In the fifth edition of The Shoot-out, an early event that many teams use to warm up in the curling season, old teammates joined forces on the men’s side to earn the title while old teammates faced off for the title on the women’s side. Coming in to this event that featured the two Olympic representatives, it was other Alberta teams that stole the show and took home the big payday on Sunday at Canada’s national training centre, the Saville Sports Centre.
First, on the women’s side coming out of the round robin play only two teams went undefeated in Renee Sonnenberg and Heather Rankin. These were two teams that many, including myself, weren’t sure how much they would play this upcoming year and they came out playing sharp. One major absence in the playoffs was Cheryl Bernard, Olympic silver medallist who went 2-3 and missed the playoffs. Come playoff time Sonnenberg was defeated by Shannon Kleibrink who had to win a tiebreaker vs Val Sweeting to get into the quarterfinals, while Rankin lost to Cathy King in her quarterfinal. In other quarterfinals it was Chelsea Carey defeating Jesse Kaufman while Heather Nedohin defeated Holly Scott.
This set up a collision course for Heather Nedohin to take on former teammate Cathy King in the final as it was King beating Carey and Nedohin beating Kleibrink in the semi-finals. The final got off to a great start for King until Nedohin, with Cathy Overton-Clapham filling in for Beth Iskiw at third, picked up a 3 in the 6th end to tie up the game 4-4. After trading singles in 7 and 8 it would take an extra end with King holding last rock advantage but Nedohin was able to steal one away from King and become the 2010 Shootout champion earning the $4,500 cheque while King walked away with $2,700.
A new-look Pat Simmons team which had Steve Laycock calling the game while throwing third stones with a brand new front end was the only men’s team to go undeafeated through round robin play. Like the women’s side the undefeated team did not make it past the quarters losing to former teammate Jeff Sharp now playing for Carl deConnick Smith. The other upset in quarter finals was Kevin Martin (4-1 Round Robin) losing to Rob Schlender. The other two quarters had Ted Appelman upending Brent Bawel and Don Walchuk beat Brendan Bottcher.
Once down to the final four teams, it was down to 3 Edmonton teams and deConnick Smith from Rosetown, Saskatchewan. Ted Appelman, the 2008 champion, was able to make sure of an all Edmonton final by destroying the Saskatchewan foursome 7-1. On the other side of the draw it was Don Walchuk and his new team, reuniting with Don Bartlett and adding youngsters DJ Kidby at second and Chris Schille at third, sneaking by Schlender 5-4 scoring 1 in an extra end with hammer. In the final it was a 6-4 win for Walchuk as they scored 3 deuces and that was enough to control the game, despite the 3-ender given up in 6th end. Walchuk took home the winner’s payday of $5,000 while Appelman earned $3,000.
Both Walchuk and Appelman will try to keep their strong play going heading to Calgary next weekend for the World Financial Group Classic at the Garrison Curling Club.