Younger curlers had an opportunity to learn and have fun during the CurlSask U15 and U18 youth spiel at the Swift Current Curling Club, Jan. 11-12.
The club was a busy place during the weekend, with a total of 27 teams and their supporters attending the event. There were 12 teams in the U15 spiel and 15 teams participated in the U18 spiel.
“We jampacked everything in to two days,” Swift Current Curling Club General Manager Chris Haichert said. “Swift Current Curling Club was a very busy place, upstairs in the lounge and downstairs. It’s just phenomenal to see that many people in our club watching the curling, cheering on the youth, which eventually will be the future of our game. It was a very successful weekend as far as our curling club is concerned.”
Most of the teams were from various communities in southwest Saskatchewan, but there were also teams from Rosetown, Moose Jaw and Regina.
“We do pay per wins, so there's a little bit of money on the line, but a lot of these kids know each other from around in the high school curling or other bonspiels,” he said. “So there's a lot of pride on the line, going out there to curl.”
This event in Swift Current was one of several CurlSask U15 and U18 youth spiels around the province during the 2019/20 curling season.
“We promote it as a fun and learning bonspiel, but as anything goes, people get competitive,” he noted. “It does get quite serious, especially down into these finals, which is great for the kids out there competing at a higher level in youth curling, but we really stress fun and open to anybody out here.”
These bonspiels are part of CurlSask’s youth and developmental curling programs. The U15 and U18 youth spiels are non-officiated events that are meant to be fun, while also providing an opportunity for participants to practice their skills and to get familiar with the bonspiel format.
“I think the goal through CurlSask is just promoting the bonspiel curling at a younger age,” Haichert said. “It's the goal of CurlSask that a lot of these teams will potentially advance to playing in the under 21 playdowns, and in there you have the chance to represent your province and even potentially your country on a national and world stage. Basically, this is the start where young curlers are born and begin to develop their skills to hopefully one day be the next Sandra Schmirler's and Olympic champions.”
This was the second year that the Swift Current Curling Club hosted this event, and entry numbers were similar to last year.
“It’s a huge success for us and the success is just seeing all the smiles on the kids faces out there, having a good time, enjoying our facility,” he said. “We have a world class facility here in Swift Current and we love having them come here. … We would love to host it again next year and work hard to continue to grow the event.”
The Swift Current team of Beau Cornelson won the A event in the U18 youth spiel. Team Cornelson claimed the title after their 7-6 win in the final game against Team Connor Olivier from Rosetown.
Two Swift Current teams advanced to the final game in the B event. Team Declan Poppy claimed the B side title with an 8-4 win against Team Jenna Sloman.
The winners of the two final games in the C event were Team Kylon Pawluk-Anderson from Hazlet and Team David Gray from Moose Jaw. Team Pawluk-Anderson won their final game 9-8 against Team Hunter Durell from Assiniboia, and Team Gray won 7-5 against Team Fox Valley Boys, skipped by Cooper Schneider.
The games in the U15 youth spiel had a round robin format between four teams in three different pools. Team Maple Creek Boys and Swift Current’s Team Oakman were tied in pool A with two wins each. Team Maple Creek Girls were undefeated in pool B with three wins, and Team Maple Creek Mixed won all three their games in pool C.