February 6-10 there will be 32 top-notch curling teams to watch, including Virden’s own Team Freeman in the Viterra Men’s Provincial Championships being held in Tundra Oil & Gas Place.
Skip Graham Freeman’s rink qualified with a finalist finish in Carberry at a Manitoba Curling Tour Event in November. They will once again represent Virden in the 2019 Viterra Championship.
The team will play in a couple of local bonspiels in January, as well as the Westman Super League of Curling playoffs. This team has played in the event several times, last year finishing with a 3-2 record and losing a qualifier game to get them into the Championship Round.
Graham and Dwayne have curled together for the better part of 25 years, with Cory joining the team in 1999, and Kevin coming on board about 10 years ago. Brooks has played with them this year and last. The five-man team was the best way to get everyone an opportunity to participate in their hometown provincial, something none of them have ever had the opportunity to do before.
Both Jay Kinnaird (Cory Zdan, Terrance Zalluski and Tyler Strachan) and Steve Warkentin (Jeff Warkentin, Dave Draper, and Jimmy Hay) of Virden will be in Carberry this weekend to play in the regional playdown in hopes of booking their tickets to the Virden Viterra as well. Branden Jorgensen of Cromer will also be at the regional in Carberry, playing with the hometown Kelly Marnoch rink.
In the Dauphin regional to be played this weekend, Mark Robertson of Virden will play with the Jerry Chudley rink from Neepawa, and Brett Heaman of Virden will play with the Travis Gregory rink from Hamiota.
This weekend, Dec. 13-16 at regional playdowns berths 1-18 will be decided at rinks in Charleswood (Winnipeg), Manitou, Gimli, Morris, Dauphin, Carberry, and Thompson.
The remaining berths will be determined as follows or have already been won:
19 - Viterra Spring Bonspiel – Ryan Thomsen Morden Curling Club
20 - Viterra Berth Bonspiel – Corey Chambers Lorette Curling Club
21 - Brandon Men’s Bonspiel with a berth – 1 spot TBD (Jan.12-14, 2019)
22 – Top Manitoba team from the Canadian Team Ranking System 2017-2018 – Jason Gunnlaugson Granite Curling Club
23, 24 – Canadian Team Ranking System 2018-19 – 2 spots TBD
25, 26, 27, 28 - Manitoba Curling Tour (Graham Freeman Virden Curling Club, Riley Smith Fort Rouge Curling Club, Dennis Bohn Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club, Ty Dilello Winnipeg
29, 30, 31 - Manitoba Open – (January 17 – 21, 2019)
32 - Returning Champion – Reid Carruthers West St. Paul Curling Club