ALBERTON -- The Manitoba/Northwestern Ontario representatives from the Deloraine Legion in Manitoba are the 2013 Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Curling champions. Skip Blair Goethals and his team of Barry Sunaert, Dale Goethals and Lorne Sambrook won the title in a tie-breaker game Wednesday afternoon at the Western Community Curling Club.
Goethals and the Nova Scotia-Nunavut representatives from Fairview Legion in Halifax, finished round robin play with identical 5-1 records, forcing an afternoon tie-breaker game for the national hardware.
Goethals got on the board first with a single in three and then stole a deuce in the fourth end. He went on to win the game 6-3, avenging his round robin loss to Steve Elder’s Fairview Legion team in the process.
“We curled, I think, better, and they didn’t curl as good as the last game,” Goethals assessed following the game-ending handshake. “We curled pretty good.” He admitted he used their first meeting with Elder as inspiration. “Yeah, you never like getting beat by the same person too many times,” he revealed.
This was the Deloraine Legion’s second trip to the nationals in as many years. Last year they finished with a 3-3 record. “I think we played better (than last year),” said the team’s mate, Barry Sunaert. “We definitely played better right through.”
Elder had indicated prior to the tie-breaker game that he was retiring following the championship because of bad knees. He was hoping to end on a winning note. Instead, he settled for a Jeff Stoughton-style spin-around final throw after the Deloraine crew had mathematically run his team out of rocks. The score was 3-1 Goethals after five ends. Goethals went up 4-1 in the seventh and stole two in the eighth end to pretty much seal Elder’s fate. Still, Elder played on and scored two in nine. Goethals peeled away in the tenth leaving Elder with no place to hide the three points he needed for the steal.
Dominion Command sports chair, Mike Atkinson praised the national event and the organizers. “I think it went very well, exciting games right to the end,” Atkinson said, adding that the teams were closely matched.
“I can’t say enough for the club here and the (St Anthony’s) Legion Branch for what they’ve done this week. It’s just been great,” Atkinson said, admitting they’ve set the bar high for subsequent hosts.
There have been rumblings in recent years that each Legion National would be the last, but Atkinson said Dominion Legion curling will be hosted in western Canada next year. “I will pass on all I’ve learned this week to the Dominion president and let him know curling is very much alive in the legion and we should be keeping it,” he said.
Three teams, P.E.I., Saskatchewan and Quebec finished play tied for third place with 3-3 records. Newfoundland and Labrador picked up its first win in their final game against British Columbia/Yukon to tie the west coast team at 1-5.