OUA curling, Team Fleury and the Masters
by Randy Pascal
A repeat championship was not to be as the Laurentian Voyageurs' curling teams advanced to the playoff rounds but no further at the 2018 OUA
Championships last week in Sault Ste Marie, both local teams eliminated by the eventual provincial champs.
Coming off a 2016-2017 season in which they captured both the OUA and U Sports banners, the L.U. quartet of Krysta Burns, Megan Smith, Sara Guy and Laura
Masters were clearly right back in the mix, posting an impressive 5-1 record in round robin play.
The ladies got on a roll early, downing both the Brock Badgers (9-6) and Waterloo Warriors (7-2) on day one, suffering their only preliminary round
setback with a 7-5 loss to the Carleton Ravens on day two.
It was right back on the winning track in day three competition as Laurentian upended the McMaster Marauders (9-5) and Guelph Gryphons (7-3), closing
out their lead in to the quarter finals by quadrupling the Western Mustangs 8-2 on day four.
Pitted against the powerhouse Laurier Hawks in the round of eight, the Voyageurs took the eventual gold medal winning teams to extra ends, before dropping a
6-5 decision. While the Laurentian men struggled a little more than their female counterparts in pool play, they did just enough to squeeze into the playoffs,
providing a very solid account of themselves in the quarter-final battle.
The team of Tanner Horgan, Derek Leung, Michael Masters, Maxime Blais, Mark Robinson and Mark D’Arcangelo took some time to hit their stride, opening
with a two loss day following defeats at the hands of both the Toronto Blues (10-5) and Western Mustangs (6-3).
A bit of a day of contrasts some 24 hours later as the lads hit the win column, bouncing the UOIT Ridgebacks 9-4 before taking it on the chin to the tune of
a 10-1 thumping administered by the Ryerson Rams.
It was do or die time for coach Ryan Lafraniere and company, as the team squeezed out a playoff berth courtesy of victories on both day three (6-0 vs the
McMaster Marauders) and day four (6-5 vs Laurier Hawks).
Their 3-3 record kept them alive long enough to go toe to toe with the Brock Badgers, doubled up 4-2 in a matchup of two excellent sides.
Turns out there wasn’t a whole lot of down time for well established and well respected Sudbury women’s curling skip Tracy Fleury, coming out of her team’s
appearance at the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts last month.
In an pre-determined decision but one that was kept under wraps quite well, the Fleury Idylwylde Golf & Country Club rink that included Crystal Webster,
Jennifer Wylie, Amanda Gates and Jenna Enge entered the run to nationals this year knowing this was the end of an era.
“In December, we sat down and made the decision, as a team, and it was unanimous among all of us,” confessed Fleury earlier this week. “It was a very difficult
decision to make, because we do love competing together, but we agreed it was the right time, mostly due to changes in priorities.”
The trio of Fleury, Wylie and Gates date their combined efforts on the ice well back to the junior ranks, one which started a flurry (pardon the pun!) of success
over the ensuing fifteen years or so. It’s not as though they have disbanded without having created countless memories to treasure for the remainder of their
“I’m really proud of how we grew as athletes together, and how we always supported each other, especially in challenging times,” Fleury acknowledged. “We were
fortunate to achieve many milestones along the way and compete in some exciting events and places. In fourteen years, we were able to mature and develop our skills
together, which was really rewarding.”
As it turned out, Team Fleury were not the only top end Canadian women’s team looking to shake things up. With Manitoba skip Kerri Einarson joining forces
with Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard and Briane Meilleur, her remaining troika of previous team members were left to search for a new final shot
thrower, with that search quickly turned in the direction of the stalwart Sudbury curler.
Team Fleury now features a lineup of Selena Kaatz (vice), Liz Fyfe (second) and Kristin MacCuish (lead), a squad that will compete under the
provincial banner of Manitoba. “I’m looking forward to learning some new things from this very talented team, and to improving and working together to achieve some
big goals,” said Fleury.
The CTV Masters Bonspiel hardware will remain in Sudbury at least one more year after the rink of Dick Anderson, Mark Carmichael, Craig Partington and
Doug Foreman downed the Mindemoya foursome Dave McDermid, Bob Caddel, Bill McCoy and Carl Lewis earlier this week at the Idylwylde Golf &
The first event “A” winners were the defending overall champion quartet of Gerry Duhaime, Brian Bilodeau, Chris Martel and Richard Dubois, while the
second event “A” winners were George Lalonde, Don Summers, Bill Sloan and Marc Pilon, also from Sudbury.
The championship third and fourth place honours were doled out to the team’s of Claude Peloquin-Dave Cerisano-John Stuckless-Gene Desjardins (North Bay) and
Gilles Adam-Michel Chretien-Gil Gasparini-Denis Obonsawin respectively.
Finally, the first event “A” runners up were none other than Mike Gaudette, Mike Charron, event organizer Pat Thompson and Brian MacDonald.