In another era, the Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre would have been a much busier stop on the Saskatchewan Men’s Curling Tour, but this is the pandemic era.

Split into two groups, one based in Saskatoon with 10 teams and the other at Moose Jaw’s curling hub with 12, the men’s event went off without a hitch. Rylan Kleiter’s Saskatoon rink won 6-2 after four ends over Russ Howard, with Howard’s knees singing out to him after a busy weekend out of the hack.

Kleiter was happy to get the games in.

“We were just happy to be on the ice and have a chance to play, but it was an added bonus to have points available,” Kleiter said.

Kleiter’s path wasn’t easy through the round-robin. They defeated Ben Gamble 8-0 but lost to Kelly Knapp 7-6. The Kleiter rink then walked through the rest of their matches without a loss, beating Dustin Woloschuk 7-4, Ryan Deis 7-5 and Joshua Bryden 5-4.

He won the quarterfinal 9-4 over Gamble, Knapp 7-2 in the semifinal and then outlasted Howard.

“Growing up watching (Howard) on TV, it was pretty cool playing against him,” said Kleiter.

The rest of the year will see the Kleiter rink play more events on the tour before February brings with it the SaskTel Tankard.

“They’re talking about splitting (the tour stops) between the north and the south, so we’ll be looking into that for the rest of the season,” he said. “We’ll be looking forward to hopefully have a chance at the Tankard.”