Barker, Ack­er­man rinks hon­oured

Moose Jaw Ford Curl­ing Cen­tre un­veils ban­ners dur­ing Cham­pi­ons Din­ner

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - SPORTS - RANDY PALMER

most im­prob­a­ble pro­vin­cial vic­to­ries in the his­tory of the tour­na­ment.

Even now it seems sur­real to Barker and her rink of third Deanna Doig, sec­ond Lor­raine Sch­nei­der and lead Danielle Sicin­ski.

All those fan­tas­tic mem­o­ries were brought to the fore­front on Thurs­day night dur­ing the curl­ing cen­tre’s an­nual Cham­pion’s Din­ner. The event also hon­oured the Sky­lar Ack­er­man rink for their pro­vin­cial high school mixed curl­ing ti­tle.

“We had to win a tiebreaker just to get into the play­offs at provin­cials and ev­ery­thing from that point for­ward just seemed to work so well for us,” Barker said with a tone of amaze­ment af­ter the two rinks had their cham­pi­onship ban­ners un­veiled. “We had a great run and even tonight when (coach) Merv (Fonger) was talk­ing, it brought back the mem­o­ries and the ex­pe­ri­ence of win­ning, walk­ing down the ice when you’re cham­pi­ons.

What a great sea­son to look back on, but I’m re­ally ex­cited for what’s to come.”

The event was filled with plenty of mem­o­ries from last sea­son and in­cluded an in­spi­ra­tional talk from Fonger high­light­ing the spe­cial qual­i­ties from his many cham­pi­onship teams over the year.

“This is fan­tas­tic,” Barker said. “I’ve been to the din­ner be­fore but it was more from the club level. It was re­ally nice to be part of this and to hear what Merv had to say. He’s been a real in­spi­ra­tion to us and a lot of play­ers in Moose Jaw and Saskatchewan.

It was re­ally nice for him to say some words about my dad (Leon Roy) as well. My dad has coached us for nu­mer­ous years and wasn’t able to come to provin­cials with us this year. He’s done a lot of work with us and de­serves credit as well.”

Fonger opened his speech by ac­knowl­edg­ing Roy, whose work with the Barker four­some was crit­i­cal to their pro­vin­cial suc­cess. Run­ning the fam­ily farm ran counter to coach­ing late in the curl­ing sea­son, though, set­ting the stage for Fonger to step in with his fa­mil­iar charges.

For Ack­er­man, be­ing a part of the whole spec­ta­cle was a spe­cial ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It’s a re­ally great ex­pe­ri­ence, I’m so happy right now… it’s re­ally awe­some,” said Ack­er­man, who won the mixed ti­tle along­side fel­low Pea­cock com­peti­tors Ja­cob Rad­wan­ski, Ha­ley Spencer, Devyn Kitts, Ha­ley Rosso, Dayan Perry and coach Donna Ack­er­man. “The whole curl­ing club did a re­ally great job and I couldn’t thank them enough.”

Hav­ing a chance to be along­side Barker only added to the ex­pe­ri­ence, much as it did for Barker — then Penny Roy — back when Cindy Street went on her pro­vin­cial Scot­ties run.

“I re­ally look up to her, she’s a role model and I def­i­nitely hope to have a chance to play at that level in the fu­ture,” Ack­er­man said.

For Barker — who cel­e­brated the birth of son Luke with hus­band Kelly a few weeks ago — it’s now time to get back to work and chase a re­peat cham­pi­onship has the hunted in­stead of the hunter.

“That’s the thing about Saskatchewan, there are so many good teams,” Barker said. “There’s been a lot of teams that have the op­por­tu­nity to com­pete for the green jacket and ev­ery year is a new year. There are a lot of teams with tar­gets on their backs; we are de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons but there’s a lot of work to do to re­peat. Ev­ery­one knows that ev­ery year.

“So you have to do what you do, work hard and prac­tice, prac­tice, prac­tice to get back to where you were at the Scot­ties.”

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