Dave Boehmer’s preparation isn’t different as he and his Petersfield Curling Club team heads back to the Canadian senior men’s curling championship, but the mindset sure is.
The 53-year-old skip is already thinking way ahead, too.
“Last year, everybody was pretty excited to represent Manitoba,” Boehmer told The Selkirk Journal. “I think our goals are a little different this year having been there. This time we’re trying to win it all and bring home a Canadian championship — and have another fundraiser for the worlds.”
Boehmer, third Terry McRae of Clandeboye, second Tom Want of St. Andrews and lead George Hacking of Selkirk booked their spot into the 14-team national field by going through provincials with a perfect 9-0 record in Rivers in late February. The Petersfield foursome knocked off Butch Mouck of Gilbert Plains 7-1 in the final to earn a repeat trip to play for a Canadian title.
Last year in Stratford, Ont., Boehmer and company finished with a 6-4 record — one win shy of earning a tiebreaker with eventual finalist Terry Odishaw of New Brunswick.
Manitoba started the week with two straight losses, including an 8-6 setback against Glen Hudy of the Northwest Territories, before rebounding with six wins over their next seven games. Two of those wins came against New Brunswick and eventual champion Bryan Cochrane of Ontario.
Northern Ontario’s Al Hackner got the better of Manitoba — scoring four in the sixth end en route to an 8-4 victory — in the final draw of championship pool games to secure the top spot and keep Boehmer from a tiebreaker.
“Last year, when it was all over, we were disappointed. Manitoba is always supposed to make the playoffs — usually,” Boehmer said. “The first thing we all thought was how do we get back here just so we can try this again? We lost some games that we shouldn’t have and we beat the two teams that were in the final: Ontario and New Brunswick.”
This time, however, Boehmer has his eyes on the top prize as the team heads west to Chilliwack, B.C.
“We definitely know that we can compete and there’s a really good chance to win it all,” he said.
“I’d be really disappointed if we didn’t make the playoffs this year,” Boehmer added. “We just need to win the games we are supposed to and do our best. You are playing the top teams and hopefully coming out on the right end.”
He also likes the five-rock rule that was implemented this season.
“I think it definitely benefits us. I’ve always liked to play with rocks,” he said. “I don’t like the clean stuff and I always just try and keep going after teams. It’s just the way I’ve always played … mix it up and put the pressure on when you are up.”
Half of the 14 teams in Chilliwack were in Stratford last year, including Boehmer, Cochrane, Hackner and Hudy.
Manitoba is grouped with Alberta (Wade White), Quebec (Francois Roberge), Nova Scotia (Brent MacDougall), Newfoundland and Labrador (Gary Oke), Prince Edward Island (Phil Gorveatt) and the Northwest Territories in Pool B play.
The top four teams advance to the championship round with the top four from Pool A. After playing games against the four teams from the other pool, the top four teams will qualify for the playoffs at nationals, which runs from March 22 to 28.
The winner will represent Canada at senior worlds in Stavanger, Norway from April 20 to 27.