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Monday, Oct. 22, 2018
Ontario Tour provides preparation for Team Glibota
by Randy Pascal

Everyone involved in curling in Northern Ontario is fully aware of exactly how unlikely it is that skip Brad Jacobs and his team of Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden would not be representing this province (Northern Ontario holds the distinction of being considered a province in curling circles for purposes of national championship competitions) come time for the 2018 Tim Horton’s Brier next March in Regina.

After all, with the exception of the 2014 Canadian showdown at which time Jacobs and company were otherwise indisposed in Sochi, the core of the team have donned NOCA colours at the event on seven straight occasions.

Still, if they were to stumble, it’s entirely possible that the Copper Cliff Curling Club rink of Chris Glibota, Dustin Montpellier, Eric Gélinas and Matt Gordon might be the team to knock them off. An 8-7 semi-final loss to Dylan Johnston of Thunder Bay last February in Sault Ste Marie was all that kept Team Glibota from a date in the 2017 Northern Ontario opposite the Jacobs powerhouse.

Not bad for a team that is currently entering just their second year of play together.

“Matt and I have curled on various teams in the past, and so have Eric and I,” explained local product Dustin Montpellier. “We just called Chris up and asked him to skip.” A native of Sault Ste Marie, Glibota had been open to the idea of hooking up with a team that was in search of a more serious approach to the game, willing to commit to the time needed to at least allow them to dream of upsetting an Olympic gold medal winning quartet.

“We want to make some money on (Ontario Curling) Tour, that’s basically one of our objectives,” said Montpellier. “Last year, we did very well. We qualified (for purse money) at every event that we played in, almost anyways. This year, we have higher expectations of ourselves.”

“We’re looking to play events, qualify and make some money, and get some good games for the team to get ready, ultimately, for the playdowns, which is our main goal, make provincials and try and make the Brier.”

Now 26 years of age, Montpellier is certainly not new to the scene. “I’ve been playing on the Tour for five or six years,” he explained. “I kind of know the events that I didn’t like, the ones I enjoyed, which ones have the best ice, all that kind of stuff.”

“We play a couple of bigger events, with a bigger purse, more CTRS (Canadian Team Ranking System) points, higher competition, and then we play a couple of smaller events where we feel like we have a more realistic chance of actually winning the whole event.”

With a collection of curlers ranging in age from 23 to 26 or so, Team Glibota are no longer at the point in their lives where they can match the early season schedules of the kids still in high-school or attending post-secondary institutions.

Attending the Stroud Sleeman Cash Spiel earlier this month, Glibota and company would run into the team of Tanner Horgan, Jacob Horgan, Nicholas Bissonnette and Maxime Blais right out of the gates. It was the first game of the year, together, for the Saultite and his rink.

I confess to not having done the exact math, but I feel safe in suggesting that Team Horgan would have been nearing 20 games or better dating back to the end of August. In that sense, Montpellier and his mates were not about to complain upon suffering a 6-4 setback decided in the final end.

“We actually played very well that game, we weren’t expecting to win,” he said. “We were pretty pleased with the way that we played, mostly.” In fact, given the grind of bantam and junior curling that most of the gents competing in Stroud would have experienced in their youth, there is certainly something to be said for the wisdom of team construction that comes with age.

“From years of curling, I have come to realize that the personalities on a team is really important,” suggested Montpellier. “I feel like we finally have four guys where our personalities just mesh. We had a blast on Tour and at playdowns last year.”

“On the ice, I dropped from skip to third, which was an adjustment,” he continued. “But I feel like everyone is in the right position, everyone just kind of jives together, and we enjoy ourselves out there, and that helps.”

Still, there is no one on Team Glibota who is unaware of the challenge that is presented when one of the best teams on the planet lives just over three hours away. “The difference, really, is consistency,” noted Montpellier.

“We can have a great seven or eight ends, and then have one end where it all unravels. You can get away with one bad end, most of the time, but when you play at that level, they don’t have a bad end, and if they do, it’s one bad shot.”

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