The first match of the Meridian Canadian Open, part of the Pinty's Grand Slam of Curling, began at the Gallagher Centre on the night of Jan. 14. On the center sheet, the defending champion Brendan Bottcher, who won last year’s event in North Battleford, kicking off a three-game winning streak. Against him, Ross Paterson from Scotland. The match came down to the final end, with Paterson taking the win 7-5.
Opening the tournament with a win, and a win against the defending champion, is how Paterson wants to start the event.
“I think when you come to events like this it’s always important to get off to a positive start. You’re not guaranteed to win your first game, but I think if you play well it gives you a little bit of momentum to go into the games that follow.”
Playing in the city has been a great time, and Paterson enjoys Grand Slam events because they know it’s going to be excellent ice.
“The ice is great, Mark [Shurek] is a pro. When you come out to Slams you expect to have good ice and it gives the best curlers opportunity to play great curling and make good shots. We’re excited to play the rest of the weekend and hopefully win a few more games.”
The Meridian Canadian Open is a unique tournament, with a triple knockout format, something that Paterson finds exciting, and a departure from most tournaments.
“This Slam is a bit unique compared to all of them because of the triple knockout format, usually you play in pools and the top 8 teams qualify. You’ve got a couple of lifes to keep yourself in the competition. This is the first time I’ve played this particular event, so to stay on the A road is great and we’ll just win as many games as we can.”
Beyond the Grand Slam of Curling, Paterson has his eye on the World Men’s Curling Championship, which will take place in Glasgow this year, but said that with every other rink out of Scotland having their eye on the same prize, it’s not going to be an easy one.
“To play in Glasgow would be a dream come true. That’s my home town, so that’s the goal this year, we want to be there for Scotland and we want to win a medal. But, the strength of the men’s game in Scotland right now is very strong so we know that the national championships will be huge.”
It’s Paterson’s first time in Yorkton, having formed the rink last year, though teammate Michael Goodfellow has played here before.
“We love coming to Canada full stop. This is the coldest place I’ve been to. In Scotland we get a lot of rain but we don’t get it cold. This is a little bit out of our comfort zone but we just put a lot of layers on and we’re fine.”
The Meridian Canadian Open continues all week at the Gallagher Centre, with the final games on Jan. 19.