Bonot finishes just short of playoffs in first Brier

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer
abradbury@fortfrances.com

Coming in with no expectations a fourth place finish in Group B was an acceptable result says Trevor skip from Stratton who represented Northern Ontario at the Canadian National Men’s Curling Championship in Regina last week.

“We went in with no expectations,” he said. “Other than trying to win games and play hard and we did exactly that, so I think we met our goals.”

Team Northern Ontario started the Brier with two quick wins and over New Brunswick (9-4) and Newfoundland and Labrador (7-6) but came up short against Team Carruthers out of Manitoba (9-8). They were able to regroup after the first loss and pull off an upset over Brendan Bottcher’s rink out of Alberta. Bonot stole a point each in the ninth and 10th ends to win a low-scoring affair against a team that is considered not only a top team in Canada but one of the best in the world.

Of that game Bonot said the Bottcher team made a few uncharacteristic mistakes which they were able to take advantage of.

“It was a massive game,” Bonot said. “Having them come up light on a draw is very unexpected so we were fortunate there. For me the biggest plus was how we rebounded and kept going. We had two big games the next day and had to win them to have a chance and we did that. I think coming out and breathing Ontario and BC was an even prouder moment for me than beating Bottcher.”

They bested Ontario 10-6 in nine ends and took BC down 7-4 the next day and they came into the final day of the round robin with a chance to finish in the top three of the pool and make the playoffs. Unfortunately losses to the Dunstone rink out of Manitoba (8-3) and to team Yukon (8-7) meant that was not to be.

Team Bonot takes a team selfie at the rink prior to the Montana’s Brier in Regina. The team, made up of Vive-Skip Mike McCarville, Lead Kurtis Byrd, Coach Al Hackner, Second Jordan Potts and skip, Trevor Bonot. Bonot hails from Stratton, but the team represents the Fort William Curling Club in Thunder Bay. – Facebook photo

Team Gushue out of Newfoundland and Labrador wearing Team Canada jackets as last year’s champions would go on to beat the hometown Team McEwen with Bottcher’s rink finishing third.

Each year at the end of the Scottie’s and the Brier, broadcaster TSN puts together a montage that tells the story of the week. In part of that montage brier play by play man Vic Rauter said:

“Thunder Bay’s Trevor Bonot was skipping in his very first Brier, he had dreamed of doing this his whole life. Here in Regina his dream came true, and then some. His Northern Ontario team won five games beating some of Canada’s very best and showing the country that he very much belonged.”

Bonot appreciated hearing that but he doesn’t think they needed to prove it at the Brier.

“It’s something that I’ve believed the whole time,” Bonot said. “We play hard, we practice we just don’t tour as much as the other teams. We have day jobs so that makes it a little tougher to be alongside professionals on a weekly basis. But we know we’re good curlers and we know that if we play like we can, we can compete. So hearing that just reminded us that we deserve to be around.”

Through their successful week in the round robin, team Northern Ontario had a great cheering section as well. Trevor’s sister and mixed doubles partner Jackie McCormick was in the stands with a crew of around 50 friends and family members.

“We had the best fans,” McCormick said. “If there was a contest for that I think Northern Ontario definitely wins that one because we had probably the largest fan contingent at least early in the week and we were definitely making the most noise.”

Family members of each of the four players had a chance to meet, some of them for the first time.

“We got to mix the four players’ families and friends together,” McCormick said. “It takes a little time but of course we did come to get to know them well and it was pretty fun as well.”

Bonot says they could feel the support from the stands.

“The people that came to support us, so many family and friends, it was amazing,” he said. “We had people from South Carolina, Thunder Bay and Stratton, it was awesome. I couldn’t ask for much more. My whole family was there, all my siblings, my mom, aunts and uncles and cousins, it was really special.”

Bonot says the team is taking a few weeks off to recoup, and will debrief and discuss their opportunities for next year.

“We’re going to take a few weeks or a week or two to take a grasp and look back at what we accomplished this season and put some ideas forward for what we want to do next year,” Bonot said. “I think the goal right now though, is that we want to be playing more and taking this week and what we did at the Brier as a stepping stone moving forward and we’d love to get back but we know to do that we have to keep working hard.”