now.”
The club has hosted the mixed provincials three times, most recently in 2014, and wanted to take it to the next level. They had never before hosted an event that was telecast, complete with drapery around the rink and a feature sheet.
“We were anxious to see what we could do,” Dellebuur said.
He added that the way the Cowichan Valley rallied around the Scotties helped make the event a success.
“We were very pleased with the volunteer support and the support of the community at large,” he said. “That makes the job a whole bunch easier.”
“[The Scotties] gave us a bit of extra profile in the community, and that’s what we were looking for.”