Many competitors travelled to Oliver, British Columbia from areas all over the province, and from pockets of New York and Ontario. All came looking for a piece of glory, but it was Quin Erzinger, representing the local contingent, that fought off challengers from near and far to win his 3rd British Columbia Crokinole Championship.
There were a lot of familiar faces in the morning doubles play, and it was the team of Adrian Conradi and Craig Engleson, partnering for the first time since a 7th place finish in 2013, who earned the 4th place spot. The 2015 champs, and the 2016 runners-up of Quin Erzinger and Linda Irvine grabbed 3rd place.
But the familiar faces stopped there and made way for the top 2 spots, which belonged to tournament newcomers. In 2nd place was Wade Thomas and Greg Pinel of the newly formed Vancouver Crokinole & Boules Club. That is Greg Pinel, formerly from Brooklyn, who popularized the game there and is now working to do the same in Vancouver.
Spectacularly, the 2017 BC Doubles Crokinole title went to the newly formed team of MJ Andreola and Tom Johnston, both making their first appearance at the event. The Johnston brothers of Tom and Rex, from Ontario's Huron County, are well known for their doubles prowess. While Andreola proved the long distance from Fernie, BC (nearly directly South of Calgary), would be a successful one, as the partnership took the top prize on the day.
In the Singles event, Michael Hughes earned a 4th place finish for the second straight year, while Greg Pinel equaled his Doubles result with a 3rd place finish. That left a Championship final between Ontario's Tom Johnston, and BC's Quin Erzinger. It was far from the first time that a BC player has had the pressure of trying to keep the BC title within the province boundaries. In fact it has happened 3 times since the inaugural year of 2009:
- 2009 - Karl Sundbo (Alberta) def. Kristopher Hargrave (BC)
- 2010 - Ray Beierling (Ontario) def. Michael Hughes (BC)
- 2011 - Quin Erzinger (BC) def. Fred Slater (BC)
However, pressure is something Erzinger has become accustomed to in what was his 5th trip to the BC finals, and this time he made it a hat-trick, defeating Tom Johnston for his 3rd BC Singles title.
Overall it was quite a successful day in the famous wine valley of British Columbia that featured local flavour, travellers from afar and some fantastic crokinole.
For the now 9-year history of the BC Provincial Crokinole Championships, it has been impossible to talk about crokinole in British Columbia without talking about Clif Antypowich. Or, as he'll always be remembered in our crokinole circles, as Crokinole Clif.
From thousands of kilometres away, one could see his passion for the game, and his extremely likeable personality was even more evident. As a player, he won the 2009 BC Doubles Championships. His name is synonymous with the world's most unique crokinole board, carved from a single tree stump. And as a promoter, he impressively created crokinole clubs and the marquee crokinole tournament of BC that has attracted players from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Washington, New York and New Zealand.
His accomplishments around the game of crokinole are incredibly significant. They took time, they took dedication, and they took love. On a personal note, I am envious of his contributions to the game of crokinole, and can only imagine how much more he did for his community, his friends, and his family. There is no doubt he will be sorely missed.
On the evening following this year's BC tournament, the Oliver Daily News posted a small item stating, "Clif was there in spirit..."
And so that's what lives on for this great game that bridges generations, demographics, borders and languages. May Crokinole Clif rest in peace, and may his passion live through us.
Thank you Clif.