ROCK THE HOUSE: ‘Wow factor’ on ice at Kamloops Crown
The big star of Kamloops’ 2011 World Curling Tour event, the Crown of Curling (beginning Friday morning) is expected to be Myles Chapin.
This may be a surprise to some since he isn’t actually playing in the event — Chapin is the head icemaker at Kamloops Curling Club.
This year, visiting teams will play with newly refurbished curling rocks on an ice surface that has been meticulously prepared by Chapin. Fans can expect the conditions to be outstanding.
The new rocks provide more consistency, livelier houses and better response to sweeping.
These conditions will allow players to execute shots of a very high degree of difficulty, so look for the “wow factor” this weekend.
Most of the star power at this year’s event is among the 24 women’s teams.
Perennial B.C. powers Kelly Law, Marla Mallet and Allison MacInnes are past Crown and provincial champions and will be challenged by nine strong international teams.
Liudmilla Privivkova of Russia sits third on the WCT money list. Even with their great start to the year, they may be slight underdogs versus former world champion Bingyu Wang of China.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if we have a champion from Japan, given there are three powerful entries from that country.
The Shinobu Aota team includes members of the 2003 Crown champions.
Korea will be represented by the 2008 winner, Miyean Kim, and the top junior team from Korea will be joining them. The organizing committee is very excited to have a first-time visit from an outstanding young Swiss team led by Michele Jaeggi.
The men’s side looks a lot like a provincial championship field, with a few international teams added to the mix.
We may be missing the best-known tour names, but there is no shortage of talent.
Golf served up a big surprise this year when Bill Haas captured the Fed Ex Cup and the $10-million top prize.
Curling’s version of Haas may be in this field.
Jason Montgomery and his six-foot-seven frame have been knocking at the door at our event and at the provincial championship for a couple of years. There is a strong consensus this team is ready to burst onto the scene in a much bigger way.
Bryan Miki is the 2007 Crown champion and a former world champion with Greg McAulay. His new lineup is really impressive.
Two-time BC Brier rep Dean Joanisse will now throw last rock, with Tyler Klitch (one of the best throwers in B.C.) at third. Miki will skip and throw second, which, coincidentally, is where he had his biggest success.
Alexey Tselousov leads the top team from Russia. They were the event winners in Cloverdale and qualifiers in a tough field in Vernon. With some early-season play in Europe, they are in mid-season form.
Neil Dangerfield was the surprise runner-up in B.C. last year and was probably only one shot away from his first trip to the Brier. The team followed that up by cashing a big cheque in a very elite field in a late-season Victoria event.
T.J. Perepolkin has a new and extremely talented team featuring Brier experience at lead through third.
If you are looking for the “wow factor” mentioned earlier, you should probably watch these guys because they will definitely mix it up.
The top-ranked local team is Brent Yamada, who had a strong finish at last year’s provincials.
Come out and enjoy the longest-running World Curling Tour event.
First draw is 8 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 21.