Elite curlers gathered from across Alberta to vie for the Boston Pizza Cup during the men’s provincial curling championship in Hinton last week.
Team Sluchinsk won 6-3 against defending champions Team Koe during the championship final at the Bill Thomson Arena on Sunday.
This capped off five days of curling action.
Aaron Sluchinski serves as skip for the victorious Airdrie team that also includes third Jeremy Harty, second Kerr Drummond and lead Dylan Webster.
Team Koe from Calgary was looking to take their third provincial title in a row, but Team Sluchinsk quickly showed it was both willing and able to put up a fierce fight for the title after scoring two in the first end.
Kevin Koe’s team had a hard time keeping up, scoring only one point in the first eight ends, but managed to score two in the ninth.
Sluchinsk sealed the deal, however, with that sixth point in the tenth end.
Team Sluchinsk will go on to represent Alberta at the 2024 Montana's Brier in Regina next month.
Curling Alberta executive director Jill Richard said the provincials saw a strong turnout, particularly in the evenings, although lots of fans could be seen in the stands during the daytime.
“The event has been spectacular. So far, the conditions have been great. The host committee has been amazing to work with, the volunteers have embraced this event completely and we couldn’t be more proud.”
Richard noted the number of tight games, which helped explain the good in-person attendance as well as the high streaming numbers.
“I don’t think we really had many blow outs or games end early at all,” she said.
“Our numbers of the stream have been really impressive as well. People are tuning in from all over the world, really.”
This was the second time that Hinton had hosted the provincials, which not only helped put the town on the map but also served as a fundraiser for the Hinton Curling Club, which had recently had issues with its chiller.
Hinton Curling Club president Duane Wright said the chiller broke down unexpectedly due to a tube fail during the second week of December.
“It’s a lot of money to fix one of those things,” Wright said.
“And we literally just got ice back in this week. The first team to curl on it actually was [Sluchinski]. They were the first team to draw on it since before Christmas.”
Curler enthusiasts had the opportunity to pitch in by purchasing 50/50 tickets each day of the championship, with funds going to help the club with this expense.