An unprecedented celebration of Canadian championship curling takes place starting this weekend in Leduc, Alta.
Over a nine-day span, the Leduc Recreation Centre will play host to four Canadian championship events:
- The 2018 U SPORTS/Curling Canada Curling Championships from March 24-28
- The 2018 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA)/Curling Canada Championships from March 24-28
- The 2018 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship from March 26-31
- The 2018 Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship from March 29-April 1
The U SPORTS and CCAA championships, along with Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship, will be played in the Leduc Recreation Centre’s twin arenas — Ken’s Furniture Arena and Robinson Arena — while the Canadian Wheelchair Championship is scheduled for the eight-sheet BMO Centre curling facility; it will be part of the 100th anniversary celebrations for the club.
It will be the first time the CCAA national men’s and women’s championships, for colleges and institutes, will be staged in cooperation with Curling Canada. PEI’s Holland College has a women’s team in the event. The team members are Cynthia Pearson, from Fredericton New Brunswick, who is attending first year in the Culinary Program, Tegan Stride, from Summerside PEI, who is attending first year in the Practical Nursing program, MacKenzie Stewart, from Crapaud PEI, who is attending first year in the Practical Nursing program, and Taya-Ray Crossman, from Crapaud PEI, who is attending first year in the Human Services program. Ten-time PEI Women’s champion Shelly Bradley is their coach.
(L-R): Cynthia Pearson, Tegan Stride, MacKenzie Stewart, Taya-Ray Crossman, Shelly Bradley (coach)
It will be the 14th CCAA national championship event; the event started in 1984 and ran through to 1990. It was revived in 2012 and has been staged annually ever since.
It will be the second straight year the CCAA Championships have been held in Alberta; Red Deer College and Fanshawe College won the women’s and men’s gold medals respectively at the University of Alberta-Augustana in Camrose, which is also serving as the official host school for the 2018 event.
“The CCAA is thrilled to be collaborating with Curling Canada in the hosting of the 2018 CCAA/Curling Canada Championships,” said Sandra Murray-MacDonell, Executive-Director of the CCAA. “By collaborating with Curling Canada, the hope is to grow the sport in the Canadian Collegiate post-secondary sector. There is a strong curling presence in our Ontario and Alberta Athletic Conferences. With the increased exposure of CCAA student-athlete competition amidst three other Curling Canada Championships and with the infusion of team travel subsidies, growth and alignment in this sport sector is sure to ensue.”
It will be the 11th staging of the U SPORTS/Curling Canada Curling Championships, and the second time it’s been held in Alberta; the 2010 championships were staged at the Saville Sports Centre in Edmonton and hosted by the University of Alberta.
The University of Alberta will be the official host school for the 2018 championships.
The UPEI Women’s Panthers team did not make it out of the Atlantics this year, and there is currently no UPEI men’s team, although Summerside’s Alex Gallant is competing on the UNB Varsity Reds team.
UNB Reds (L-R):
Skip: Jack Smeltzer, Third: Trevor Crouse, Second: Evan MacKnight,
Lead: Alex Gallant, Alternate: Andrew Burgess
Coach: Lindsey MacKnight
The last U SPORTS/Curling Canada Curling Championships was in Thunder Bay, Ont., with Memorial University winning the men’s gold medal and Laurentian University taking women’s gold.
“U SPORTS is very pleased to continue its commitment to university curling in Canada. Partnering with Curling Canada and one of our sport partners, the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association, as well as the University of Alberta and the University of Alberta-Augustana, will raise the bar by providing university athletes with the opportunity to compete on stadium ice,” said Graham Brown, CEO of U SPORTS. “One of our goals for university sport in Canada is to build relationships with our sport partners and universities to enhance the student-athlete experiences at U SPORTS national championships. Providing a curling festival concept in a curling community like Leduc does just that.”
The men’s and women’s winners of the 2018 U SPORTS/Curling Canada Curling Championships will earn the right to represent Canada at the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
Both scholastic championships will feature eight men’s and eight women’s teams.
The Canadian Wheelchair Championship will be staged in Alberta for the second time in the 15-year history of the event. The 2011 Canadian Wheelchair Championship was held at the Jasper Place Curling Club in Edmonton, with Manitoba’s Chris Sobkowicz coming out on top.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship will be making a return to the city in which the event made its debut. The inaugural Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship was held at the BMO Centre, with the Quebec pairing of Robert Desjardins and Isabelle Néron taking the gold medal.
PEI is represented by the duo of Lauren Ferguson and Calvin Smith, from the Crapaud Community Curling Club. Lauren is also a Cornwall Curling Club member.
Calvin Smith (left) and Lauren Ferguson
The winner of the 2018 Canadian Mixed Doubles will represent Canada at the 2018 World Mixed Doubles Championship, April 21-28 in Oestersund Sweden.
Click to read at Curling Canada