Olympic curler seeks sixth Westcoast Curling Classic title at Royal City Curling Club

Curler Kevin Martin and team at the Olympics. Photo courtesy teamkevinmartin.com.
Curler Kevin Martin and team at the Olympics. Photo courtesy teamkevinmartin.com.

This is a guest post by Jason Kurylo. While Jason currently lives in Burnaby (shhhhh!) his New Westminster roots run deep. Jason co-hosts a hockey podcast which you can find on his website Pucked In The Head.

Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself saying “Hey, wasn’t that… you know, that guy?” over the next few days. You probably have seen that guy on TV, even if you’ve just grazed past TSN on a Sunday afternoon. That guy, in fact, just might have Olympic gold in his back pocket.

Kevin Martin and his foursome are no stranger to the Royal City – they’ll be in town for Thanksgiving to take part in the 12th annual Westcoast Curling Classic to be held at the Royal City Curling Club from October 6 – 10.

Martin is one of the world’s most recognizable faces of men’s curling. Since winning back-to-back World Junior Curling Championships in 1998 and 1999, the Edmonton product has been a fixture on the Canadian and international curling circuits. His teams have represented Canada at two Olympic games, first taking silver in Salt Lake City in 2002 and then gold at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Martin has also been a part of 14 Grand Slam titles on the World Curling Tour – in fact, he was the first skip to complete a career Grand Slam by winning each of the tour’s four major championships by the end of the 2004-05 season. He has gone on to win the National, the Canadian Open and the Players’ Championship an additional three times since that feat.

Also impressive has been his dominance at the Westcoast Classic. Since its inception in 2002, Martin’s rinks have neatly taken home half of the first place purses – for this, the twelfth run of the WCC, he looks for his sixth title. He’ll have to wade through 23 other teams, including 2006 Olympic silver medalist Marku Uusipaavalniemi of Finland. Also on the roster are teams from BC, across Canada, the United States, Russia, Japan and Chinese Taipei. New Westminster rinks include those skipped by 2000 World Champions Bryan Miki and Brent Pierce (who each now skip their own foursomes) and former BC Junior Men’s Champs Andrew Bilesky and Jay Wakefield (@curlerjayw on Twitter, but watch out – he drops the four-letter words in just about every tweet). Up for grabs is a cash purse of $64,000.

Martin and Uusipaavalniemi will play a skins game on Wednesday, October 6 at 7:30 pm. The tournament itself begins on Friday, October 8, with draws beginning at 11 am and 2:15, 6 and 9 pm. There are multiple draws on Saturday and Sunday, with the quarter-finals, semifinals and finals to go on Thanksgiving Monday. Day passes to watch the tournament are $10, or get a tournament pass for all four days of play for $30.

2 Replies to “Olympic curler seeks sixth Westcoast Curling Classic title at Royal City Curling Club”

  1. Thanks for the shout-out of the WCC. It is remarkable that more people are not aware of this event, for 10+ years, the WCC has brought the best curlers in the world to New Westminster. This is not hyperbole: last year’s final game was between the reigning Canadian and World Champion team (Kevin Koe) and the reigning Olympic Gold Medallist team (Kevin Martin). I cannot think of another annual sporting event in the Lower Mainland that has this level of competition, year-in and year-out.

    The best part is that after the games, you can pop up to the lounge, have a beer, and sit at a table with some of the best curlers in the world. They are (almost universally) approachable, friendly, and happy to chat. Kevin Martin and his team are remarkable ambassadors for their sport, always smiling and taking time to meet and mix. The atmosphere is very family-friendly (although the Saturday Night party can get a little wild…)

    The fact that there are several local Royal City curlers like Steve Kopf, Derek Errington, Randie Shen and Brent Pierce mixing it up on the ice also makes for a fun event. Local favourites vs. international Champions? What more could you ask for?

  2. I had an interesting fan-boy moment last night. Volunteering this weekend for the WCC, I was asked to go down to the New Wesmtinster SkyTrain Station at 11:00 and pick up Team Kevin Martin. They curled earlier in the day, and went downtown to the Football Game, and were coming back to the Club to have a beer.

    Meeting a group of Olympic Gold Medallists at the Sky Train Station… I didn't ask if any of the Football Fans taking the Skytrain to Surrey recognized them.
    My recent post The Trains of October

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