June 26th, 2019

Hat curling team earns spot at provincials on home ice

By Sean Rooney on February 5, 2019.

Submitted Photo
Coach Terry Devalter (left) Kolby MacDonald, Bryson Helmle, Cole Lewis and Connor Zeidell pose after winning their spot into the under-18 curling provincials at a qualifier Sunday at the Calgary Curling Club.


Connor Zeidell had his draw weight working, which spelled trouble for the other teams at the Alberta under-18 curling qualifier in Calgary this past weekend.

After winning one of the two spots, his team gets to play on home ice next month at provincials.

Zeidell, with third Cole Lewis, second Bryson Helmle and lead Kolby MacDonald went 5-1 at the Calgary Curling Club, wrapping up with a 8-2 win Sunday over the Maximillian Kobylnyk team from Calgary.

Getting quick starts was key to the team’s success.

“Out of six games we drew the pin, we won draw to the button six times,” said Zeidell. “Obviously having hammer going into the game, you want to get off to a good start. When you score more than two points, you give yourself a little breathing room, a little momentum.”

A three-point first end in the B final set the tone, and another three-spot in the fifth — Zeidell said it required a board weight pick off the button to score — made any thought of a comeback moot. A steal in the sixth ended it.

Provincials are March 14-17 at the Medicine Hat Curling Club.

“This is our first provincials, my first provincials,” said Zeidell, 17. “It means a lot more knowing that we have home ice advantage here in the Hat, hometown support. I’ve talked to lots of people already saying they’re going to try to make it out for a game here, a game there.”

Zeidell had fallen short of a spot at junior provincials back in December when he skipped a team including Alex Bowyer, Wyatt Herselman and Lane Rempel to the C final, but lost in an extra end. That event is for an under-21 age group, so he’s still got plenty of chances at it.

For the under-18’s, it’s now or never. Zeidell and Lewis are both from the Hat, while Helmle resides in Chestermere and MacDonald in St. Albert.

“Before Cole came to our team me and him had some good battles,” said Zeidell. “Bryson’s been with us for a long time. Kolby, we just picked him up actually and he’s been great.”

On Friday they beat Micheal Keenan’s team from the Oilfields Curling Club 8-1 in six ends. Saturday morning’s draw saw Warburg’s Ethan Chung take an 8-3 win, stealing points in three straight ends and dropping Zeidell into the second — and final — chance draw.

There, they beat Danny Schielke’s Carstairs foursome 8-2 (opening with a four-ender), then Calgary’s Cole Ector 6-5 (thanks to a two-point final end).

On Sunday they defeated Benjamin Kiist of Calgary 6-3 after taking the first five points.

No Hat teams were entered in the girls’ qualifiers. The last chance qualifying weekend begins Thursday in St. Albert.

Junior bonspiel

While provincial qualifiers took place in Calgary, Medicine Hat held its annual junior bonspiel Saturday with nearly 100 participants.

Three divisions for the most experienced players played in a round robin format.

The hometown Charley Foster team (including Evan Gunn, Faith Schriver and Kiara Jacobs) won their divison with a perfect 3-0 record. Fox Valley’s Brana Thomson rink wound up second.

In another division, Oyen’s Breanne Hogan skipped her side including Charity Logan, Kennedy Wilson and Jolyene Hogan to a 2-1 record and first place, just ahead of the Hat side skipped by Josh Forbes.

The other division winner was Addisyn Helmle, who along with Ava Wieschorster, Jaidyn Hartman and April Martineau went 3-0. Another home team skipped by Isabelle Ferdais wound up in the runner-up spot.

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