Meet Pete: An interview with the Grand Slam’s MC

December 8, 2017, 2:02 PM

Peter Steski is one of the original 18 skips who competed in the inaugural Grand Slam of Curling season of 2001-02. Steski has since exchanged his broom for a microphone and has served as the GSOC’s master of ceremonies at events for the past few seasons and hosted the web show “Pete on the Street” interviewing fans and curlers. Due to his comical quips and wit, Steski is a hit among the fans … and even the curlers too.

GSOC: What does it mean to you being one of the original 18 skips of the GSOC?

Steski: That I’m old. We took a lot of pride in sacrificing for the greater good as we were not one of the elite teams but we believed in the direction of the tour. I’m very happy with how everything turned out.

When the GSOC started out, did you ever imagine where it would end up today?

I mean we hoped it would but it’s amazing what it has developed into. It started with four men’s events and now we have seven for the men and six ladies events with massive TV coverage. The impact on curling goes far beyond the Grand Slam series itself. It helped push the CCA [Curling Canada] into introducing prize money at the Brier and Scotties and events like the Continental Cup and Canada Cup.

Most memorable curling moment?

I have two brothers and we curled our first ever WCT [World Curling Tour] event in Peterborough, Ont. We were in university and had no money so we never left the club. We slept on the couches in the locker room, had all of our meals there. All of the top teams were there but three days later we won the event. Pretty special.

Most embarrassing curling moment?

Playing with Glenn Howard in Victoria against Mike McEwen in the quarterfinals. I wiped out before the first hog line attempting to sweep. Wayne Middaugh couldn’t stand up, he was laughing so hard. Ben Hebert, Marc Kennedy, and John Morris were on the sheet beside us and that didn’t help.

Why did you decide to get involved as the MC?

I don’t have the time or ability to compete anymore, but I do love being around the action. I would like to explore media
work — whether it be broadcasting or hosting — so having the opportunity to do this is great. I love the direction the Slams are going in taking some chances by snubbing tradition and trying to create a unique and entertaining product.

What is your most memorable team intro you’ve done so far?

Probably when I was doing real and fake “year-end awards” at the Players’ in 2016. I awarded Jocelyn Peterman the “Curling Catchphrase of the Year” award. I had an 11-year-old girl come out of the crowd to play the role of Jocelyn saying, “Come on Chels. You’ve got this. Trust it.” At first, the girl was so nervous meeting Jocelyn that she couldn’t speak. Jocelyn was amazing. She even gave the girl a Team Canada shirt. The kid nailed the intro. It was great.

Which team intro do you wish you could re-do?

The ladies final in the Masters [in 2015] I called Lori Olson-Johns “Olson-Jones” by mistake on live TV. I didn’t even realize that I did it. When I found out I was embarrassed and apologized to Lori but she’s so laid back she didn’t care. I’ve called her Jonesy ever since.

You had the chance to do colour commentary during the Ontario Tankard, what was that experience like?

It was a different experience than doing the intros live on TV. If I screw those up (which I have) I can’t really pause and fix it. There is more pressure in the moment. Doing the commentary I was totally relaxed. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m trying to talk Mike Harris and Kevin Martin into retirement so I can steal their spot.

Who laughs the hardest at your jokes?

Other than myself … Dawn McEwen.