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.