There have only been two league games for Elmira District Secondary School’s curling team, but so far, so good.
Coaches and staff supervisors Amanda Pileggi and Erin Thaler say they have high hopes for the team this year. With seven games left in the regular season, there is plenty of time to get to the top.
“We are feeling like it is a very strong team. We have our bonspiel that is on Feb. 14 at Westmount. That is a full-day tournament,” said Pileggi. “And if we are successful there, then we can potentially move on to CWOSSA. The kids would really like that. I think the potential is there, for sure. That is another two-day tournament.”
Their first game ended in a loss, but was close. With a score of 8-6, it was a good introduction for the players who had never played before.
“She did a really great job,” said Thaler.
On Tuesday afternoon at Westmount Golf and Country Club in Kitchener, the team had four players – two boys and two girls – on the ice, and came out on top. The final score was 8-1.
It is difficult to organize practices for the curling team, but Pileggi says they managed to get the players together, drawing on the experience of seasoned players to help the newcomers.
“We did run a few practices at the Elmira Curling Club and we tried to help them with their form, especially for the new kids. We leveraged our experienced players to help guide the younger players,” she said.
“There are a couple of players that actually aren’t playing with us right now that have come back to give us a hand,” added Thaler. “We try to pull expertise where we can. Now, all they need is experience.”
The game has become more popular in recent years, especially for younger players. Curling experienced a lull in popularity, but lately, registration numbers have been on an upswing.
“It is a social sport. They tend to bring in their friends when they are interested. They tend to have families that are part of clubs they bring their kids in, and those kids are bringing in their friends,” explained Pileggi. “The clubs are doing a really good job at keeping novice and intermediate teams going to get them interested. At the Olympics lately, as well, curling has been really highlighted. It is a game of sportsmanship for sure. You don’t cheer outwardly when the other team makes a poor shot, or even if you make a good one. It is a very reserved and polite kind of game.”
The team takes to the ice every Tuesday afternoon at Westmount until the season-ending bonspiel.