$100,000.00 is a serious amount of money.
But, in curling, that doesn't mean there isn't room for a little funny, though, right?
Wisecracks and good-natured barbs filled the room as all-star skips drafted their teammates for this weekend's TSN Dominion All-Star Skins Game to be held at Casino Rama, near Orillia, Ontario. They'll take a run at each other for as much of that hundred large as they can get their velcro-gloved hands on.
"I can play lead, Glenn," cracked vice Pat Simmons, when Glenn Howard stepped to the podium to make his final pick. Only Simmons and lead Steve Gould remained at that point, and Howard had already taken a vice (John Morris, in the first round).
No use. Simmons' fate was sealed. He would be the last pick in this draft, a distinction that each and every one of the 12 draftable all-stars wanted to avoid. The trash-talking had begun long before this night began and will continue through the weekend, undoubtedly.
"I hope my truck is out back," sniped Simmons. No doubt, a joking reference to the fact that NHL players get a vehicle when they're the last one left at hockey's all-star draft. No, Simmons did not get a truck. But, he did get a thousand dollar cheque, in his name, to be donated to The Sandra Schmirler Foundation. Nice touch.
The 30 minute show was more low key than the NHL version, but what would you expect? Most everything done at the NHL level is bells, whistles and hype. Most everything done at the pro curling level is understated and charmingly comfy.
“I know over the years Alberta’s always kicked my butt so I think I’m gonna have another Albertan on my team, said Howard just before he picked Carter Rycroft to be his second. "You can’t beat ‘em, you join ‘em."
Howard and Kevin Martin built their squads from the back end out, with Martin taking jubilant vice Jon Mead first overall.
Jeff Stoughton, picking 4th and 5th overall, decided he wanted front end strength above all else, nabbing lead Nolan Thiessen and second Marc Kennedy.
Kevin Koe, it seemed,was like-minded: He used his first pick, second overall, to pluck super-sweeping lead Ben Hebert from the gaggle of men with brooms.
As the numbers in the still-to-be-chosen pews dwindled to four, it was suggested that maybe Craig Savill, Simmons, Gould and B.J. Neufeld ought to form their own team and seek revenge.
"There's been talk of that," said Savill, whose deadpan is almost as deadly as his tick shot.
In the end, it was decided that, since he picked fourth in round one, Stoughton would get to choose the team he'd face in one of Saturday's semi-finals.
“Pat seems to know Kevin really well," offered Stoughton. Perhaps Simmons will get the last laugh, should he provide the requisite inside information required to upend his usual skip, Koe.
THE TEAMS: All-Star Skins teams that will contest the TSN Dominon Skins, at Casino Rama. Stoughton v Koe, Howard v Martin in semi-final play Saturday. Winners meet in Sunday's final.