Terry McNamee would love nothing more than to complete his collection of medals from national mixed curling championships next weekend.
The Brandonite earned a bronze medal at the 2007 event and a silver in 2011 and he wants gold at this year’s Canadian mixed championship, which opens today and runs through Nov. 24 at Montreal.
"We are going there with one goal and that’s to win a gold medal for Manitoba and we have the team to do it," McNamee said. "We just have to play well when we get there and get a couple breaks along the way, but we have the team to do it."
While McNamee — who’s making his fifth appearance at nationals — is focused on winning his first national title, he knows he will be going up against some pretty tough teams. Alberta’s team, skipped by Kurt Balderston, features 2012 Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard at third and finished second at last year’s event. PEI’s Robert Campbell, who beat McNamee in the 2011 final, is also back this season and so is eight-time Brier competitor James Grattan from New Brunswick.
However, the McNamee foursome is full of talent as well. Both third Kerri Einarson and second Kyle Einarson, who are from Gimli, were at the 2010 mixed national championship with skip Dave Boehmer, where they fell in a tie-breaker. Meanwhile, lead Stacey Fordyce of Brandon reached the national stage at the Dominion club championship where her team fell in the semifinals.
All four also play on competitive men’s or women’s teams, and all competed in a bonspiel last weekend, so they should be sharp. That’s why McNamee isn’t too worried about the other teams in the field.
"It is tough, but I like my team and the way it’s put together," he said. "We can play with anybody. I’m not too scared about that. If we play the way we can, we’re going to be there in the end."
Meanwhile, the Brandon Curling Club will also be represented at the Dominion Curling Club Championships — geared towards club-level players — in Scarborough, Ont., from Monday through Nov. 24. Steve Irwin, McNamee’s third on his competitive men’s team, is skipping Manitoba’s entry that also includes Justin Rabe, Travis Brooks and Cody Rabe. Irwin wants to improve on his placing at the Dominions two years ago when his squad fell in the semifinals.
"Saskatchewan had to win two tiebreakers to get into the playoffs, so they were playing really hot and the first four ends we were outplayed badly," Irwin said. "We crawled back in to force an extra (end), but, now that we know what to expect, hopefully this year if we get to the semis we won’t be nervous and we’ll just win that one, too."