The city zone playdowns are under way at the Sherwood Park Curling Club for St. Albert skips Jamie King and Mike Hutchings.
In the 12-team draw King is seeded fourth and Hutchings is fifth. The top seed is Kevin Koe, the 2007 provincial finalist who finished fourth overall at the Roar of the Rings with a 4-3 record.
Six berths are up for grabs for the Jan. 14 to 17 northerns at Wetaskiwin. There is no last chance spiel for teams eliminated at zones that hope to gain a spot at northerns.
The zone qualifiers go today at 8 a.m. (A event) and 4 p.m. (B event) and Sunday at 1 p.m. (C event).
King, the four-time reigning St. Albert men’s club champion, curls with third Glen Kennedy, a St. Albert Curling Club product, newcomer Dustin Eckstrand (former junior provincial champion) at second and lead Todd Brick.
At the 2009 provincials, King’s rink — with Blayne Iskiw at third and the front end of Kennedy and Brick — was eliminated in the C semifinals.
The line-up for Hutchings, the St. Albert men’s bonspiel winner in 2008 and 2009, includes Kevin Skarban (last rock thrower), second Brian McPherson and lead Derek Skarban. In the Edmonton super league they rank at the bottom of the 18-team standings at 2-8. In their first trip to provincials they finished 1-3 in 2009.
Hutchings, a Bellerose Composite High School teacher, was the 1999 Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association champion representing Morinville Community High School.
The 2010 provincials run Feb. 3 to 7 in Olds. King was the provincial finalist in 2003 and 2005.
The Brier is March 6 to 14 at Halifax, N.S.
The Team Canada rink skipped by Kevin Martin, with St. Albert product Marc Kennedy at second, is guaranteed a berth at provincials but is expected to bypass the competition to focus on the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which start Feb. 12. The Martin foursome is the three-time defending provincial champion, Brier winners in 2008 and 2009 and at worlds won gold in 2008 and settled for silver in 2009.
The last game for the St. Albert Slash before the Mac’s tournament at Calgary over the Christmas holidays is Sunday versus the Calgary Flyers. Face-off is 11:30 a.m. at Performance Arena.
In the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League, the Slash (10-7-5) are third in the north and the Flyers (16-3-2) are first in the south.
The Slash are led offensively by Jessica Kampjes (10-13-23 in 22 games), Melissa Kueber (9-9-18 in 17 games) and Taryn McCormick (11-5-16 in 20 games).