A lot was riding on the line for the Jeff Hartung team at the tour finale in Wadena. A successful weekend meant that they could earn a direct entry to the SaskTel Tankard starting January 29th, 2014 in Shaunavon. The team earned 7 SCT points on Sunday night with their appearance in the final against Scott Bitz. This proved to be good enough to win the ‘wild card’ berth based on their combined points earned on both the WCT and SCT tours. Jeff plays with sons Kody and Tyler as well as Clare DeCock.
Avoiding a region and northern playdown is always preferential, particularly when a 700 km drive from Langenburg to Meadow Lake is involved. Most importantly, without the direct entry berth, the Hartung team would have had to withdraw from the Men’s playdowns completely as Jeff is coach of the Tyler Hartung Junior Men’s team. The M&M Junior National Championships in Nova Scotia overlaps directly with the SaskTel Northern playdowns in Meadow Lake as the Juniors curl from January 18th -26th. They will arrive home in time to change suitcases before heading to Shaunavon. One 575 km drive to Shaunavon for the Tankard will be just perfect.
Other teams that have already booked their tickets to Shaunavon include Darrell McKee, Brock Virtue, Scott Bitz, Kevin Marsh and Steven Laycock. Bitz, as the SCT Players Champion, Virtue and Laycock with CTRS points and McKee and Marsh with SCT points do not have to participate in Region or North/South playdowns.
For the rest of those curlers still vying to represent Saskatchewan at the Kamloops Brier, Region playdowns will be held throughout the province from January 10-12th, 2014. Those winners will advance to either the North in Meadow Lake or the South in Regina at the Highland from January 16-19 where the remaining 10 teams will be determined for the Tankard.
The SaskTel Tankard begins play January 29th in Shaunavon at the Crescent Point Wickenheiser Centre with the Champion being declared Sunday afternoon, February 2nd, 2014.