Haichert adds national title to resume

Steven Mah
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Swift Current’s Chris Haichert (centre) helped Team Saskatchewan win the Hydrant Trophy at the 54th Annual Canadian Firefighters Curling Association National Championship in Saint John, NB.

Photo from www.cffca.ca

As the ice slowly melted away on another curling season in the Southwest, Swift Current’s Chris Haichert quietly won another national title away from the Saskatchewan curling spotlight.

Haichert and Team Saskatchewan won gold at the 54th Annual Canadian Firefighters Curling Association National Championship in Saint John, NB from March 23-30.

Haichert played third for Gregg Tarasoff’s rink out of Saskatoon. Carmen Koch was second and Vern Harrison played lead.

“They are good guys and fun guys to curl with,” said Haichert. “We were all really excited to win. What makes it exciting is what type of event it is just with the type of people, all of them are firefighters and a lot of them bring their families. It is just a really good group of people to see if you are fortunate enough win and get back there and see them over the years.”

Saskatchewan lost their tournament opener 8-7 before winning their next nine games to place first in the 11-team round robin. They defeated Alberta 9-2 in the 1vs2 Page Playoff and then finished off the tournament with an 8-4 win over Alberta in the championship game.

The same Saskatchewan rink had placed second at Nationals two years ago in Calgary. Haichert had won the Firefighters National Championship in 2008 when he played on the Steve Moss rink out of the Northwest Territories.

This year’s win had the added bonus of redemption for Haichert and his teammates. They lost in 2011 to Alberta’s John Morris, a former World Champion, World Junior Champion, and Olympic gold medalist. Though they weren’t able to defeat Morris, they were able to take out his third from 2011, Aaron Bartling, who skipped Alberta this year. Haichert also pointed out that Alberta’s third, Jim Henderson, has won the event around 10 times.

Haichert said his current team has never practiced due to time constraints.

“We throw the team together for Provincials and if we are lucky enough to win then the next time we see each other is getting on the plane to go to Nationals.”

Haichert has been playing against his Team Saskatchewan teammates since he was a kid on the competitive curling scene. “When I moved from Yellowknife here they asked me if I wanted to play with them and I definitely wanted on board and it works out well.”

Haichert is a former Canadian Junior and World Junior Champion and played for Pat Simmons at the 2005 and 2006 Briers, but he has been laying low on the competitive curling scene in recent years with his young family.

Haichert’s wife Teejay plans to curl competitively again next season with Kelly Wood.

“I am going to take the year off I guess you could say. We got baby number two due at the end of May. I am going to do the daddy day care thing for another year. If Teejay’s season doesn’t go well then she is going to give me the reigns to get back into the competitive curling possibly the following year,” said Chris Haichert.

“I can’t see myself doing too much next year other than I will curl with the same team and we will throw a team into the firefighter playdowns and hope for the best,” he explained.

There is no guaranteed spot at next year’s tournament for the defending national champions. Haichert and his teammates will have to enter the provincial playdowns once again to earn a spot at Nationals in Winnipeg.

Organizations: World Junior Champion, Canadian Junior

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Alberta, Swift Current Saint John Saskatoon Calgary Northwest Territories Yellowknife Winnipeg

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