World Men’s curling championship greeted by its own legacy

Victoria Royals playoff dates could get bumped by curling tourney

When the 2013 World Men’s Curling Championship in Victoria was announced last week, a new generation of curlers was there for the historic occasion.

Two dozen members of the Esquimalt High curling academy, a program born from the Victoria Curling Foundation legacy of the 2005 World Men’s championship, attended the press conference in the restaurant at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

Executive board member Graham Prouse of the World Curling Federation made the announcement for the 12-team event, which will run March 30 to April 7 in 2013.

Esquimalt Grade 12 students Robyn Fraser, Carlene Fanthorpe and Sean Harrington did not get to any matches in 2005 but all hope to attend the competition in 2013 World Men’s.

“It’s really exciting, just the chance to see world-class curlers here in town,” Fraser said.

A longtime curler, Fraser was among the spectators at the Scotties in 2009 in Victoria. This year  she supported Fanthorpe’s decision to join the curling academy though the latter had no previous experience with the sport.

“It’s been really welcoming and fun. I’m not sure if I’d be playing otherwise,” said Fanthorpe of the academy.

The same goes for Harrington. A regular on the school’s wrestling and soccer teams, Harrington will learn curling in his final year.

The academy practices three times per week and most members will play in the Optimist Club’s high school curling league this winter.

“There could be five Esquimalt teams playing in the high school league this winter, I’m looking forward to it,” Harrington said.

Royal regards

Dave Dakers, president of RG Properties sports and entertainment division, which operates Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, is excited about the return of the world men’s curling championship. However, the tournament does pose a potential problem for the WHL’s Victoria Royals, the rink’s main tenant.

“The Royals will hopefully be in a playoff run at that time but (that would be) a problem we’d love to have,” Dakers said. “If we have to play at Bear Mountain (Arena) or elsewhere, that’s fine by me.”