When the 2022 Canadian Masters Championships wrapped up Sunday, November 20 at Pembina Curling Club, five provinces had shared the medals.
The Manitoba champions finished in the medals in both events with Jody Colwell’s women earning the silver medal and Murray Warren’s men earning the bronze.
Teams from British Columbia (Women-gold), Northern Ontario (Men-gold), Saskatchewan (Men-silver), and Ontario (Women-bronze) earned the other medals.
In the Women’s Gold Medal game, East St. Paul’s Colwell team (Wendy Nykoluk, Donna Smiley, Leslie Brown, Debbie Palson) fell behind early, giving up a three ender to BC’s Penny Shantz on the opening end. They fought back to trail 5-4 after six but BC won a measure to score one on end seven to lead 6-4 coming home and win 8-4.
The Colwell foursome started slow in the competition, losing two of their first three games. However a six game winning streak, with two wins in the preliminary round and four wins in the championship round, gave them a 7W-2L record and third place in the standings in the playoff round. An 8-2 win over Nova Scotia in the semi-final advanced them to the gold medal game against BC’s Shantz team.
The Men’s Gold Medal game was won 7-6 by Northern Ontario’s Al Hackner over Saskatchewan’s Gord Bell team. Hackner led by four early in the game and by three coming home but there was no give-up in the Saskatchewan champions who forced Hackner to throw his final stone in the last end facing three. He hit and rolled out to give up a steal of two but had the 7-6 win.
In the Men’s Bronze Medal game, the Warren team, representing Brandon and Melita Curling Clubs, gave up two on the first end but controlled play from there. A possible four on the second end was only two on a measure. A steal of one on the third end and three points on the fifth gave the Manitobans a 6-4 lead. Another steal put them ahead 7-4 coming home and that was the final score.
The Warren team lost their opener to Ontario but had a 5W-1L record in the preliminary round and a 3W-1L record in the championship round – their loss coming on an extra end to Mark Franklin’s Manitoba Host team. One of the wins was an 11-10 thriller over Northern Ontario, the gold medallists only loss of the event. The 8W-2L record gave the Warren team second place in the standings going into the playoffs.
The Manitoba men narrowly missed being in the Gold Medal game. Their semi-final went to an extra end and was won by Saskatchewan on a last rock draw which had to nearly bite the button.
To even the draw, Manitoba had a Host (wildcard) team in both events. Mark Franklin’s Granite team compiled a 3W-3L preliminary round record and a 3W-1L championship round record. Their final round loss to BC put BC in the semi-finals and left the Franklin team out of the playoffs.
In the Women’s event, Sandra Cowling’s Hamiota team was the Manitoba Host team. Having played only a few games before the event, they struggled to a 2W-7L overall record.
Qualifying for the 2023 Canadian Masters Championships In Saint John,New Brunswick has already begun. The Warren team has a champions’ berth in the provincial Manitoba’s Credit Unions Masters in Thompson in March. Randy Neufeld, former World Senior Silver medallist, has also already qualified, as a rookie in the Masters realm. Colwell’s Women’s champions do not have to qualify as the Manitoba Women’s Masters is an open-entry event.
CONGRATULATIONS to the Pembina Curling Club and its host committee volunteers co-chaired by Rick Sproule, Eleanor Cassels, and Hilton Wood on staging a very successful championship – a credit to Manitoba curling and a showcase event for Pembina as it celebrates its 75th anniversary.