A team of curlers from Hay River has captured gold at the Canada 55+ Games, held from Aug. 16 to 19 in Ontario.
And that was despite the fact the mixed team does not really play together.
“It’s not a team that I play with a lot,” said skip Paul Delorey, noting he has curled with all the members of the team but not extensively. “We put the team together specifically for that 55+ Games.”
They were victorious in a six-team tournament featuring other teams from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia.
Along with Paul Delorey, the team consisted of Davida Delorey, Judy Goucher and Noel Demarcke.
They had a really good week of curling at the games held in Brampton, Ont., said Paul Delorey. “We kind of got on a roll and come out of it with the gold medal.”
The Hay River team lost its first game to Ontario.
“And then we won four in a row after that. We beat the rest of the field,” Delorey said. “And so that put us in second place for the playoffs and then we ended up playing Ontario again, because Ontario went undefeated in round robin. We ended up playing Ontario in the gold medal game, and we beat them in the final.”
That game finished after seven ends with a score of 7-3.
Delorey was pleased to win the gold.
“Although there were only six provinces represented in the mixed side of it, everyone there wanted to win the gold,” he said. “We came away with it, so it was pretty satisfying for us.”
And he said the level of play was excellent.
Delorey said it took a little while for his team to get used to being back on the ice and struggled in its first game against Ontario.
“Of course, none of us had been on the ice for two or three months because of the summer holidays, so it took us a little while to get our balance and get the kinks worked out but by day two we were on a roll and we did awesome,” he said.
Delorey was at his second Canada 55+ Games, having played two years ago with a men’s curling team in Sherwood Park, Alta.
Demarcke, who was the second on this year’s team, also was impressed with the quality of play.
In fact, he said Team Ontario had to play more than 60 games just to make it to the Canada 55+ Games.
It was the first time for Demarcke at the Canada 55+ Games.
“I thought it was a lot of fun,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect when we went there but everything turned out really good and I think we shocked the heck out of everybody.”
And he said winning the gold was very exciting.
Demarcke also said Hay River received a lot of support in Ontario because people realized they came from a small town and had travelled a long way.
“I think we had everybody cheering for us in the final game, for sure,” he said.
The Canada 55+ Games are held every two years.
The NWT – represented by 47 competitors – won a total of 21 medals in seven sports at this year’s event.
There were more than 1,100 participants from across the country.
The next Canada 55+ Games are set for Saint John, N.B.
– Paul Bickford with files from James McCarthy