When it comes to curling in January, the Arizona desert doesn’t usually come to mind, but that’s where the defending Tankard provincial men’s champions were this past weekend.
Andrew Symonds of St. John’s and teammates Chris Ford, Adam Boland and Keith Jewer were competing in the Ed Werenich Golden Wrench Classic, a World Curling Tour men’s event in Tempe, Ariz.
And while you might think the 24-team competition was just a destination event, the roster of the teams in the Classic — which had a prize purse of $22,000 US — tells a different story.
Entries included those skipped by British Columbia’s Jim Cotter and the Northwest Territories’ Jamie Koe, both perennial competitors in Brier Canadian men’s championships; defending Olympic men’s champion John Shuster of the United States; two-time world junior champion Tyler Tardi of B.C.; former American champion Rich Ruohonen of Minnesota; two-time Brier participant Sean Geall of B.C., South Korean Olympian Kim Chang-min and Winnipeg’s Jason Gunnlaugson, who is 14th in the WCT rankings.
Symonds went 4-1 in the round-robin, only losing to Gunnlaugson, and advanced to the quarter-finals, where his fell 5-2 to Ruohonen.
Ruohonen and Gunnlaugson met in Sunday night’s final, both taking undefeated records into the game.
Symonds will defend his provincial title beginning Jan. 28 in the 2020 Tankard at the Re/Max Centre in St. John’s. Nine teams are entered.