Fans at the Swift Current Curling Club have been showing their support for the teams competing at the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship, and many have been showing some extra encouragement for a territory that’s still looking to make a name for itself on the Canadian curling stage.
Nunavut only started competing in Curling Canada events in 2015, and Peter Van Strien and his team of Meredith Penner, Justin McDonell and Alison Taylor have been working tirelessly to keep the game alive at the grassroots level at their home club in the territorial capital of Iqaluit.
“It’s a big challenge, actually,” Van Strien said. “We do a lot of the work at the club just getting programming going and doing the work to set up the leagues... Our curling community is so small in Iqaluit that the people who are really into it have to put extra work to even get the seasons to be a go.”
Van Strien has been curling in Nunavut for four and a half years, and he believes they are going in a good direction as far as growing the game in the territory.
“Our league was growing this year, and our junior program is getting better, even though we’re not really ready yet for Canadian nationals and that sort of thing,” he added. “We’re making it grow, we’re getting it to grow in Iqaluit, and we just need more time and hopefully some more people helping out up there, but from my standpoint, we’re definitely on the right track.”
This is Van Strien’s first time visiting Swift Current and he says it is a beautiful place and a great curling community.
“I can tell they’re really into it and it really makes it good for the curlers when there’s so many volunteers who take the time to help you out or say ‘hi’ even, and having fans in the club, that’s really nice.”
Round-robin play at the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship continues today through Friday on the curling club ice at Innovationplex with the championship and seeding rounds starting on Thursday and the semifinals and finals set for Saturday. Admission for spectators is free for the entire event.