Back on January 8th, Brett and his team (third Jason Whitehill of Peterborough, second Scott Dow of Fergus and lead Brett Spier of Omemee) defeated Richard Krell 7-4 to claim the Ontario junior men’s championship. And in doing so, booked their place at National’s in Napanee on February 4-12.
“The feeling that I had when I threw my rock to win the provincial was surreal,” said the second year Business student. “The feelings of excitement and happiness don’t sink in right away. It wasn’t until I got off the ice did I realize what we had done and where we were going.”
Heading into the provincial championships, Brett and his team really hadn’t competed a lot together. People have said that it was unexpected that Brett’s rink won, but he doesn’t see it that way.
“Winning provincials was more like a pleasant surprise. We knew we had the talent to win, but didn’t know if we put in enough time together. My team didn’t play a busy schedule like most Ontario junior curling teams do. We played in two junior cashspiels and never had team practice until the day before the Provincial. In total, we have played 23 games together as a team.”
There may not have been much experience on the ice. But in the coach’s box they had plenty. Brett’s father, Peter DeKoning, is an excellent curler in his own right. And having him as a coach went a long way in helping Brett’s team succeed.
“My family has helped me tremendously in curling. Whether it is technical, strategy, or just getting me to curling clubs, my parents have had a huge impact on my curling. I was fortunate to start curling a young age with lots of support from my Mom and Dad. I would say specifically watching my dad play in the 2002 and 2003 Ontario Men’s Provincials really sparked my interest in competitive curling.”
Having never faced any of his competition before, Brett heads into Nationals blind. Playing on the National stage is a nerve racking experience. And the best way to cope with nerves is to do what got you there. Keep things simple,
“I’m a little nervous about Nationals. However I think nerves can be expected when you’re representing your home province in a Canadian Championship. I have a lot of confidence in my team and the way we played in Provincials.”
The junior men’s National championship is quite the event, but Brett has his sights set on an even bigger one.
“Competing in the Brier is the dream of so many competitive curlers. Hopefully one day I’ll have that chance.”
The way that Brett has progressed in the sport so far in his young career, a goal like the Brier is certainly within reach.