Haliburton rinks shine at provincials
By Darren Lum
Published April 17, 2018
When you return home from a provincial competition with four top-six finishes out of 72 teams there is cause for celebration for everyone involved.
The Jaguars curling teams, who curl out of the Haliburton Curling Club, captured first, second, fourth and sixth at the 31st annual Provincial Elementary School Curling Championships from April 5 to 8 in Carleton Place.
These championships included elementary school aged students (up to Grade 8) all over Ontario.
The team of Jonah Aldom, skip, Nathanial Boore, vice, and Taylor Consack, lead, finished with the championship title over the Jaguars rink of Savannah Byers, skip, Hannah Lewis, vice, Jocelyn Chumbley, second, and Abi Lewis. Fourth place was won by the rink led by Owen Nicholls, skip, Hendrick Haase, vice, Izzy hill, second, and Kara Chumbley, lead. Sixth place was won by the rink led by Logan Malette, skip, Corin Gervais, vice, Aiden Hill, second, and Levi Aldom, lead.
Hugh Nichols, one of the team’s coaches, couldn’t have been prouder of all the curlers, who finished with an impressive 20-4 record, which includes two losses between Jaguars rinks.
As far as the club goes, he said, these results are unprecedented.
“What an accomplishment for a small town to send four teams ... first to have three teams in the A semi-finals out of 72 teams. I don’t think that has ever happened, but if it did it’s not going to happen for our club for a while,” he said.
He adds it was a difficult championship since one of the two Jaguars rinks had to lose.
“The skip of the winning team said, ‘I was happy we won, but at the same time I felt sorry for her.’”
However the championship final wasn’t without drama, as the title was decided on the last shot.
Byers had the hammer and didn’t make the shot.
“She had to draw to the four foot [circle] to tie and she was heavy. It was wonderful played game. I couldn’t be prouder of the kids. We can’t be prouder of the kids,” he said.
The final score was 6-4 for Aldom.
These amazing results are not an overnight success story for these curlers, who were coached by Nichols and Terry Lawrence.
“We have a lot of people to thank. It’s not me. It goes back. Bob MacNaull started this eight years ago. The curling club has been extremely supportive, giving us available ice time and we have an amazing group of volunteers, who help coach,” he said.
There are 32 children, he said, in the elementary school curling program at the club this past year. It’s held Tuesday and Thursday nights from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Children not only learned to play the game because of that program, but also received guidance and developed their skills to progress to a level of sophistication that was showcased at this provincial event. One of the unique features of the club is allowing youth curlers to compete in leagues, Nichols said. Conventionally, clubs don’t allow this, he added.
Eight curlers are in Grade 8 and will be moving out of the elementary ranks, but Nichols is confident there will be curlers to step forward.
There are three things the club regularly remind their young curlers to do: have fun, believe in yourself and believe in your teammates.
“You gotta have fun. If you’re not having fun then why are you playing this game. Two, believe in yourself. When you’re in the hack and you’re about to make your shot you have to believe in yourself. Three, this is important, believe in your teammates. You got to support each other,” he said.
In addition to the success achieved by these rinks, there have been solid finishes for other youth rinks around the county, whether it was the under 18 boys in Minden or even the high school teams.
When asked if it could get any better than this, Nichols said, “I don’t know. Maybe we’ll see one of these kids one day playing in the Olympics. You never know. [However] it’s all about having fun,” he said.