After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled two attempts to bring the under-18 national championship to Curling Canada in northern Ontario, the federation announced that Timmins had signed up to host the event in February 2022.
Teams of girls and boys will compete in a week-long event at the McIntyre Community Center – and McIntyre Curling Club president Steve Meunier said he was thrilled to finally welcome the country’s new young chefs.
Although details have not yet been finalized, the event will feature more girls and boys teams than their 14 teams each, to run canceled competitions scheduled for Sudbury in 2020 and Timmins in 2021.
Curling Canada officials said it would be a great opportunity for the youngsters to showcase their skills at the national level.
“For many of them, this is the first time they’ve worn a provincial jacket or a jacket with a crest, so this is a great opportunity,” said Helen Radford, a youth curling manager.
Radford said the federation would look at how things were going with the epidemic next year and that the release of the COVID-19 vaccine gave hope that the players would be able to freeze the week of February 14.
With the Scotties of Hearts, the Tim Hortons Brier, and the men’s and mixed-race tournament held in Alberta for the whole of 2021, Radford said the federation would look at how those events would turn out to be a youth tournament.
North Ontario won gold medals in the first under-18 tournament in 2017 and Northern Ontario Curling Association general manager Bobby Ray said the region would be well represented next year.
With top-class players competing, especially in the north, Ray said it would be exciting for people to see a glimpse of the Canadian slave girls who will wrap themselves up in the future.
In the meantime, Meunier said the teams will look at opportunities to keep their skills sharp next year, although Curling Canada is urging players to do so with safer COVID training rather than competitions.
Fingers have been denied that the restrictions will be loose enough to give the players and spectators a good week to bend, however Radford said right now it’s about having an event to watch and keep the love of the game alive.