By: John Mignelli- Assistant Sports Editor
The Brock men’s and women’s curling seasons are in full swing and both teams are looking to make a splash on the Brock Varsity sports scene.
“At this point in the season we are pleased with both team’s progress and are confident that we will be very competitive at the OUA Championship,” said coach Etherington when asked about how the teams have done this year.
While most of the athletics programs at Brock feature a men’s and women’s varsity team, the curling program has expanded to feature multiple teams under Etherington.
“Since I have taken over as the head coach in September of 2009, the Varsity Curling program has grown. At that time there [was] only a men’s and women’s varsity team made up of five or six members per team. Three years ago I started a Developmental Team for the women and we named it the Junior Varsity Team. Three of the members on that first JV team are now playing on the Varsity team,” said Etherington.
“This season we had enough curlers at try outs to form [three] women’s teams. [We have a] Varsity team, the Jr. Varsity team and [there are also] four first year University curlers together to make up the Freshmen team. Also for the first time we have a Junior Varsity men’s team to go along with the men’s Varsity team. So we have grown from two teams of 10-12 curlers to five teams of 19 curlers.”
Etherington would go on to explain that the Brock Invitational Bonspiel (which was held from January 24-26) had been put on for more years than any other University Exhibition Bonspiel. Both the men’s and women’s varsity teams finished fifth overall.
Outside of competition, the curling program has well represented our University by giving to the community in the Niagara Region.
“In November of 2013 [our] curlers helped to organize, give instruction and other tasks for the Alzheimer’s of Niagara Curl for the Memories Bonspiel which raised over $18,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society,” said Etherington. “On February 8 we will be doing the same for the Boys & Girls Club Sweep for the Kids bonspiel. On February 9 other curlers will help with the Heart & Stroke’s bonspiel,” he added.
As well as charity events, curlers have brought the game to elementary and secondary-school students in Niagara with the aim of not only encouraging students to continue their educations at Brock, but also to expand the game that they cherish to those who have had little curling exposure.
During the third weekend of February the teams will travel to Guelph to compete in the OUA Championships, which will be opened on Feb. 13 and concluded on the 17. It is there that the program will shoot for a strong result to further build upon their growing reputation within the Brock athletics community.