SUMMERSIDE – Martin Crete has fond memories of Summerside.
Crete is playing third stone for Jean-Michel Ménard’s rink at the 2017 Home Hardware Road to the Roar Pre-Trials curling event at Eastlink Arena this week. It is the first time Crete has been back in the Prince County city since skipping Quebec to the silver medal at the 2002 Canadian junior curling championships.
“It brings back good memories from my junior days,” said Crete in an interview with the Journal Pioneer. “It’s good to be back here.”
Team Ménard’s goal this week is to earn one of the two men’s berths up for grabs in the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Ottawa from Dec. 2 to 10. That competition will determine the Canadian men’s and women’s four-person curling teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in February.
“We want to play well all week long so we can get to second part of the qualification,” said Crete. “We want to have fun, try to stay relaxed and not look too far ahead.”
He is also hoping history repeats itself, and Team Ménard goes on a run like he experienced in 2002. Crete’s junior team, also consisting of third stone Jonathan Tremblay, second stone Kevin White and lead Olivier Leclerc, went 10-2 (won-lost) for a first-place finish atop the round-robin standings.
Lost in final
The young Quebec team would go on to lose 5-4 to Dave Hamblin’s Manitoba rink in a close final. Crete says he has many fond memories from that championship, including how his young, exciting and fearless rink became fan favourites at the Silver Fox Entertainment Complex and Cahill Stadium.
“Maybe it was because we were so young,” recalled Crete. “I was only 16 years old, and we were playing pretty well that week.”
Crete has played third stone with Ménard for 11 years. He admitted there was a bit of an adjustment moving from skip, but he added the timing was right as he switched positions when he was starting to play men’s.
“It worked out well,” said Crete. “JM is a fantastic guy, and it’s easy to play with him. That was pretty easy.”
Something that won’t be easy, Crete acknowledged, is advancing to the Roar of the Rings.
“It’s a pretty good strong field, all good teams here,” said Crete in assessing the field assembled in Summerside. “We will have to play our best to hope to have a chance to win.”