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GymZone - Home of the Sudbury Laurels
Caruso Club
Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2019
Another CTV Masters Bonspiel in the books
2019-02-23
by Randy Pascal

At a combined age of 324 years, the Darwin Brunne rink can safely attest to putting the old in oldtimers.

Thankfully, Team Brunne can also lay claim to putting a lot of fun into curling.

Combining forces with Monty Duff (79), Ray Bradshaw (81) and Roy DeGroot (86), Brunne is the young gun of the group, throwing skip stones at age 78. The quartet is one of the 32 teams which convened at Curl Sudbury earlier this week, site of the 18th Annual CTV Masters Bonspiel.

While Brunne and his mates have entered this event, as a team, for 18 consecutive years, this bonspiel represents the one and only time, annually, that they all curl together. "It was 18 years ago that this team started," explained that talkative team leader and former banker. "They have curling for the old fellows, you know, seniors curling, where you show up and get put on a team."

"We met each other at those curling events."

Of course, all four maintain a healthy, though increasing limited involvement with the sport, with Brunne having served as a former co-organizer of the CTV Masters, still curling mixed in Copper Cliff with his wife, from time to time. "At this age, you don't always feel up to it," he conceded with a laugh.

In fact, safe to say that laughs and smiles are what it's all about these days for Team Brunne. "We get along really good, there's a good spirit on our team," he said. "When we lose, we lose, and when we win, we're pretty lucky."

A big triumph over the vaunted Dick Anderson rink, some years ago, and one trip to the finals will likely go down as the team's primary accomplishments, as the group keeps everything in perspective. "This is the first time we've played with five rock rules," said Brunne. "That was new to us, but that's not an excuse. When you miss a shot, you miss a shot. You can't blame anybody else."

Yet there is a very good reason, in his mind, for making the effort to make it out, at least one more time. "You can't be laying around the house. You've got to be out, doing something. Otherwise, you're just giving up."

There was clearly no giving up for long-time Capreol Curling Club sharp-shooter Marcel Miron. Two years after injuring his ACL and meniscus, the 62 year old is back on the ice, teamed up with Tim Gaudette, Wayne Knight and Ron Dubuc in Sudbury this week. The foursome would advance all the way to the championship final before falling in a nail-biter to the Gaetan Laforge rink (Lee Tremblay, Fern Pilon, Gaston Laforge, Jean-Marc Laforge).

"When I injured my ACL, I was worried that I would not be able to curl anymore, that was my biggest worry," said Miron, earlier in the bonspiel. "So when I came back, I was very cautious. I didn't join any leagues. I went out with the seniors, played a game, and then would take a week off. But my knee has recovered, about 97%."

" No (knee) replacement, but about seven months of rehab therapy."

While the body most certainly endures some changes over time, the mindset with which Miron and his crew approach a weekend event likely has not been altered substantially by Father Time. "I think we're competitive," he said. "I'm very competitive, so I'm not going to put in a team that is here to lose. But it is curling and we're all masters, so we'll go from there."

As for taking to the ice with a team that had never previously curled together, Miron insisted the obstacles can be overcome. "It starts with the skip having to read the delivery, because everyone's delivery is different," he said. "You hope it's consistent. It's a little bit more of a guess, just because we've lost some of our weight, when it comes to takeouts and stuff, so we're throwing more control."

The 2019 CTV Masters also marked the first time that the organizers had welcomed women into the field, with two all-female rinks entered into the fold. "I think we can hold our own with the men," said Marg Hardie, who also was among a handful from the fairer sex to take up the organizers with the offer to add a female component to the organizing committee, as well.

"When we're little kids, boys and girls are pretty much equal," Hardie continued. "When you're young adults, men do have an advantage with physical strength, for the most part. But at our age, at sixty, seventy, eighty, it becomes a little more level playing field again."

In fact, Hardie and her team of Jocelyn Dovigi, Henriette St Louis and Sue Kanerva were sitting with a record of 1-1 as day one of the competition concluded. Besides, it's not like this is unfamiliar territory for these squads, be they male or female entries. "We know a lot of these guys, curl with them regularly in pensioners leagues," said Hardie.

" They are just the nicest bunch."

Joining both the Laforge and Miron rink in earning extra accolades, among this bunch, were first flight champions, Team Hache (Don Hache, Rob Lefebvre, Dave Cutler, Randy Edwards), second flight winner, Team Bilodeau (Brian Bilodeau, Ron Moores, Chuck Pearson, Dennis O'Bonsawin) and third flight victors, Team Peca (Ben Peca, Roger Dore, Joe Green, Robin Tiplady).

A shout-out also to the Laurentian Voyageurs women's curling team, who squeezed into the quarter-finals with a round robin record of 4-3, but defeated the University of Toronto Blues 7-6 in an extra end, despite trailing 6-3 after the seventh, in the quarter-finals, and bounced the Brock Badgers 6-4 in the semis.

A 6-4 loss to the Queen's Gaels would see the L.U. crew settling for silver, but that was enough to punch the ticket that allows the quintet of Kira Brunton, Megan Smith, Mikaela Cheslock, Emma Johnson and Alyssa Denyer to compete at U-Sport nationals in Fredericton (New Brunswick) from March 15th to the 19th.

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