Team Morris of Kelowna won the 2017 belairdirect BC Men’s Curling Championship, edging Dean Joanisse of Golden Ears Winter Club 6-3 on Sunday in Abbotsford to advance to the Tim Hortons Brier in St. John’s Newfoundland.
Steals in the third, sixth and seventh ends helped Morris secure the victory.
Morris, a 2010 Olympic Champion, was skip of that team that included Kelowna’s Tyrel Griffith, as well as Vernon’s Jim Cotter and Kelowna’s Rick Sawatsky. The latter two tied the B.C. record for most trips to the Brier.
Cotter and Sawatsky, who first won a B.C. title in 2008, now have seven purple hearts.
They are now tied with Bernie Sparkes, of Vancouver, and Reg and Roy Stone, of Trail, for the most B.C. men’s titles.
Joanisse, a former Canadian junior champion, was playing with third Paul Cseke, of Victoria, as well as the Vancouver duo of Jay Wakefield and John Cullen.
Victoria’s Team Jackson were awarded the bronze medals after an entertaining semi final against Team Joanisse, which went into the extra end. Skip Glen Jackson was too heavy with his final rock, which sailed through the house, leaving a score of four for Joanisse. The final score was 11-7. Team Jackson was rounded out by third Andrew Komlodi, second Corey Chester and lead Joel Cave, all from Victoria.
While did not win the men’s provincial title, his partner of the past nine years, Shannon Aleksic advanced to the national women’s curling championship two weeks ago.
Aleksic, who works for Curl B.C. – curling’s provincial governing body – throws third on Marla Mallett’s team, which won the B.C. women’s provincial championship two weeks ago, and is now headed to the national championship — the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. Catharine’s, Ont.
In 2015 they were teammates at the mixed national championships.
“We loved playing together,” Joanisse said. “It was a lot of fun. We also had a chance to go with two of our very close friends so that made it even that more memorable.”
And competing at respective national curling championships, is kind of how they met.
“True story,” Joanisse said. “I was sitting in a pub in Victoria with a buddy of mine; the Scotties was on the TV and this is when I saw her for the first time.”
The same happened for Aleksic – first time she saw Joanisse was on TV when he was competing at the Brier.
They officially met in person seven months later at a Cashspiel in Kamloops.
Nine years later, they reside in Abbotsford, sharing national championship aspirations.
Aleksic is in the lead.