Sluchinski rink ready for provincial championships

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With powerhouse Kevin Koe heading to the Olympics, Airdrie’s Aaron Sluchinski is hoping this is the year he finally wins a provincial championship at the 2018 Alberta Boston Pizza Cup.

Heading into his sixth time competing at the event, fourth as skip, Sluchinski said the experienced team has higher expectations.

“…We will undoubtedly have some nerves for the first couple of ends of game one until we get settled in,” Sluchinski said in an email to the Airdrie City View.

“We definitely believe we have the talent level to finish first.”

As a skip, Sluchinski has experienced some success at the Alberta provincial championship – placing fourth twice, in 2015 and 2017, and third in 2013. This year’s event will be different from prior ones, as the team qualified as the highest-ranked Alberta team in the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) after Kevin Koe and Brendan Bottcher.

“Winning the provincial championship this year is the only result that we will feel good about,” Sluchinski said. “We have been close before, but we really think we can do it this year.

“We have had our best season this year and if we can keep playing well, I like our chances.”

As the team qualified as the CTRS representative, and thanks to its previous success at the tournament, the Sluchinski rink was ranked in the top four and received a first-round bye for the first time.

The rink’s confidence is well-earned, as it is having its most successful season on the CTRS Tour. In its six CTRS events, the rink has a pair of wins; a second, third and fifth place finish; and missed the playoff round just once.

“Climbing the CTRS rankings this year has definitely added to our confidence level,” Sluchinski said. “We have not had many losses…so we go into each game expecting to come out with the victory.

“This has definitely been our most successful tour season and we hope to put a cherry on top this week by punching our ticket to the Brier.”

The 2018 Alberta Boston Pizza Cup kicked off Jan. 31 (after press) and runs through to Feb. 4 in Spruce Grove. The winner of the provincial championship will represent Alberta at the 2018 Tim Hortons Brier in Regina, Sask., this March.

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