Coleton Vriesendorp travels from Mackenzie to Prince George every week in order to fulfill his dream of sliding out of the hack.
"I want to try and make the Brier," said the 12-year-old second on Dustin Withey's Prince George Golf and Curling Club team during the Tim Hortons 2013 B.C. Juvenile Curling championship held in Prince George last weekend.
The 1-2 round-robin record Team Withey posted didn't qualify them for the playoffs but the experience gave the boys an idea of what the competition level in British Columbia would be to get to the 2014 B.C. Winter Games in Mission and, ultimately, the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George.
Vriesendorp said both he and the team have a lot of work to do but as his favourite curler, Ontario's Glen Howard, showed during the 2013 Tim Hortons Brier men's curling championship in Edmonton, no one is perfect.
"We just couldn't find consistent weight and we were having trouble reading the ice," said Vriesendorp. "I had a little bit of trouble with draw weight."
The lefty started curling in Mackenzie seven years ago after getting hooked by the TV coverage of the sport. But after four solid years of experience in his hometown, the four-sheet ice surface at the Mackenzie Curling Club shut down with the closure of the town mill. Vriesendorp said he took a year off but missed curling so much his parents decided to rent ice in Prince George the following year so he could practice.
Last fall, the Vriesendorp put out word among junior curlers in Prince George that he was looking to join a team and would be willing to make the two-hour trek down south several times a week for practice and games.
"I just find it so amazing that his parents would do that for him especially with gas being so expensive," said Withey. "He was the perfect fit."
Withey and third Brendan Carswell are both 15-years-old so it made it difficult for them to relate to their 13-year-old lead James Brown during the three years the trio have curled together so having Vriesendorp joining the team creates a nice age balance.
"They just fit together which is nice for team chemistry," said Withey.
After beginning the juvenile championship with a 9-5 win Friday, Withey said it was a jolt when they dropped their second game of the day 11-2 to the eventual silver-medal winning crew from Grand Forks.
"We were really shocked," said Withey. "We weren't expecting that much for those guys and as for the third game, well we knew it would be a tough game and I was quite impressed with how we did. We stuck in it for a little while."
After five ends Team Withey was down 5-3 to the Coquitlam team skipped by Kyle Habrick who when on to a 9-3 win and beat Zane Bartlett's rink in Sunday's gold-medal final.
Withey said the team plans to continue to work together to try to qualify for the provincial and Canada games, adding one of the team's weaknesses is communication.
"I'm not the loudest fellow and neither are most of the people on our team," said Withey. "We really do have to work to fulfill that [aspect of the game]."
His dreams of hoisting the Brier trophy on hold for now, Vriesendorp said earning a berth at the 2015 Canada Winter Games is the priority right now.
"That's one of the goals for us to try to make it to that," said Vriesendorp.