The Duncan/Parksville rink of skip Jackson Marshall, third Mack Ellis, second Troy Cowan, lead Duncan Gallop and skip Kelly Meikle displays its credentials after qualifying for the 2019 BC Junior Curling Championships. (Submitted)

Duncan curler rounds out provincial contender

Troy Cowan joins teammates from Nanaimo and Qualicum Beach on U21 qualifier

Putting together a competitive curling team from Vancouver Island can take some work.

Duncan’s Troy Cowan is one such team, which will take members from three different communities to the U21 provincial championships in Vernon starting Thursday.

In addition to Cowan at second, the team also includes Nanaimo’s Mack Ellis — who plays with Cowan in the Duncan Curling Club’s Monday night league on a team skipped by Nolan Reid — at third, and two members from Qualicum Beach: skip Jackson Marshall and lead Duncan Gallop.

The team is coached by Ladysmith’s Kelly Meikle, who also curls at the Duncan club and was responsible for recruiting Cowan at the start of the 2017-18 season.

“She saw me playing in the league on Monday and asked me to join,” Cowan recalled.

Cowan played fifth for the Marshall rink last year, then moved to second this year. The 17-year-old Cowichan Secondary student has been curling for five years, and concedes that the U21 provincials are probably the biggest event he has competed at, although he went to the mixed double provincials in Cranbrook last year with partner Kayla Wilson of Victoria, and the Canada Winter Games qualifiers on a team that also included Ellis.

The Marshall rink qualified for provincials by winning the A event at the open qualifier in Ashcroft earlier this month. They received a bye through the first round because they were ranked third at the end of the BC Junior Men’s Curling Tour, which meant they only needed to play two games, while some teams had to play as many as eight or nine.

“When you’re fresh, it makes it easier,” Cowan said.

Geography and scheduling provide challenges for the team, but they’ve made it work regardless.

“We try to have practice on weekends, but it’s hard,” Cowan said. “Me and Mack are in Grade 12 and one of the guys from Qualicum is at VIU, so we’re all busy.

“We definitely get along well. With a team of four, team communication and team bonding is really important. You can’t relate it to a hockey team with 30 kids or whatever. We do our best to make shots, but if somebody is off, the other three try to make up for it.”

Businesses across the Island have stepped up to help the team get to provincials, including Duncan Iron Works, Genoa Laser Therapy, Purica, Highway Rentals, Geotech, Panda Industrial, Runback, Hardline, Relic, Arrowsmith Moving, Swabbies, Marshall & Massey and Uncle Bruce.

Cowan and his team are all looking forward to the provincial tournament.

“We’re all pretty excited about it,” he said. “It should be a fun experience.”

The eight teams will play a round robin to begin the provincials, with the top four advancing to the semifinals. That’s where Cowan is hoping to take his team.

“I’d be really happy to make the playoffs,” he said.

After provincials, the Marshall rink will continue to play in the Wednesday cash league in Parksville, and Cowan and Ellis will keep playing on their Monday team in Duncan. Additionally, Cowan and Kayla Wilson are taking another shot at the B.C. mixed doubles, while Ellis is teamed up with Kayla’s sister, Sasha.

The U18 provincials are also coming up in March, with Island playdowns at Kerry Park on Feb. 8-10.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Duncan Lanes bowlers take on the best in B.C.

The best results for the Cowichan Valley bowlers came in the intermediate girls division

Sonia Furstenau column: Now the time to make changes for the better

This coronavirus has given us opportunity to identify what matters most in our day-to-day lives.

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Drivesmart column: Staying on your side of the road

No exemptions that grant permission to disobey the keeping to the right rule based on convenience.

Mary Lowther column: Starting seeds to beat the slugs, wood bugs

My favourite sorts of seedling starters are the plastic cells that fit inside trays

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read