'We've waited a long time to get this far'
A team of Peace Arch curlers are getting set to bring their game to both the national stage.
And for all four of them, the trip has been a long time coming.
The local rink, skipped by Richard Brower and also including Berry Breton (vice), Larry Macdonald (second), and Deryk Brower (lead), heads to Scarborough, Ont. at the end of the week, where they'll hit the ice against other top teams from across Canada in the men's division of the Dominion Curling Club Championship, which are set to run Nov. 19-24 at the Scarboro Golf and Country Club.
The tournament will also be featured in a one-hour broadcast on TSN Dec. 2.
The Brower rink qualified for the national championship back in April, after being crowned B.C. club champions at a bonspiel in Richmond. Prior to that win, the team had to win its own league, before moving on to Lower Mainland playdowns, which they also won.
And while all four are experienced curlers – Richard Brower is manager of the Peace Arch Curling Centre – none have ever competed at the national level. That challenge is one he and his teammates are looking forward to, said Macdonald, who at 59 is the oldest member of the team.
"Most of us have waited a long time to get this far. I've been curling since I was a teenager, and still never got there," he said.
"You try for years and years to make it, and when you do, it's pretty exciting."
It's not that they've never been close before, of course.
Before the foursome joined forces in the Peace Arch Curling Club's Thursday night men's league – they curl Tuesdays now – Macdonald and Breton were teammates at other clubs "for a number of years," where they often won club titles, both in men's and mixed leagues.
And the Brower brothers have also curled together since Deryk, 46, took up the sport in the early 1990s.
"Gosh, we've curled at a lot of clubs – Vancouver, North Shore Winter Club, Richmond, Langley, Tunnel Town in Tsawwassen," said Richard Brower, who is five years older than his brother.
"I've moved around and worked in a lot of different curling rinks, and Deryk has kind of followed me around, and curled with me wherever I've been working."
Two years ago, curling on a Langley-based team, they came as close as they ever had to a making the Dominion championship, losing in a tiebreaker in provincial finals.
Making it this time around was no easy feat, either, Mcdonald points out.
"We had to get on one heck of a winning streak back in the spring just to get this far."
And while all four know the competition in Ontario will be as stiff as they've ever faced, they're doing their best to balance their competitiveness with the desire to simply enjoy the experience.
"Right now, we're getting as many games in as we can, to get ready, and we're practicing together and on our own – I just finished a 90 minute session by myself. We know there will be no weak teams," Macdonald explained.
"We're going there to represent our province well. You try for so long to win a provincial championship, so you want to make sure you have a good time, too."