Bringing home hardware again
Team Canada Silver Medalists Howard Rajala (fifth man), Ken Sullivan (lead), Doug Johnston (second), Ian MacAulay (third), and Bryan Cochrane (skip) brought home a silver medal for Canada at the recent Senior Men’s World Curling Championships in Lethbridge, Alta., on April 29.            Courtesy photo

Katrina Lamont 
Special to the Villager
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. – After winning the Ontario and Canadian titles, Russell Curling Club’s Team Cochrane has brought home a silver medal for Canada at the recent Senior Men’s World Curling Championships April 23 to April 29. Lethbridge hosted the competition, which included 23 teams from around the world. Places from as far away as Japan, Russia, New Zealand and Israel all sent teams hoping to earn a place on the podium.

Skipped by Bryan Cochrane, with Ian MacAulay at third, Doug Johnston at second, Ken Sullivan at lead, and Howard Rajala as fifth man, Team Canada had a fantastic run during the competition. In the first round, the team scored decisive victories over England 10-3, Russia 10-2, Scotland 7-2, Finland 7-2, New Zealand 8-2, and Wales 7-2.

By defeating Wales 8-1 in the quarter-finals and Ireland 5-2 in the semi-finals, the team moved on to the final with an outstanding undefeated record, where not one game had lasted the scheduled eight ends.

Team Canada then took to the ice against returning champions Team Sweden in the final for the gold medal. In a closely-fought game, Cochrane took two in the eighth to tie the game and force an extra end. Canada’s strong play in the extra end saw Sweden’s skip Mats Wranaa facing two well-placed Canadian stones, one fully on the 4-foot ring and guarded by one on the 8-foot. With his last shot, Wranaa made a perfect draw to the button for the win, defeating Canada by mere inches to win the gold.

“Representing Canada – and Russell – in the World Championships as the home team was an amazing experience,” said skip Bryan Cochrane. The team was cheered on by fans across the country, and especially those in their home club. Cochrane and Sullivan grew up in curling in Russell, with both having parents who were active members of the club. Along with his wife Laurie Clement and their children Erin, Ryan and Jamie, Cochrane’s mother Marion, a club member for more than 50 years, travelled to Lethbridge to also cheer for the team.  Sullivan’s partner Cheryl Stanley was in the stands with Ken’s daughters Kirsten and Taylor, and a number of loyal Russell fans were there as well to cheer on the team in person. Cochrane said, “I would like to mention the Russell contingent for making the trip and being so supportive, win or lose. It meant a lot to us to have our local fans there.”

The Russell Curling Club is very proud to welcome home Team Canada and the silver medal – congratulations!