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West: Day 18 – Pembina & Deer Lodge, Winnipeg

Breakfast and morning class at the hotel and on the road by 8:45am. Like our points total, Elvis has left the building and we have a new bus driver. Hopefully he won’t leave us crying in the chapel, way down or lonesome tonight. Too much..? Back to the Curling

Well skelpt from yesterday, we approached Pembina with trepidation and curious hangovers. Granite CC hospitality last night was indeed on another level, as were their snooker and pool rooms where we enjoyed a lot of post game revelry. Today is a new day.

Pembina is another nice ice rink with a curved  ceiling but in steel rather than wood. Another really tough morning’s curling against strong opposition saw us drop ten more shots and slip into negative points territory for the west leg of the tour. However, all the games this morning were really close, so everyone is still in good spirits and ready for this afternoon’s challenge.

Deer Lodge is a similar looking structure to Pembina and Granite with a curved roof again. This time in laminated wood which makes it look almost like a concrete structure. After a promising strong start, the intrepid tourists let things slip but, to be fair, the local opposition really turned the screw and made it difficult for us. Seven more shots dropped this afternoon, despite our best efforts.

For the first time on tour so far, we were treated to table service rather than the buffet option. That made a nice change, which was well remarked upon.

We were treated to a speech after dinner by Sean Grassie, who skipped the Canadian mixed champions team in 2009. Sean provided us with an interesting and informative history of curling in Manitoba and also gifted every one of us a signed copy of his book, Kings of the Rings, which is a history of 125 years of curling in the Province. That was a really nice gift. There are names in there that I already recognise from conversations I’ve had and people I’ve met over the last couple of days. I’ll read it all.

No games tomorrow. Flights only. We need to score points in Ottawa.

Stephen McClymont