Nova Scotia provincial curling champions are heading to the 2013 Tim Horton's Brier in Alberta to represent not only the province, but their home club, Lakeshore Curling Club in Lower Sackville.
Although three of the four members of Team Flemming have competed in Briers' in the past, this is the first time they will be going together as a team. Vice skip Ian Fitzner-Leblanc said curlers can spend a lot of time putting together 'super teams'. He said his team all get along and work well together.
"I think we've found the right dynamic," said Fitzner-Leblanc. "We genuinely root for each other."
The curlers won the provincial title just weeks ago and now they are practising hard to get ready for Edmonton where they will be competing with 12 of the best teams in the country. Fitzner-Leblanc said they are familiar with most of the teams and have played with many of them before. He also said that although there will be teams favoured to win, there are never any guarantees because all of the teams are the best in their province and it will be a strong field.
"You have to look at Ontario because they are the defending champs," said Fitzner-Leblanc. "We also also have to look at Alberta who will be the favourite with the hometown crowd; but we know what we're getting into."
Ice conditions can be the difference between winning and losing in curling. Because the ice at championship games like the Brier is so perfect it's hard to duplicate, but in Sackville Team Flemming has nothing to worry about. They have found the best ice for them at the Lakeshore Curling Club.
"It can be challenging to find good ice," said Fitzner-Leblanc. "But Brian (Rafuse, the ice technician) spends extra time making good ice and not just for us. The team that came in second behind us at the provincials are also out of this club."
A group of well wishers held a big bang send off for Team Flemming at the Lakeshore Curling Club in Sackville on Feb. 24.
The Brier is being held at the Rexall Place — home of the Edmonton Oilers — from March 2 to 10. It will be televised on TSN. The winning team will represent Canada at the Worlds in British Columbia beginning on March 30.