Blaine Black’s curling team is ready to duke it out with 14 other rinks for the fifth Dominion Curling Club Championship.
Black, along with Shaun Everest, Doug McCrae and Kim Dixon head to Thunder Bay, Ont. Sunday for the event that concludes on Nov. 23. The extravaganza offers club curlers the ultimate experience of facing men’s and women’s teams from across the country.
There are two pools of seven and the Penticton rink is sharing a pool with defending champions Alberta and runners-up Manitoba. Black said they know they are in tough and have to play at the top of their game if they expect to make the playoffs. When asked if he considers themselves underdogs, Black said he wasn’t sure.
“I think if we play at the level that we can play at, we can compete with those guys,” said Black, who has competed at the provincial level four times. “I think we showed that when we were at the provincials. It’s going to come down to consistency. If we get good ice and we get a good read on the ice, we will be able to be consistent.”
It’s the first time for the team at the Dominion Curling Club championship. In 2010, they lost in the provincial final. With Alberta and Manitoba in their pool, Black said it’s going to be important for them to be sharp.
“I’m pretty confident,” said Black of their play. “I think we’re playing pretty well.”
Black compared this championship to the Tim Horton’s Brier and it’s something he looks forward to. He admits there are some nerves they will have to shed.
“We have a little bit of an advantage. Monday we have a bye. We don’t play Manitoba until Tuesday morning,” said Black. “So we get to see what is going on, watch the games.”
With the other members of his team bringing experience from high-pressure situations, Black doesn’t think they will be overly nervous.
It’s especially true with Dixon. He brings the experience of competitive golf and has won the Penticton Golf and Country Club title.
“The one big thing I’ve noticed is the team aspect of it is a lot different,” he said. “When I’m on my own on the golf course, it’s just me. I don’t really worry about that too much, it’s my result. With the team aspect, if I don’t play my best, there are four of us it affects. There is a bit more to think about. I play enough sports I don’t get too nervous.”
While he hasn’t put too much thought into the championship, he’s looking forward to being there.
“I enjoy the competitive atmosphere of it,” he said. “Just meeting all the other people from across the country and seeing how our game in B.C. stacks up against the provinces better known for curling, like the Prairies and out east where you see the teams on TV all the time.”
Black is excited to wear the B.C. jacket and representing the province and the Penticton Curling Club.
“It’s a challenge to go and do well,” said Black.
There is one key, he pointed out.
“The four of us get along well,” said Black, who has lots of confidence in his teammates. “Half the game is not just talent, it’s camaraderie and getting along.”
Dominion notes: Since the championship’s inception five years ago in Toronto, more than $300,000 has been raised for Spinal Cord Injury chapters across Canada. Funds raised go towards peer supported programs and assistance for people experiencing the impact of spinal cord injuries. Last year the championship raised $68,000. For more info about the championship, visit thedominioncurls.ca.