© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Joel Jordison, third for the Steve Laycock foursome, delivers a stone Friday at the Sask. Players Association's Curling Tour championship.
Joel Jordison’s desire to win the Tankard hasn’t waned any.
But that ambition isn’t keeping him up at night anymore either.
Jordison and the rest of Steve Laycock’s Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre rink may enter the SaskTel Tankard men’s curling championship as the favourites, but Jordison isn’t feeling any pressure. In fact this season has been a refreshing change of pace.
“For myself, there’s less pressure actually,” said Jordison. “I don’t know if they feel there’s pressure or not. We haven’t really talked about it, but for myself I’m completely laid back. I want to win as bad as I ever have, but whatever pressure you put on yourself is self-inflicted.
“It’s been like that for me all year. Playing third this year has been a really nice step back. A guy sleeps good at night — the pressure is just off.”
Laycock — along with front end Brennen Jones and Dallan Muyres — won the Tankard a year ago with Pat Simmons. With Simmons curling with Kevin Koe in Alberta, Laycock enters play today in Assiniboia as the front-runner.
Jordison skipped his rink to a Tankard title in 2009 and is enjoying his first season as a third in more than a decade. He feels more relaxed without the stress of calling the game on his shoulders.
“It’s been one of my better years to be honest,” he said. “Not to say that I’m not still trying to help Steve out as much as I can. I told him: ‘whatever you need I’m here for you’, but he’s handled the team very well this year.
“It’s been a treat stepping back and doing this.”
The Laycock rink has had their ups and downs this season as they have tried to become a cohesive unit.
They sit 17th on the World Curling Tour and recently posted a 2-3 record as they failed to qualify at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites National in Dawson Creek, B.C. Though their losses came to eventual champion Glenn Howard, defending Brier and world champion Jeff Stoughton and former Olympic champion Brad Gushue, Jordison made no excuses.
“We played OK. We just never put together a full game as a team,” said Jordison. “You have to play your best to qualify at those events — and we didn’t. We played good, just not good enough to qualify.
“I think we played well enough that gives us a good feeling going into provincials.”
Laycock’s rink will be joined by fellow Moose Jaw rink Mark Herbert.
There field is full of rinks with local ties.
Local former junior champion Brock Montgomery is throwing lead stones with 2010 Tankard winner Darrell McKee out of Saskatoon. That rink is coached by Moose Jaw’s Roger Anholt.
The rest of Montgomery’s 2000 junior title winners — Brent Gedak, Derek Owens and Malcolm Vanstone — have their own rink out of Estevan with John Aston.
The rest of Jordison’s 2009 Tankard winning team — Scott Bitz, Aryn Schmidt and Dean Hicke — are all together and playing with third Mark Lang out of the Regina Callie.
Moose Jaw’s Dane Roy is also the second on Justin Mihalicz Regina Highland rink that is coached by Dwayne Mihalicz.
Gedak will meet Jamie Schneider from the Regina Tartan in today’s first draw at 3 p.m. at the Assiniboia Curling Club. Laycock will face Jason Krupski from Whitewood in the early draw.
In the late draw Herbert will open against Randy Bryden from the Regina Callie.