Armitage taking another run at seniors’ title

What started out as hopefully a six-month test run has been extended at least a year for Rob Armitage and his Red Deer senior men’s curling foursome.

What started out as hopefully a six-month test run has been extended at least a year for Rob Armitage and his Red Deer senior men’s curling foursome.

Armitage joined forces with third Keith Glover, second Randy Ponich and lead Wilf Edgar last fall in an effort to take a serious run at the Alberta title.

Five months later they were provincial champs and in late March the quartet captured the Canadian crown at Abbotsford, B.C., roaring through the round-robin portion of the nationals with a 10-1 record and defeating Glenn Goss of Newfoundland 5-2 in the final.

Now, at least tentatively scheduled to represent Canada in next year’s world championship, Armitage and his supporting cast will remain as a team through at least one more winter.

“You bet we’ll be staying together. We’ve been on quite a run,” said Armitage, who this week returned from an Arizona vacation that followed his triumph in the Canadian championship.

The Red Deer rink played a relatively mild schedule last season, getting together primarily for the provincial senior men’s zones, southern and provincial playdowns.

As for the 2012-13 season . . .

“We might play in both men’s and senior men’s Alberta playdowns,” said Armitage. “The men’s playdowns are soft enough now that I think we could get to provincials at that level.

“That would certainly provide us with a lot of curling, but I played that schedule for two years and had one weekend off out of about six. So it gets kind of gruelling by the time you get to provincials at either level, or both.”

While the Armitage foursome will discuss their scheduling plans for next season and the best way to prepare for the 2013 world championship, Armitage said he’s still not sure if they’ll actually be attending next year’s worlds as Canadian champs.

“The skip that won the nationals last year (Kelly Robertson) was back in Abbotsford as the Manitoba champion and told me that (the Canadian Curling Association) is considering getting the national championship and the worlds back on the same year,” said the skip.

“He said there was a chance that he would have to play this year’s Canadian winner to see who went to Denmark (the site of the 2012 senior men’s world championship currently underway).”

As it turned out, Robertson’s rink is representing Canada in Denmark, but Armitage isn’t’ ruling out the possibility of the ‘same-year’ format kicking in next year. Clearly, he doesn’t see a lot of merit in the possible change.

“First of all you have to win the province, then after three weeks you spend 10 or 11 days at the Canadians and then if you win there you’re leaving for maybe overseas for another 10 or 11 days,” said Armitage. “But I don’t know what their (CCA) plans are. We won’t know for awhile.

“It’s funny, you win the (Alberta) southerns and a half an hour of paper work follows. You win the province and you do an hour of paper work. You win Canadians and hear hardly a peep from anybody.”

The logistics of the ‘same-year’ format coming in next year simply don’t jive, said Armitage.

“So if it’s decided that we have to play the Canadian winner of next year to go to worlds, how will that work,” he wondered. “The nationals are in Summerside, P.E.I., and if we’re not there as Alberta champions are they going to fly us out there to play a sudden-death game?”

Armitage hopes to get all of his answers before or at the Southern Alberta Curling Association awards dinner May 5.

A host for the 2013 senior men’s worlds has yet to be determined. Armitage has heard rumblings of Fredericton, N.B., being in the mix.

As the Canadian champion, Armitage would relish playing for the world title on home soil.

“One of the drivers in Abbotsford suggested that we were probably disappointed because we couldn’t go to Denmark for the worlds this year,” he said. “But I don’t need to go some place and lose to four knee-sliders on bad ice in front of 10 people. If I had my choice I would play in Canada. You’re guaranteed of good ice, you’re the home team and it’s going to be a big deal.”

Regardless, Armitage and his rinkmates continue to revel in the enjoyment and satisfaction of being Canadian champions.

“It does feel good,” said the skip. “The guys played really well in Abbotsford. Keith and Randy were all-stars and Wilf probably would have been except that we were almost always ahead in games and he was playing those hack-weight peel shots. He hadn’t thrown a lot of them and they’re really tough to make.

“We went through the thrill of wearing those Alberta jackets, which we’d been trying to get for a long time (at the men’s level) and a month later we’re thinking ‘holy cow, now we’re going to get Canadian jackets’.”

In the likely event that the rink represents Canada in the 2013 worlds, a fifth man will be added to the team.

