Simmons focuses on Olympic Trials

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Katie Brickman
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Looking back on a year of success for Koe rink

Pat Simmons watches his stone, while Nolan Thiessen, left, and Carter Rycroft sweep at the Capital One Canada Cup of Curling at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw.

It has been a successful year for Pat Simmons and his teammates on the Kevin Koe rink. The Calgary-based squad has had their share of great successes this season and they hope to continue that into the new year.

“It has been a good, consistent year so far. It is nice to win a few events; nice to win three of the five biggest events. We played pretty well in everything, which is good. We can’t complain about the start of the year.  We knew it was a big year, point wise, but we tried not to focus on that,” stated Simmons.

Simmons joined the Koe team in September 2011 and the chemistry between Koe, Carter Rycroft and Nolan Thiessen has been seen throughout each event they have attended. Although Simmons was the “new guy” after coming into the third position after Blake MacDonald retired, the team has bonded and their personalities are similar.

 “I think it helped that three of them were together. It wasn’t a complete overhaul. In some ways it feels like it has been quick and some ways it hasn’t. It took a good year for me to feel fully comfortable. That’s what our coach said — just because it is a good team on paper, don’t think that things are going to come naturally right away and he was right,” Simmons explained. “It is a nice mix of personalities. I think before with Blake had a different mix and different personalities. Where, with me, I think I am more like Kevin. It has been good.”

Simmons also feels his experience in skipping his own team has give Koe another perspective and allows him an extra voice if he needs it.

“We work together and I think I bring an understanding. When I was skipping, I liked to hear stuff and I try to bring that too because it made the transition easier,” he said. “It worked well in terms of knowing what to say and when to say it and also give him some space and let him make a first judgment or scan the situation as far as tactics are concerned.”

The Koe rink lost in a tiebreaker to Mike McEwen at the Capital One Curling Cup of Canada earlier this month. It was a tough loss for the team that was just coming off a win at the Masters Grand Slam of Curling in Brantford, Ont. prior to coming to Moose Jaw.

Curling at home was a highlight for Simmons, but getting that Slam win was a long awaited victory.

“That was great, but winning a Slam. They had lost the last six times and I have lost a couple finals before and we have played in those since 2003-04. So winning one of those was pretty cool,” he said.

For more on this story, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.

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