North Island curlers sweep to gold

Two Island rinks won gold at a prestigious event in April.

The prestigious Pacific International Cup (PIC) held annually at the Richmond Curling Centre April 13-17 saw 16 B.C. teams and 16 international teams compete for the coveted gold medal, sponsored by Travelers Insurance.

The championship is an event designed to encourage curling at the grassroots level. It brings together the best ‘club’ curlers from six different regions around B.C. in a tournament that is both friendly and competitive, and sends the winners to the National Club Championship.

In the final game for the BC Travelers Club Championship, the North Island men’s and women’s curling teams were challenged by the South Island teams and, after the final rock settled, the North Island brought home the gold medals.

The local men’s foursome skipped by Ron Schmidt simply steamrolled over the field winning all of the seven round-robin games.

In the B.C. final, an all-Island affair against skip Randy Zinkiew from Kerry Park, the Comox team saw themselves cruising through with a 7-3 win for the B.C. Travelers Club Championship.

They then went on to defeat Australia in the PIC gold medal game ending up with a perfect record for the competition.

The team, which also included Darren Richards, lead, Craig Bernes, second, and Norm Cote, third, became the fourth team from Vancouver Island to win the PIC gold medal in the event’s 17-year history.

The North Island women’s team representing Campbell River, skipped by Kim Jonsson, came through the competition in first place with a 5-2 record in the round-robin.

The gold medal round saw the team of Lonnie Schopp (throwing fourth rocks), Mickey Colburn, second, and Yvette Green, lead, come up against the Heather Lindsay-Lecuyer  team from Nanaimo, and it was a battle.

The nail-biting game went an extra end with North Island having hammer and taking the point for a 6-5 win for the title. The Jonsson team then went on to play Alaska in the PIC gold medal round, taking silver. Jonsson and Schopp won the PIC in 2010 and 2011 under skip Goodwin from the Comox Valley Curling Club.

The teams now qualify for the 2016 Travelers Curling Club Championship Nov. 20-26 in Kelowna. There will be 14 teams from the provinces and territories flown in for the event, which promises to be the high point of many a curling career.

The Schmidt team is excited to attend the national event and will no doubt blog their way through their experience —  as they did in Richmond.

The Jonsson team is proud to be playing in their own province and hope to step it up another level.

You can bet the local curling fans wish both teams the best of luck in November.

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