Who's gonna slide, you wild horses?
By Brendan Howe
The Mustang men curlers will be hurrying hard to the OUAA final this weekend short one key team member Heath McCormick.
Western's skip will most likely be unable to attend the final bonspiel of the season at the Highland Golf and Country Club due to another curling commitment a tryout for another team. The second-year team member, one of Western's best curlers, has chosen to end his season with the Mustangs early.
"I'm not going to go, not for all of it at least," McCormick said. "I'm going to a different bonspiel that I think is more important for my future."
With the potential absence of McCormick, the team would have four curlers enter the final and spend the weekend without the usual alternate fifth player. McCormick's decision not to finish the season with the rest of his teammates was not good news for coach Peter McKinley.
"I can't say I'm not disappointed," McKinley said. "We'd be a stronger team if he was there."
McKinley went on to say the situation with the curling team is much like the situation with the rowing team a few years ago when Marnie McBean was on the team. He explained that top-notch athletes such as McBean and McCormick have to go to different levels to improve.
While sympathetic with McCormick's future plans McKinley still wasn't pleased with the skip's decision to put another team in front of Western's.
"Of the five players on the team he's definitely number five on the priority list now," McKinley said.
Shaun Harris, Will Hunter, Mike Hamer and Denis Belanger comprise a team slated to curl this weekend and all hope to pick up the slack with the potential loss of a key curler. The team is confident after winning two matches on the season without McCormick. The squad's final regular-season mark was 5-3.
"Our team will be a little weaker since he's not there but we've played without him before and won," Harris said. "It's just gonna be tougher for us to win, that's all."
While the men's squad prepares to face off against five of the league's best, including teams from RMC and McMaster, the women hope that next season will hurry hard and soon, on the heels of a poor showing at the East sectionals that prevented them from qualifying for this weekend's final.
While the women will be watching, the men, with or without McCormick, will be gunning for gold, trying to bring home the championship crown that has eluded the Mustangs for the last six years.