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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Eight-time champ prepared to defend at provincials


If Frank Labounty had his way, he'd be tossing stones right now at provincials. Instead, he'll have to wait until Friday when the B.C. Wheelchair Curling championship gets underway at the Coquitlam Curling Club.

The eight-time B.C. champ, who plays out of the Prince George Golf and Curling Club, is making his 10th appearance at provincials.

Labounty, 47, is the lone Prince George curler at provincials and will play third on a team that includes skip Darryl Neighbour, second Vince Miele and lead Alison Duddy from Quesnel. The rink has only practised together twice, but Labounty credits playing five days a week in three leagues - seniors, Friday night mixed, and doubles - at the PGGCC where he plays skip, for preparing for next weekend.

"The calibre of league play keeps me sharp against older players who've played for 30 to 40 years," he said. "It gives you a lot of experience, and we always play better when the pressure is on." His rink, which only added one new player to the mix, is one of three competing at B.C.'s. Its goal is to win provincials and advance to nationals in Boucherville, Quebec in late April. The team won silver at the 2013 nationals.

Labounty's teams takes to the ice Saturday at 9 a.m. against Gerry Austgarden and then at 2 p.m. against Bob MacDonald. The top-two teams will advance to the playoffs with the final slated for 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

"The level of play at provincials has improved over the last few years," Labounty said. "The weight of the shot has to be on and calling the right ice has to be perfect. We play the same rules [as able-bodied curlers] and the strategy is the same."

Labounty only took up the game 10 years ago after he was hurt in a logging accident in 1998. Curling has given the father of three his life back.

"It's given me freedom and independence," he said. "The social part is big, but once you get to a certain level, and make some nice shots, you become more competitive," he said.

1 comment:

Glitter said...

Good Luck from Nova Scotia