Editor’s note: Steve Moss and his rink of Chris Haichert, Kevin Whitehead and Ingo Bauer are the eighth seeds in the Greatest Of All Time competition and will be up against the darts duo of Elvis Beaudoin and Keith Way, who won the men’s doubles at the 2019 Canadian National Darts Championships in Saskatoon.
Steve Moss has been one of the NWT’s long-serving curling representatives, having played in the Brier, Canadian Mixed and Canadian Seniors championships on multiple occasions along the way.
But he’s never won a title at any of those events.
It’s the Canadian Firefighters Curling Championship where Moss has tasted victory, though, and when he did so in 2008, it couldn’t have been any more perfect.
Moss was the skip for the NWT rink that competed in Richmond B.C., that year when he was serving as the territory’s fire marshal. He and his team of Chris Haichert, Kevin Whitehead and Ingo Bauer were the best team all week as they went 12-for-12 in the win column: 10 straight wins in the round-robin and winning both of their games in the Page playoff, beating Southern Ontario in the final, to walk away with the Hydrant, the trophy given to the champions.
NNSL Media wrote about the team’s triumph (“Firefighters win gold”, Yellowknifer, April 16, 2008) and Moss said at the time that teamwork was the big reason for the win.
“I think the key is the guys all played really well,” he said.
It was the third time the territory had won the title following in the footsteps of Howard Brazeau and his rink from the Fort Smith Fire Department that won back-to-back titles in 1976 and 1977.
Brazeau’s rink is also part of the Greatest Of All Time competition and will enter in the coming weeks.
Even with going unbeaten all the way to the title, Moss said there were no easy games at all.
“This year (2008) it came right down to the final game,” he said. “That one could have gone either way.”
To show just how tough it was to qualify for the event back then, consider that more than 30 rinks played down to represent Manitoba that year. Moss had to come through six other rinks in the NWT qualifier, something equivalent to what you would see in a Brier of Scotties playdown.
One of the big things the team had going for it was plenty of big-game experience with Moss, Haichert and Whitehead all having played at the Brier on multiple occasions.
“We (had) a substantial amount of experience and I think that played into it a lot,” said
Moss. “There was a lot of talk that people were picking us to win it.”
To put the cherry on top of a successful week, Moss, Whitehead, and Haichert were each selected as tournament all-stars.
As there is with every curling event, there was a huge social aspect attached to it. Teams took turns hosting dinner on each night of the event and Team NWT’s contribution was 50 lbs. of Arctic char.
Whitehead said the dinners gave teams a chance to get to know colleagues around the country.
“Firefighters are all about camaraderie,” he said.