Earlier this week, I posted about how you don’t see many upsets in provincial finals any more. Of course upsets are, by their very nature, rare, but what I think you do see often is an unheralded team knocking off a contender during the week as opposed to winning the overall title.
I mention this because at the TSC Stores Tankard – the Ontario championship – Rob Dickson, who had yet to win a game, knocked off Wayne Middaugh this afternoon. That has opened the door to massive tiebreaker possibilities and as I tap this out on the keyboard, Dickson is leading Rob Lobel. UPDATE: He won! (I'm watching this on television and an observation: Ed Werenich is a hell of an announcer. Maybe TSN should pair him with Howard!)
So Dickson is playing the role of spoiler (or in this case, because it meant a 12 a.m. draw, party spoiler). Over the years, I’ve seen some unlikely squads fill this spot. In the 1982 world championship, Al Hackner lost to Italy. In 1985, Russ Howard lost to France. And Brad Gushue was defeated by Italy at the Olympics.
Take nothing away from these teams but you just don’t expect a Hackner or a Howard or a Gushue to lose to teams from countries where the entire curling population could all fit comfortably in a min-van.
But it’s happened. And it’s continuing to happen at the Ontario finals.