“I don’t know if it could have worked out much better for us,” said Kent Elmgren of the local organizing committee. “This is a really strong field of curlers with a lot of provincial champions. These are some of the biggest curling names in the province, and fans are going to be treated to some great action on the ice.” The final 10 rinks at the 16-team provincial curling championships were determined over the weekend at the southern and northern playdowns. In the south, teams earning spots to the Tankard included Brent Gedak of Estevan, Max Kirkpatrick of Swift Current, Randy Bryden of Regina, Joel Jordison of Regina and Josh Heidt of Kerrobert. The Southern playdowns were held in Regina. The five teams qualifying from the northern playdowns, which were held in Meadow Lake, included North Battleford’s Scott Manners, Yorkton’s Terry Marteniuk and three teams from Saskatoon – Mike Armstrong, Darren Camm and Bruce Korte. Six other teams – Brock Virtue, Scott Bitz, Kevin Marsh, Darrell McKee, Jeff Hartung and Steve Laycock – had already pre-qualified for the championships through the Saskatchewan and Canadian curling tours. A number of past provincial champions will be among those coming to Shaunavon next week, including Virtue of Regina, who will be defending his 2013 title, as well as Manners (2012), McKee of Saskatoon (2010), Korte (2000 & 2004), Jordison (2009) and Bitz of Regina (2002). Korte also played on McKee’s provincial championship team in 2010. Another skip, Steve Laycock of Saskatoon, played on three provincial championship teams skipped by Pat Simmons (2011, 2008 & 2007). Laycock also skipped a rink to Saskatchewan, Canadian and World junior titles in 2003. Braeden Moskowy, who plays third on Virtue’s rink, won back-to-back Saskatchewan junior curling titles as a skip and went on to claim the Canadian junior championship in 2011. Jordison also won a provincial junior crown in 1996. Randy Bryden, meanwhile, is another well-known Saskatchewan curler. While he has never won a provincial men’s title, Bryden did capture the 1996 Canadian Mixed Curling championship. Saskatoon skip Mike Armstrong played on Manners’ provincial championship team in 2012 and was the Saskatchewan junior champion in 2009. Of local interest, among those booking their ticket to the Tankard, was the Max Kirkpatrick rink of Swift Current. Kirkpatrick swept through the A event at the Southern playdowns with wins over Lyle Brown (8-6), Jamie Schneider (8-7) and Joel Jordison (7-5) before dropping a tough 10-9 decision to Gedak in the A final on Saturday night. Kirkpatrick, however, rebounded to secure his own trip to Shaunavon with a 10-5 win over Josh Heidt in one of the B finals on Saturday night.