Blaine Black’s Penticton rink surpassed their own expectations during the Pacific International Cup.
The goal was to win the B.C. side during the championship at the Richmond Curling Club. Achieving that qualifies teams for the Dominion Curling Club Championship (Canadian tournament). They did that and more by defeating a Washington rink 6-4 to win the PIC.
“It was pretty amazing for us to win B.C., and then to win the international side is a huge bonus,” said Black, who played with Shaun Everest, Kim Dixon and Doug McCrae. “The calibre of curling is very good. A lot of these guys have been to the Brier in the past.”
Black said one of the rules is that a team cannot have more than one person who has been at the provincials or nationals in the last four years.
Shaun Everest, Black’s third, said he really wanted to make sure the team took it to the next level this time.
“We had been so close before,” said Everest, who made his third trip to PIC with Black. “I think we were going in there with an attitude that this should be our time.”
Black’s rink started the championship with a 4-3 win over Quesnel, followed by wins against Cloverdale (7-2), Chilliwack (10-1), Nelson (7-6), Peace Arch (11-2), Powell River (7-2) and Glen Meadows (9-3). The gold medal game had them facing Cloverdale again, this time winning 8-1.
“It was like, holy (expletive),” said Black. “Look what we just accomplished. First time anybody has ever done that. Nobody has gone 9-0 in the 14 years.”
Black said the young Washington rink was really good. To get a better understanding of their talent, Black said of his teams’ eight games on the B.C. side, they only played three full games. Against Washington, it came down to the final rock.
“Our team just wasn’t missing a whole lot,” said Black.
Heading into the championship, Black’s team picked up Dixon to fill in for Tim Haberstock, who wasn’t able to make it. Dixon did a good job of setting them up right off the bat. His play gave the group the confidence to play the aggressive style Black likes.
“We play a very finesse game if we are getting the rocks in play,” he said. “We forced some misses and that’s how we ended up dominating the event.”
Making it more enjoyable was having the crowds behind them. Black said as the event went on, teams that didn’t make playoffs began rooting for them because they were telling Black’s team they were the strongest.
“People down there were just awesome,” he said.
The thought of representing Penticton at the Canadian Championship in Thunder Bay next November began to sink in for Black when they were sized up for jackets and had their photos taken. After collecting several prizes that included beautiful championship rings, Black described it as a dream come true. Winning the PIC is the biggest curling victory for Black, who placed third in the province for the Brier once.
“To go to the nationals is amazing,” he said. “We want to do well at Canadians. We know the work ahead of us.”
Black praised his team for coming together the way they did.