Take it to the house
It is probably not common knowledge, but curling was named the official sport of Saskatchewan in 2001.
It is also probably unknown knowledge that the University of Regina has a curling club, which has actually faired pretty well in its official 10 years of affiliation with the U of R.
Previously, the U of R men’s and women’s teams have won nationals and represented Canada in world university competitions, and as Alison Fisher, program assistant and Intramural Sports Coordinator, states “not many universities can say that.”
The team’s success is impressive considering the tough curling competition in Canada West at the moment.
“[Olympic gold medalist] Kevin Martin’s kid plays on the [U of A] team, he has experience,” explains Fisher. “He’s watched his dad curl, he knows what level he needs to get to, to be successful.”
The teams that the U of R curlers will be facing this year are a whole new level of competition says Fisher.
“They are competing against men’s and women’s teams of the world,” Fisher said. “They have experience.”
The skips of both the U of R men’s and women’s teams this year hold the Schneider surname. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with the curling world, this has a connection with the name Amber Holland. Which again, for those of you unfamiliar, won the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
“They have a pretty good shot at being the top two that come out of Canada West.” – Alison Fisher
And the list doesn’t stop there. Many U of R curling alumni have excelled well beyond their days of university and junior curling.
The club is also self sufficient, and does an impressive amount of fundraising. All of the athletes are expected to meet CIS student athlete requirements even though they are technically not affiliated with the CIS.
As with the fate of many campus sports, much of it comes down to budgeting. The U of R just cannot afford to add more teams at this point, so the athletics department has allowed the curling team to only represent the university as an affiliated sport, as long as the recreation department helps them out. The club also receives support from URSU.
Similar to other campus teams, the curling club is required to train and practice as much as possible however, it can become a burden on the wallets when trying to get as much playing time in.
Travel expenses and cost of bonspiels during the training months comes out of the team’s own individual pockets, unlike recognized CIS teams. And we all know, as students, many of us live on tight budgets, and curling is not cheap.
However, Fisher emphasized that the attitudes of the current U of R curling teams are admirable.
“It makes me so proud to watch them,” Fisher said about the team’s dedication to representing the university. “They are just class acts all the way.”
Fisher has high hopes for their success this year.
“They have a pretty good shot at being the top two that come out of Canada West,” says Fisher.
Both teams will continue their search for the top in Edmonton for Canada West playdowns on Feb, 15-18.
Photo courtesy of University of Alberta Athletics