Two-time defending Super League champion Terry McNamee of Brandon has added a new second in Travis Taylor this season.
Brandon’s Terry McNamee is looking to win his third straight Brandon Sun Westman Super League of Curling championship, but this year’s team squad will have a different look to it.
Defending champion Norm Hemstad delivers in Wednesday's Masters opener at the Riverview Curling Club. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
McNamee’s second, Geordie Hargreaves, left the foursome as the team’s competitive schedule would put too much of a strain on his family and work life. It didn’t take long for McNamee to find a new second as Travis Taylor joined the squad for the season.
Taylor seemed like the best choice for McNamee as he played with him, third Steve Irwin and lead Travis Saban in 2009. In addition to previous experience with the team, McNamee also likes what Taylor can bring to the foursome.
"He’s a young guy," McNamee said. "I’ve always liked a guy who can throw it hard at second and Travis can do that. His finesse game has improved. He’s played third the last couple years for his dad, so his finesse game has improved a lot. So he brings a lot to the team."
The Super League, which opened the 2012-13 season late last night at the Brandon Curling Club, will look fairly similar to last year with 10 of the 12 teams returning. Only Kelly Robertson’s Neepawa team and Shawn Taylor’s Brandon squad aren’t back this year and they’re being replaced by Duane Lang — Robertson’s second last season — and his team from the Riverview Curling Club, and Neepawa native Tina Kozak’s new women’s team of Erin Maloney, Betty Buurma and Suzie Scott. The team is joining the league for the first time.
McNamee likes his chances to win a third straight title, especially with Robertson — a seven-time champion and the skip he faced in last season’s final — out of the league, but he knows it won’t be easy.
"I think if we play the way we can, then we have a good shot at winning it," McNamee said. "Saying that, with Kelly being out of it, Kelly was the mainstay in the league for a long time and it’s going to be hard to miss him, but it’s good for our team."
TEAM CHANGES: Hargreaves will play for Kelly Skinner in the Super League this season, but isn’t planning on staying with him for playdowns.
Kozak has been replaced by Darla Hayward on the team skipped by Deloraine’s Liza Park, which also includes Pam Robins, Krystall Tillie-Stewart and Denise Podolski as a fifth. They won’t play a competitive schedule or in Manitoba Curling Tour events because of family reasons. However, they may participate in playdowns.
MCT STOPS: The first women’s event on the Manitoba Curling Tour schedule will be held in Winnipeg from Friday through Monday.
Among the 24 teams at the Atkins Curling Supplies Women’s Charity Classic is the new squad from the Brandon Curling Club skipped by Stacey Fordyce, Kozak’s foursome and Terry Ursel’s team from Plumas. Kim Link’s team from Winnipeg, which features Brandonite Maureen Bonar at third, is also in the mix.
The squads will be split into four pools of six with the top two from each pool advancing to Monday’s playoffs. The winner will take home $4,500.
Meanwhile, half of the 10 teams entered in Carberry’s King Spud Classic this weekend are from Westman. Locals in the bonspiel, which runs from Friday through Sunday, include McNamee, Virden’s Cory Zdan, Neepawa’s Jerry Chudley, as well as Joey Witherspoon and Kelly Marnoch, both of whom are from Carberry.
The top three teams from each pool of five advance to Sunday’s playoffs, with the winner earning $1,200 and 30 Manitoba Curling Tour points.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 11, 2012