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O’Neill excited to join forces with Baz Buckle foursome

Nick O’Neill admits he was disappointed when he realized he wouldn’t be curling with his own peers this winter, but a chance to throw stones alongside a two-time world champion quickly put a smile back on his face.

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Corner Brook’s Nick O’Neill is shown in action at the 2015 Atlantic 18U male curling championship. O’Neill is too old for 18U this winter so he’s joining Baz Buckle’s foursome with hopes of winning the Traveler’s club curling championship this season.

O’Neill, an 18-year-old from Corner Brook, will play the second position on the Baz Buckle foursome this season after winning gold at the 2015 provincial 18U male curling championship crown as skip for a talented foursome that featured fellow Corner Brook curlers Daniel Bruce, Andrew Bruce and Nathan King.

O’Neill was too old for the 18U bracket this season so the trio of Corner Brook curlers opted to add Ryan McNeil-Lamswood of Stephenville to the mix for a run at the 18U championship and also the 21U championship.

He was without a game.

But, Buckle wanted him throwing stones and made sure he did.

He’s familiar with Buckle’s exploits on the ice during his six years of competitive curling in Corner Brook as one of the budding junior curlers coming up the ranks.

He knows he’s in good hands playing with seasoned curlers, a foursome that also includes lead Gary Chaulk and third Terry Oke, a fixture on the provincial men’s curling scene for many years with brother Gary Oke.

“It’s going to be an amazing experience playing with Baz because he knows a lot about the game and he can help me out a lot,” O’Neill said.

The foursome will play two nights a week in a competitive environment at the local curling club to get on the same page with hopes of representing the club at the 2016 provincial Traveler’s club curling championship event.

The top two teams advancing out of the club playdowns will qualify for the provincial competition that will see the winner represent the province at the national edition of The Traveler’s in 2017.

“Even though I’m not going to play with my own age group, I’ll definitely learn more so when I transition back into my own age group, I’ll be better than ever,” he said.

The club playdowns for the Traveler’s will be staged Dec. 9-11 at the Corner Brook Curling Club.

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