The inaugural SGI Best of the West curling competition, presented by SaskMilk, is the brainchild of three young competitive curlers on a specific mission. The first ever spiel of its kind in Western Canada goes Friday through Sunday, April 22-24, at Saskatoon’s Nutana Curling Club.
Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone, Saskatoon’s Rylan Kleiter, and CurlSask’s Dustin Mikush, originally from Wadena, have long sought to craft a platform for under 30 curlers to compete with entrants from across Western Canada. This weekend's action will feature the best U30 female, male, and doubles teams from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia.
“Over the last sixteen months, Matt, Rylan, and I have wanted to help find a way to close the gap between the U20 and Elite Men’s and Women’s level by creating more opportunities for our rising stars of the game,” said Dustin Mikush, who is the event chair. “Our main goal for the SGI CANADA Best of the West is to help aid in these young athletes' development by providing opportunities to compete against the best U30 Western teams and by providing increased exposure for the teams through professional live streaming.”
Also serving as event chair is Matt Dunstone, fresh off a four year run with his Saskatchewan teammates.
“I think it is awesome that we have an opportunity for our younger Canadian curling stars in the Western side of our country to show off their sponsors and give themselves a chance to represent their province at the exact same time,” said Dunstone.
Eight men’s teams, eight women’s teams, and eight doubles teams will make their way to Saskatoon to play for the total event purse of $38,750. The eight teams in each division will be split into two pools of four teams and will play three round robin games. The top two teams in Pool A and Pool B will advance to the Semi-Finals, followed by a Championship Final. The Men’s and Ladies Champions will each win $10,000 and the Doubles Champions will win $5,000.
The SGI CANADA Best of the West will see Provincial, Canadian and World Champions battle it out for the $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.
Teams are listed in order of skip, third, second, lead, and coach:
MEN’S POOL A
- Manitoba 1, Colton Lott (Kyle Doering, Tanner Lott, Emerson Klimpke; Winnipeg)
- Alberta 2, Jeremy Harty (Kyler Kleibrink, Joshua Kiist, Kurtis Goller, Shannon Kleibrink; Calgary)
- Saskatchewan 1, Rylan Kleiter (Joshua Mattern, Trevor Johnson, Mattieu Taillon, Dean Kleiter; Saskatoon)
- British Columbia 2, McCrady (Alex Horvath, Brayden Carpenter, Logan Miron, Will Sutton; New Westminster)
MEN’S POOL B
- British Columbia 1, Tyler Tardi (Sterling Middleton, Jason Ginter, Jordan Tardi, Paul Tardi; Langley)
- Alberta 1, Karsten Sturmay (Tristan Steinke, Chris Kennedy, Glenn Venance; Edmonton)
- Manitoba 2, Braden Calvert (Kyle Kurz, Lucas Van Den Bosch, Rob Gordon, Ian McMillan; Winnipeg)
- Saskatchewan 2, Brady Scharback (Brayden Stewart, Dustin Mikush, Jared Latos, Shaun Meachem; Saskatoon)
WOMEN’S POOL A
- Manitoba 1, Mackenzie Zacharias (Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias, Lauren Lenentine, Sheldon Zacharias; Altona)
- Saskatchewan 1, Kourtney Fesser (Krista Fesser, Karlee Korchinski, Kaylin Skinner; Saskatoon)
- British Columbia 2, Kayla McMillian (Lindsay Dubue, Kalia Mackenzie, Sarah Loken, Katie Witt; Vancouver)
- Alberta 2, Marla Sherrer (Chantele Broderson, Jule Selvais, Sarah Drummond, Brad Hamilton; Lacombe)
WOMEN’S POOL B
- British Columbia 1, Corryn Brown (Erin Pincott, Rachel Erickson, Samantha Fisher, Alison MacInnes; Kamloops)
- Manitoba 2, Beth Peterson (Laura Burtnyk, Katherine Doerksen, Melissa Gordon, Jenna Loder; Winnipeg)
- Alberta 1, Kayla Skrlik (Selena Sturmay, Brittany Tran, Aston Skrlik, Geri-Lynn Ramsey; Calgary)
- Saskatchewan 2, Lorraine Schneider (Jenn Armstrong, Ashley Williamson, Amanda Kuzyk; Regina)
- Alberta, Evan Van Amsterdam and Gregg Hamilton
- British Columbia, Daniel Wenzek and Nicholas Meister
- Saskatchewan, Sam Wills and Garret Springer
- Manitoba, Jacques Gautier and Ryan Wiebe
- Alberta, Kelsey Rocque and Danielle Schmiemann
- British Columbia, Taylor Reese-Hansen and Cierra Fisher
- Saskatchewan, Chaelynn Kitz and Madison Kleiter
- Manitoba, Tansy Tober and Stephanie Feeleus
It will be a different kind of fan experience for those who attend, says Rylan Kleiter, the event’s third chair.
“To accompany the elite curling athletes that will be competing at the SGI CANADA Best of the West, we are aiming to create a new atmosphere that curling fans have been waiting for. We will have an on-ice lounge with tall tables and chairs. The lounge will be located right beside the feature game which will allow the spectators to enjoy food and beverages and take in high level curling. We feel that the sport of curling is ready for energetic crowds and we want to create an atmosphere where fans feel a part of the game. Not only will the spectators love this, but the athletes will love feeling the energy from the crowd.”
Streaming services for the event are provided by IKS Live and are available through the YouTube Channels of Curling Canada and Curling Zone.