Local flavour to B.C. junior men's curling champions

Calibaba glad he didn't leave de Jong rink

GREGG DRINNAN / Kamloops Daily News
January 4, 2014 01:00 AM

A year ago, Brook Calibaba was on the verge of quitting junior curling, despite having two years of eligibility remaining.

Today, he's preparing to play in the Canadian junior men's championship that is scheduled for Liverpool, N.S., Jan. 18-28.

Calibaba, 19, is a Kamloops native who plays third for Cameron de Jong's Victoria quartet that won the B.C. championship in Chilliwack on Tuesday.

Calibaba said he thought he would move along "because of the lack of junior players in Kamloops."

"There really was no one I could have played with there," he added. "I was actually going to form a men's team with my brother (Derek)."

However, before it came to that, de Jong asked Calibaba to stay one more season.

"So," Calibaba said, "I told him, 'OK, I'll do whatever I can to move again.' I found a job and a place to stay."

Calibaba is working as a carpentry apprentice on a construction site in Victoria.

When he moved to Victoria prior to the 2012-13 season, Calibaba, who has been curling since he was four, ended up living in a basement belonging to de Jong's grandparents.

"They had a little rec room downstairs in their place," said Calibaba, who has a place of his own now. "They put up a wall to separate the room and gave me a bed and everything. It worked out quite nicely."

Which is kind of how this season is working out.

The de Jong rink is interesting in that it features de Jong, 20, and Calibaba, 19, along with two 15-year-olds - second Ryan Cassidy and lead Alex Horvath.

"(Cassidy and Horvath) have been going to a trainer . . . every week," Calibaba said. "That really gave us an advantage as the two who were expected to be exhausted because they are so young actually kept going strong, outdoing all the other teams on the physical aspect."

The de Jong rink went 6-1 in the round-robin part of the B.C. championship, and then scored a 7-2 semi-final victory over Nolan Reid of Victoria. That moved de Jong into the final against Tyler Tardi, a 15-year-old skip from Langley.

De Jong went up 5-2 with a three in the third en route to a 10-5 victory.

"Oh yeah, I'm still pretty excited," Calibaba said a couple of evenings after the final. "We thought our chances were pretty good."

Calibaba thought it was a matter of the rink gaining confidence and momentum as the championship progresses.

"We had some off moments," he said, "but we ended up bouncing back toward the end."


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