IT’S A dream that finally came true for Bill Peloza. At age 55, he will get to play for a national championship for the first time in his career after winning a coveted ‘heart’ as a provincial qualifier.
Peloza is the lead on the Mike Desilets rink that will represent Northern Ontario at Canadian Senior Championships set for Portage La Prairie, Man., March 16-22.
Desilets and his Fort William Curling Club rink with Scott Henderson at third and Dale Wiersema at second won the provincial title at the eight-team competition in Sturgeon Falls as Desilets defeated Ron Rosengren 7-4 in an all Thunder Bay final on Sunday.
“It means the world to me,” said Peloza noting he is thrilled and relieved at same time.
“To finally prove to others and more importantly to yourself that you could perform and win when it really counted and that you belong,” said the veteran lead who came close to winning a heart a number of times.
Peloza was on the Bill Adams rink with Henderson and Wiersema that lost to Al Hackner for a trip to the Brier in 2001. Then three years ago, he was on Henderson’s squad with his twin brother Andy and Mike Pozihun that finished runner-up to Sudbury’s Rob Gordon at the Senior Provincials in Iroquois Falls.
“You almost fear getting to another final for fear of not getting it done — and more hurt, disappointment and reflection,” added Peloza, finally getting a grasp on a heart after 35 years of curling.
Rosengren and his Port Arthur Curling Club rink of Gary Maunula, Ken Sundell and Dave Scholz finished first in round robin play and earned a bye to the final with a 6-1 record. However, their only loss was to Desilets who earned second place and a berth in the semi-final with a 5-2 mark and then advanced to the final eliminating perennial contender Gordon.
“Hats off to the Ron Rosengren team who had a tremendous week,” Desilets is quoted in a Facebook post after winning was a see-saw battle in the championship game.
“(It) was a test of character for our team. We were up two after two (ends), then down two after four and pulled out the win with a great second half,” said Desilets giving respect to his opponents.
“Look forward to the nationals with my good friends” said the rookie senior skip who last played for a national championship at the 2003 Brier in Halifax as the second for Henderson who skipped Northern Ontario that year.
Major League Windup
Dylan Johnston is out to win the Tbaytel Major League of Curling title this year skipping his own team
Johnston will get a chance to do just that with his rink of Oye Sem Won-Briand, Chris Briand and Kurtis Byrd on Saturday at the Port Arthur Curling Club as the Thunder Bay competitive league wraps up its season with playoffs on Saturday.
All 14-teams are involved, with the top seven teams from the round robin playing in the championship round for the Tbaytel title while the bottom seven teams will challenge for the consolation crown. There are cash awards on both sides of the draw.