Barker, Ackerman rinks honoured
Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre unveils banners during Champions Dinner
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.”