Four curling fans getting the chance to play against Randy Ferbey sounds like something straight out of a movie, but that’s exactly what will happen during the Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championships.
Ferbey, a four-time world champion and six-time Brier winner, is visiting Canadian curling clubs from coast to coast to help promote the tournament, running March 21-28 at the Thistle Curling Club in Edmonton. Senior curlers at registered clubs are also eligible for contests including the grand prize: an all-expenses paid trip to the senior championships to face off against Ferbey in the Everest-Ferbey National Pro Am.
The 55-year-old Ferbey, who retired from competitive curling in 2012, came on board after meeting the owner of Everest Funeral Planning and Concierge Service, who was looking to get involved in curling and help promote an event.
“We thought about it for quite a while, whether we were going to build a brand new one or are we going to promote an existing one,” Ferbey said. “I thought for some reason the seniors is kind of lacking in sponsorship and a little bit of notoriety and we just thought it would be a great fit.”
As for the Pro Am match, Ferbey is looking forward to giving four senior players from across Canada the opportunity of a curler’s lifetime.
“I don’t want to say it’s for the non-curler but it’s for the non-competitive curler to have the chance to play against myself and three other very good curlers,” Ferbey said. “Everybody has been excited about it and they’re looking forward to it.”
Will Ferbey be stacking his team for the match?
“I hope so,” he said while laughing. “I’ve always had three good running mates so I’m sure it’ll be the same.”
The Canadian seniors championships will be extra special for the Edmonton native as the Thistle Curling Club was where Ferbey threw his first rock ever.
“Oh totally, I’m definitely excited about it,” Ferbey said. “I know a lot of people there. The members and the committee are excited about having it there. They hosted the world seniors there a few years back, they’re excited to have this and they’re going to do a great job so it’s going to be fun.”
Ferbey was in Chilliwack, B.C., when he spoke with thegrandslamofcurling.com over the phone earlier this week and his trek continues to Ottawa and Halifax. The three-time Grand Slam winner said he’s having a great time visiting all of the various curling clubs and meeting fans.
“It really is amazing how many fans you have touched over the years. Curlers probably don’t realize how many people have watched them play and seem to know them,” he said. “I walked into the curling club today and it was like they all knew me or they thought they knew me. It’s fantastic, they talk and say, “Oh, I loved watching you on TV,” and I haven’t been on TV in a few years from a curling perspective. They talk like it was just yesterday so it kind of makes you feel good when you hear that.”
Ferbey also said he had a fantastic experience as “Captain Canada” (apologies to former Edmonton Oilers star Ryan Smyth) where he helped guide Canada to victory over Europe at the WFG Continental Cup this past weekend, although he admitted he was hesitant about the role at first.
“I kind of had a few reservations going in because part of me still thinks I’m a competitive curler but I’m not, I’m past that,” Ferbey said. “I wasn’t sure how the players would accept me being there but they treated me like gold, to be honest with you. It was a very humbling experience. They asked for my thoughts, they asked for input and everything so it was well worth it.”
Ferbey will be making a second trip to Halifax later in the spring for the world men’s curling championship where he will be honoured for his induction into the World Curling Hall of Fame.
“It’s sort of the culmination of everything that I’ve done so it’s a great honour,” Ferbey said. “I wish my players would be inducted alongside me because I owe a lot to them. It’s not just about me why I got in there, it’s the players I played with but at the same time they understand.
“I’m looking forward to it because that’s where we won a Brier one year, it’s a great city to go to and I know I’m going to meet a lot of friends there and some past friends from overseas.”