Nick Lemieux started his curling career at Brock University with an unimaginable amount of success. A gold medal at the OUA final and an appearance at the U Sports championships, all in his first year.
“Coming into my first year you don’t really expect to make it to the finals and win gold,” he said. “Every curler growing up dreams of playing on arena ice and actually being in that situation was just incredible. Having the crowds around, the media attention, it was definitely an experience I’ll never forget and the fact that we get to go back for a second one this year is incredible.”
The curling program sets high expectations for themselves coming into any season, but even moreso this season after the first place finish for the men a year ago. The Badgers made it to the OUA finals again this season but fell just short of a gold medal repeat.
For Lemieux, he has been curling since he was nine years old.
“I started picking it up competitively once I hit grade nine so I was about 14, 15, years old. I got into it from my dad, he was a competitive curler growing up,” said Lemieux.
It was this family connection that kept Lemieux in the sport as his father became his coach during his junior years, before coming to Brock.
Lemieux knew he wanted to continue to curl in university, using campus tours to ask about curling programs at other universities around Ontario. However, he was often met with confusion and puzzled looks; some tour guides weren’t even sure if they had a curling team. It wasn’t until he came for a tour at Brock when he finally got a response he was looking for.
“I really liked the campus, and the tour guide was immediately like ‘oh we have a great curling program’,” Lemieux said.
From there, Lemieux was in contact with Brock head coach Murray Etherington, who also met with Lemieux when the then-high schooler competed at OFSAA.
Lemieux currently studies medical science but is in the process of changing his major to kinesiology. It’s the consistent routine that curling practices set up for him that gives him the ability to balance school with his athletic pursuits.
Lemieux is happy with how the program is supported by the university.
“Compared to other curling programs in Canada, Brock is definitely up there. We’re one of the top schools for curling and really I don’t see much room for improvement, I see the school doing a lot of coverage for curling,” said Lemieux.
With the success of the program, it would be hard not to take notice, and Brock has embraced the sport.
“Maybe not quite as much as basketball and hockey and all that, but curling is a lower tier sport, so I don’t really see much room for improvement there. As far as the curling team’s future, it’s definitely looking bright.”
The team holds themselves to a high standard, they come into everything with a winning mentality. When asked what his own personal goals for this years U Sports championships were, Lemieux chuckled and simply referenced winning.
The team has been working all year to put themselves in a position where they can compete at a national level, working with kinesiology students, and sports psychology students to find new competitive edges.
“I think our team has a really good chance, we’ve been working really hard all year, but before we get to that spot, we need to take it every game at a time, make playoffs and go from there. We’re not going to waste our time, we’re looking to win.”
Brock Curling will head to New Brunswick between March 19-24 for the U Sports National Championships.