When it comes to curling at the national level, wins have been hard to come by for Nunavut.
But when they come, it’s a big deal and it was a big deal for Peter Mackey and his rink from the Iqaluit Curling Club.
Mackey, Geneva Chislett, Jeff Nadeau and Robyn Mackey did what no other team has done at the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship in several years: hit the win column. They defeated B.C. on Monday afternoon, 6-4, to become the first mixed outfit to find success since Ed McDonald’s rink won at the 2016 event.
In the post-match scrum, Peter Mackey was understandably excited.
“We’ve come close before and lost it after the first four ends and then got blown out, so that was in our mind,” he said.
Nunavut had lost its first two games to Quebec and New Brunswick on Sunday, but started out in the best way possible on Monday afternoon. They stole three points in the opening end, followed by steals of one in the second and third ends to jump out to a 5-0 lead.
“We got rocks in and he was trying to hit and roll in on a couple and was just wide and ticked ours,” said Mackey about the first end steal. “I threw another one down on my shot and on his last shot? He had a shot, a hit and roll in, but was just wide.”
B.C. got two of those points back with last rock in the fourth to cut the deficit to 5-2. Mackey scored a single in the fifth end to go back up, 6-2, but B.C. scored a single in the sixth and stole another in the seventh to get it to 6-4. But Mackey and company were able to run B.C. out of rocks in the eighth and final end to seal a famous win.
“After the fourth end, we were saying ‘take it easy, relax’ and what we did instead of doing what we’ve done before, which is try to hit everything, we said ‘let’s play a draw game, let’s get our rocks in there and make some shots.’,” said Mackey.
As for what was working? Mackey said it came down to draw weight.
“So we didn’t have to hit,” he said. “As long as our draw weight kept working, which it did over the next four ends, we were fine.”
It was celebration time following the win — the foursome don’t play until the afternoon on Tuesday and were planning on doing a bit of partying.
Keeping it in check, of course.
“We’re going to celebrate in our normal Nunavut style with several drinks, enjoy our company and celebrate with anyone else who wants to celebrate,” said Mackey.