For Lake Cowichan’s Diane Myrden, the highlight of the Pacific International Cup was the opening ceremony.
After the teams were piped onto the ice in Richmond, one curler from B.C. and one from an international team were selected to take a toast with Scotch whisky — a Pacific International Cup tradition. For reasons Myrden didn’t know, she was picked to take the toast on behalf of B.C.
“It was pretty cool,” the Cowichan Rocks curler recalled. “I was glad I didn’t throw up. I was excited I was chosen.”
Myrden’s rink, which includes Kari McKinlay, Lynn Post and Dana Neuffer, had fun at the competition, even if they didn’t do as well as they would have liked.
“It’s an amazing event,” Myrden said. “They put on quite a show and made us feel really special.”
The Pacific International Cup has ladies’ and men’s competitions, each one consisting of eight teams from around B.C. in one pool and international teams — including representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and the Yukon — in the other pool. The teams play a round robin within their pools, then the pool winners play off for the cup, while the B.C. winners also advance to the national club championships.
To qualify, Myrden’s rink first won the Lake Cowichan league, then won the South Island playoff held in Lake Cowichan. This was Myrden’s fourth time at the provincial competition, having won it in 2013-14, when she moved on to the national event in Halifax.
Myrden and McKinlay have curled together for about a dozen years, Post had curled before but is in her first year on Myrden’s rink, and Neuffer is a brand new curler for whom the Pacific International Cup was just her third competition.
“She’s going to think [going to the provincial competition] is the way it should be,” Myrden laughed.
Off the ice, curlers enjoyed a banquet and a casino night, and every team brought an item from their region for a charity auction benefitting spinal research. Myrden’s foursome took a purse they purchased at Dot’s Shoe Store.
“It was a popular item,” Myrden said. “Whoever got it paid more for it than we paid for it.”
The Lake Cowichan crew also decided to pay tribute to Canada’s 150th birthday by wearing jackets with “Canada” emblazoned across the front — not intending to pass themselves off as the national team.
“So out of the locker room we walk at the Richmond Curling Club and one of our friends said, ‘A little presumptuous of you, hey?’” Myrden recalled. “Right — look at us wearing ‘Team Canada’ jackets.”
They ran with it.
“So, that’s how we introduced ourselves to all the teams we played — and they were all from B.C. — ‘Hi, we’re from Canada and where are you from?’ We did it all weekend until the rest of the teams said, ‘Hey! We’re from Canada too!’”
A Richmond rink won the women’s side, then beat the international winner for the cup. On the men’s side, a team from Nanaimo won the B.C. bracket, but lost the cup final to their opponents from the international bracket. Both B.C. champions will play for the national championship in Kingston in November.