Smithers native Ken Maskiewich in action.

Smithers native Ken Maskiewich in action.

Smithers native to curl in Brier

Smithers native Ken Maskiewich had all but given up on his dream when, in an unexpected way, it’s come true. Starting this coming weekend, he will curl in his first Brier in London, Ontario. Maskiewich will represent B.C. at the 2011 Tim Hortons Brier.

After spending years coming close, Maskiewich and his wife Jody decided to focus on her curling game – both husband and wife have competed in the B.C. Championships three times each in recent years. This year, the couple focused on Jody’s curling, and Ken thought he’d be supporting her from home, taking care of their children.

“It was just too much for both of us to play competitively,” he said. “I didn’t play competitively this year at all.”

Until October, when Jim Cotter from the Bob Ursel rink called, looking for someone to fill in after Ursel stepped down temporarily due to an injury. Cotter took over as skip, and Ken filled in as the team’s third in competitions in October and December. Ken was asked to stick around, and after winning the B.C. Provincials in February, he was off to the Brier with the very team that had kept him from reaching that competition in the past.

In 2008, while playing for Greg McAuley’s rink, Ken was beaten by Ursel and Cotter in the final.

“We butted heads for the last four years or so,” said Maskiewich.

However, the new rink has been a natural fit, with Ken calling it a “seamless transition.”

Familiarity may be an advantage at the Brier as well, as Maskiewich and the rest of the Cotter rink have faced several of their competitors in the past.

“We’ve played most of these teams in the big Slam events before,” he said.

Although  Maskiewich lives in the Lower Mainland, he said he still appreciates the support from curling fans and athletes in his hometown, where he learned the sport and competed at the junior level.

“I have a lot of very close friends and family in Smithers,” he said. “It’s still my home.”