With the Viterra Scotties Tournament in the books, attention in Estevan’s Affinity Place turns to the SaskTel Tankard. The host of volunteers from the Scotties has had a couple days to recharge. Now it’s time to welcome the best men’s curling teams in the province to the playdown. On the line is the set of coveted green jackets and a trip to the Tim Hortons Brier in London, ON from March 3 - 12.
All eyes from Humboldt and East Central Saskatchewan will be on hometown crews Team Dustin Kalthoff and Team Dallan Muyres.
For his part, Muyres makes his skipping debut at the Tankard alongside some formidable flankers. Garret Springer originally from the Foam Lake area has seen considerable success in the mixed doubles format. Jordan Tardi is a former Canadian and World Junior champ with his brother Tyler, and Wadena's Dustin MIkush has plenty of previous Sask tour credits.
Here's Muyres heading into tonight's competition
“The group that we have here really gels off-ice and on-ice,” Muyres says. “We’ve got skills and lots of experience on this team. We’ve got provincial champions, and a Canadian and World champion in Jordan, so we’re sitting in a good position here. We’re feeling confident going into provincials. I’m really excited to be part of the twelve team provincial and really curious to see how it’s all going to settle out.”
The Dustin Kalthoff squad flew in under the radar having tossed their names in the hat only weeks ago. He’ll be helming three young players, Braden Fleischhacker of Humboldt, Nathen Pomedi of Wadena and Jayden Bindig of Kuroki. The trio have curled together successfully through juniors in the past, and they’ve joined forces with Kalthoff to forge ahead in the men’s game. It's been a recent but successful partnership.
“I was looking for three guys to link up with and maybe play in playdowns with if such an opportunity existed,” explains Kalthoff. “We put an entry into the Last Chance Spiel I think the day before the deadline. We never played a game together before the Last Chance, but we put together a nice run, and now we’re going to the Tankard.”
The big target will be Colton Flasch, as defending provincial champ, but there are plenty of other familiar names, says Steve Turner, championship director with CurlSask.
“Colton Flasch’s team is back as our defending champion, and we have some other perennial favourites such as Steve Laycock skipping his own team. The Hartung team is one that’s always in the running, as well as Team Jacobson. We’ve also got some of the younger teams like the Daymond Bernath team who was our Junior provincial champion last season. Logan Ede, fresh off a Sunday victory in our Junior Men’s Provincial Championship, has also qualified in one of our four spots in the Last Chance. So we’ve got a great cross section of the veterans and the rookies.”
Saskatchewan curling fans will be cheering on their favourites through to the final on Sunday.