Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lacombe's Hodgson Ready To Rock At Home

Final preparations at the Lacombe Arena
(photo from twitter @C_hodgy)
The Lacombe Arena will be rocking this week. (Sorry, I just had to haha)

A field of twelve teams, highlighted by two former world champions, hits the ice for the 2014 Albert a Boston Pizza Cup men’s provincial curling championship starting Wednesday.

And while the Kevin Martin and Kevin Koe rinks are the overwhelming favorites heading in, there is another team that will have the support of plenty of hometown Lacombe fans behind it.

The Charley Thomas team, hailing from the Glencoe Curling Club in Calgary, comes in as the #9 seed having taken the long way in qualifying for the tournament. They won the ‘C’ event at Southern Alberta qualifying last month. Skip Charley Thomas is a former world champion himself, winning world junior in both 2006 and 2007.

He brings to Lacombe a team that features two Lacombe natives, Colin Hodgson (@C_hodgy) and Matthew Ng, and Mike Westlund. Both Hodgson and Ng have ties to the Lacombe community that run deep.

“I’m trying not to put any pressure on myself this week,” Hodgson told me over the phone this morning. “For it to be in Lacombe I think it’s going to be a great experience to be able to share it with family and friends and people I grew up with… take all the pressure off and not get too caught up with how things are going.”

Hodgson has certainly been around his hometown long enough to know that this week will have a tremendous impact.

“I think it’s great. I think Lacombe needed this event and I think the people from out of town need to come and see what Lacombe is all about. I’m ecstatic to have my co-curlers and competitors come and see where I’m from and where I grew up.”

Hodgson was a star multi-sport athlete at Lacombe Composite High School (played senior ‘AAA’ baseball with the Red Deer Riggers) and his curling resume is already pretty darn impressive…

  • Four-time Juvenile Provincial Champion
  • 2007 Canada Winter Games Champion
  • 2008 Provincial and National Junior Champion
  • 2009 ACAC 1st All Star Skip and NAIT Most Valuable Player
  • Won his first World Curling Tour event in 2012 (MNP Charity Classic)

Having done all of that, Hodgson has a burning desire to have similar success at the men’s level.

“We’re certainly hoping to make some noise this week. Having success at the junior level doesn’t necessarily translate to the men’s game. We’re just going to do our best to put some shots together against the big boys and come out with a few big wins this week.”

Hodgson feels having to fight and scrap for their berth into this week’s provincials will serve his team well.

“Pretty much any curler out there will tell you to take the toughest road possible if you know you’re gonna get there. So, we’re happy to have come through the C event as it gave us more games together and got us in that ‘do or die’ mode that we needed coming into this event.”

As for being one of this week’s underdogs, Hodgson says his crew doesn’t mind that one bit. 

Ice conditions at the Lacombe Arena should be absolutely top-notch thanks to the work of head ice make Jamie Bourassa and his crew along with the major upgrades to the arena (complete rebuild of the ice plant and rink floor and boards).

Team Thomas will take on Matthew Blandford’s rink from Calgary, the tournament’s #8 seed, in the opening draw Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. The rest of the draw features Robert Schlender (5) versus Greg Pasichnuk (12), Mark Johnson (6) versus Lloyd Hill (11) and Wade White (7) versus Ted Appleman (10).

The top four seeded teams in Kevin Martin (1), Kevin Koe (2), Jamie Kings (3) and Brendan Bottcher (4) will play the winners from the opening draw Wednesday night at 6:30.

The full draw for this week's tournament is available here.


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