The 2003 Lower Mainland RCMP curling playdowns were held last weekend at the Gibsons Curling Club.
In all, 16 teams took to the ice for the three-day event and in the end, four teams qualified for the right to represent the Lower Mainland zone at the provincials in Kamloops, Feb. 13 to 16. Of those four teams, one team is local and the squad is no stranger to the pressure of a provincial championship.
The team of Dale Hockley, Gerry Webb, Barry Meyer and Dean Cross won the A-event in Gibsons. Last year, the team won the provincial title and finished fourth at the nationals. The lone member who didn't make the trip was Hockley, who had prior curling engagements.
Webb said the team members are happy they qualified and are looking forward to the provincials.
"I think we're cautiously optimistic," Webb said. "When you're the defending champs, you have a big mark on your back - everyone wants to beat you. We want to make the playoffs and after that see what happens."
A total of 14 teams will compete at the provincials, split into two seven-team divisions playing off in a round-robin format. The top two teams from each division will advance to the playoffs.
The other three teams who qualified in Gibsons included the Bob Lee team based out of Surrey and Langley, the Dick Sather squad and the Reg Reeves rink, both based out of Vancouver.
Webb said the event in Gibsons was first class, a fact that didn't go unnoticed by the curlers.
"All the teams commented on how well the event was organized, the good food and the good curling," Webb said. "It's nice for these teams to come over here for an event of this calibre. It's a road trip for them and they enjoyed the hospitality, not only from the people at the club but from the whole community of Gibsons."