Friday August 29, 2014

Laycock wins Tankard, sets sights on Brier, future


Saltcoats native Steve Laycock watches as his two sweepers work their magic in a curling game at the 2014 SaskTel Tankard in Shaunavon. The Laycock rink would go on to win the Tankard with a 7-6 victory over Brock Virtue to earn the right to represent Saskatchewan at the 2014 Tim Horton’s Brier in Kamloops, BC.

Steve Laycock might not live in the Yorkton area any longer, but that does not mean he has forgotten about where he grew up.

The successful curler, who will represent Saskatchewan at the 2014 Tim Horton’s Brier in Kamloops, BC, from March 1-9 after defeating Brock Virtue 7-6 at the SaskTel Tankard in Shaunavon on February 2, feels he owes a lot of his success to those from the area that helped him early on in his career.

“There are a few people over the years that have had an impact on my career,” said the Team Saskatchewan skip.  “From my junior high school curling coach Grant Bjornerud who was definitely a big influence and Dennis Pomeroy my high school coach at the YRHS. Barry Fiendel is another person who helped me early on and continued to do so as my coach until recently and for that I thank him.

“Then, being from Saltcoats, I also have to credit Joan McCusker.  To see her success back in the day was definitely inspirational to me and proved that the opportunities were out there. Her winning Olympic gold and bringing it back home definitely motivated me for my career.”

Laycock’s career, which to this point has been fairly successful, still has a very bright future.

Especially when one considers the goals he and his teammates have set for themselves. “Our first goal is to win a Brier,” mentioned Laycock. “We’re working on that right now. After that, though, our minds will be set on qualifying for the 2018 Olympics (in Pyeonchang, South Korea).”

Lofty goals for sure, however, with hard work and determination they are definitely attainable.

At this point, the Laycock rink is ranked 14th overall in the world, but just 11th in Canada. In other words, had Laycock simply been from a different country he wouldn’t be preparing for the Brier. Instead, he’d be competing for a gold medal at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

But the tough competition in Canada does not deter Laycock and company.  Instead, it fuels them. “The depth of curling in Canada is amazing. To have the success that we’ve had already and still be looking up at quite a few good teams that we’d have to overcome yet is a good thing and a bad thing, really.

“It really motivates you to get better, but it also creates some challenges in that it’s that much harder to break through and be that team that goes to the Olympics.”

Although it will be a difficult road to travel to accomplish all their goals, Laycock feels that it’s only a matter of time before he is standing on a podium with a gold medal around his neck. “This team was put together for a reason and that was to win championships,” offered the talented skip, continuing, “ We’ve got our first provincial one, now we’re looking for our first Canadian one and after that it’s Olympics.”



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