“There are so many choices to fill that role and I’d like to keep it local,” said Armitage. “There’s a lot of good curlers around here who haven’t had a chance to go to worlds.”

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Hub on Ross has announced it has permanently closed. (Photo courtesy The Hub on Ross Facebook page)
The Hub on Ross in Red Deer to permanently close

The Hub on Ross in Red Deer permanently closed on Wednesday. “The… Continue reading

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo)
Alberta records 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Shaun Isaac, owner of Woodchucker Firewood in Trochu, is awaiting a new shipment during a firewood shortage in the province. All of the wood he has left is being saved for long-time customers who need it to heat their homes. (Contributed photo).
Firewood shortage in central Alberta caused by rising demand, gaps in supply

‘I’ve said “No” to more people than ever’: firewood seller

The Red Deer Senior Citizens Downtown House reopened earlier this month, after closing in March due to the pandemic. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Red Deer Senior Citizens Downtown House reopens

The Red Deer Senior Citizens Downtown House was closed for months due… Continue reading

Guy Pelletier, vice-president of the Red Deer region for Melcor Developments. (Contributed photo).
Melcor has to redesign new neighbourhood after Molly Banister decision

City council disagreed with administration’s recommendation to scrap road plans

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Sergio Santos, right, of the Philadelphia Union, loses the race to the ball against goalie Quentin Westberg of Toronto FC during the first half of an MLS match Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Chester, Pa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charles Fox/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP
Frustrated coach Greg Vanney defends banged-up Toronto FC after second straight loss

Frustrated coach Greg Vanney defends banged-up Toronto FC after second straight loss

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Robert and third baseman Justin Turner pose for a group picture after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Sporting venues and games certainly have super-spreader potential but that risk can be minimized with buy-in from all involved, experts said Wednesday. The subject moved into the spotlight Wednesday after L.A. Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tested positive for COVID-19 at the World Series. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Eric Gay
Sports’ buy-in needed to prevent super-spreader potential: experts

Sports’ buy-in needed to prevent super-spreader potential: experts

In this image released by Fox, from left, Doug E. Doug, Malik Yoba, Rawle D. Lewis, John Candy and Leon are shown in a scene from the film "Cool Runnings." THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, Fox
Not cool: Jamaican bobsledder wants thief to return stolen shell to Calgary bar

An original member of the Jamaican bobsled team featured in the 1993… Continue reading

Speedskater Ivanie Blondin trains at the Olympic Oval in Calgary on October 17, 2016. Canada's long-track speedskating team is chasing ice to Fort St. John, B.C. The country's top speedskaters have been without ice in Calgary's Olympic Oval since early September because of a mechanical failure there. World champions Ivanie Blondin, Graeme Fish and Ted-Jan Bloemen are among 50 people including coaches and support staff travelling to northern B.C. for a 15-day training camp starting Nov. 1. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canadian long-track speedskating team finds temporary home in B.C.

Canadian long-track speedskating team finds temporary home in B.C.

The "Great One," Wayne Gretzky, left, holds up a banner bearing his number with some help from his friend Joey Moss during a jersey retirement ceremony at Skyreach Centre in Edmonton on Firday, October 1, 1999. Former Oilers captain Kelly Buchberger remembers how a familiar friend would come "barrelling" into the visitors' dressing room when he returned to Edmonton. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Wayne Gretzky reflects on the life, legacy of Joey Moss: ‘He gave parents hope’

Wayne Gretzky reflects on the life, legacy of Joey Moss: ‘He gave parents hope’

Players' sticks are shown during a World Championships Group A hockey game between Russia and Denmark, in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, May 12, 2016. A $30-million settlement of three class actions over the failure to pay junior hockey players the minimum wage has been thrown into jeopardy after three judges refused to sign off on the agreement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ivan Sekretarev
Junior hockey employment lawsuit on thin ice; judges refuse to OK $30-million deal

Junior hockey employment lawsuit on thin ice; judges refuse to OK $30-million deal

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney answers questions at a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Labour union leaders are urging Albertans to sign up to protest Premier Jason Kenney’s government through rallies and demonstrations and, if necessary, provincewide general strikes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta union leaders launch protest website against Kenney government

Alberta union leaders launch protest website against Kenney government

Most Read