After hurrying hard, three Juan de Fuca curling club juvenile teams secured places in provincials.
“I think it’s great. I have been coaching here for six years and this is the first time boys or girls have been to the (juvenile) provincials,” said Bob Coulombe, coach of Team Coulombe.
Team Coulombe, Team Wenzek and Team Horvath, all named after their respective skips, Mariah Coulombe, Daniel Wenzek and Alex Horvath, are competing in juvenile provincials in Lake Cowichan, March 3 to 6.
Although popular with the older generation, some young people are just as keen on curling.
Horvath,12, started playing at the age two and Team Wenzek’s Duncan Silversides, 12, has been playing for six years.
From Team Coulombe, Emily Craddock and Lauren Cassidy, both 15, got hooked on the sport after an elementary school field trip to the rink. Now both attend Belmont secondary.
Even with their success on the ice, these young curlers say on the school yard other kids tend to mock them for their dedication to the sport.
“Kids say it’s not a sport and that it’s not difficult. They say ‘you’re just sliding,’” Cassidy said. “When you curl you know it’s a sport, the day after your muscles feel like, ‘oh my gosh I didn’t know my muscles could feel like that.’”
When people pick on Cassidy for curling, she is sure to tell them JDF curling club invites people to try out the sport for free, but most kids decline the offer.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover. This is a dynamic sport and Canada has produced great players. We (as Canadians) represent when it comes to curling.”
While winning is always a goal, Cassidy Ross, 12, of Team Coulombe, said “winning is just an outcome.”
The three teams are spending the next few weeks brushing up on techniques and can be found on the ice up to three times a week.
“(The other teams at provincials) will be way above our level,” Cassidy said. “But if we do come out on top, then we rock.”
Team Coulombe players say their game is best when they are relaxed. Staying relaxed during the provincials is something they want to focus on.
“We are able to joke on the ice, and if someone slips and falls, we laugh, but we are also serious at the same time,” Cassidy said.
While none of the teams have made it to the juvenile provincials previously, Team Horvath recently competed at the junior provincials in North Vancouver in December. The team placed fifth out of eight teams.
“I learned not to take everything so seriously and if we lose, we lose,” Horvath said. “We need to not be so hard on ourselves.”
In order to obtain a shot at the provincial the three teams had to qualify at the Zone 6 juvenile play down held at JDF curling club, Jan. 21 to 23.
JDF teams secured three of the four spots available for Zone 6 which includes the Island as well as the Sunshine Coast.