Friday, March 11, 2005

March madness, Canadian style.

OK, so the U.S. has NCAA basketball, but up here, we have ... the Brier. Curling. Big, burly Canadians with large rocks who aren't afraid to use them so don't be walking around Edmonton, whining about your stupid missile defense system, all right?

And being a Manitoba native, I have to admit, I like this story:

... The Alberta rink has been together for five years, has won three national championships and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars on the competitive circuit.

Three months ago, [Manitoba skip Randy] Dutiaume didn't even have a team. At the start of the year, he had lined up a rink to play the competitive circuit in and around Winnipeg. They lost in the city playdowns leading to the provincial championship, and Dutiaume tried to gather his charges for a last-chance shot in the grinding Manitoba Curling Association bonspiel. But as he was studying the draw, trying to determine how many games he'd need to win to earn that provincial berth, his team mutinied, disowning Dutiaume mere days before the start of the bonspiel.

Only second Greg Melnichuk stayed with his skip, who then persuaded Dave Ellis and Shane Kilgallen to join him.

The new formation hit its stride, rolling to a 16-1 record in the Manitoba bonspiel to gain entry to the provincial playdowns.

At that provincial final, only former world champion Jeff Stoughton managed to knock them off as the squad finished 7-1 to win the province.

Add that to the 8-3 record at the Brier and the past eight weeks have been nothing short of remarkable.

We can always dream.

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