CCAA Curling Report

CCAA Curling Report

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

Gold, Silver and two Bronze at CCAA Curling Championships

Three Canadian curling championships got underway last Friday in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

So, it is without a doubt, that the two ice surfaces at Willie O'Ree Place were super busy with the hosting of the U SPORTS-Curling Canada University Championships (March 15-19), Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA)-Curling Canada Championships (March 15-19) and Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship (March 19-24).

When it came down to the final day of action, four teams from the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) were in the medal hunt.

Men's Championships

In men's curling it was the Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder featuring Skip: Evan Van Amsterdam, Third: Tyler Van Amsterdam, Second: Braden Pelech, Lead: Cody Holowaychuk and Alternate: Joshua Buchholtz under the watchful eye of Coach Taina Smiley taking on the Humber Hawks for gold.

The Hawks, playing out of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) and based out of Etobicoke, Ontario, last won CCAA men's gold in 2015-2016.

The Thunder had never medaled in men's curling since its reinstatement in 2012.

Competing on Sheet B, Thunder stormed out scoring two in the first end and two in the third end to go up 4-1. Then lightning hit in the sixth end with three scored to take a commanding 9-1 lead, Hawks eventually conceding the 10-4 victory!

"We knew we had to keep control," said Coach Taina Smiley. "With the five rock rule, things can still get pretty intense but we managed to play out with some great shots.

"We learned that we can make the shots we need when it counted and we were great at managing the rocks, We worked well as a team."

Of the various curling championships taking place at the same time, Smiley said: "It is a great atmosphere and fun to be here with U Sports at the same time."

Battling for bronze were the NAIT Ooks under the guidance of recent Curling Canada Hall of Fame inductee Jules Owchar.

Owchar has guided school teams to 35 conference championships and two more at the national level.

His team is led by skip Trygg Jensen, a five-time time Canadian juniors participant.

Joining him in the bronze medal battle against the Fanshawe Falcons are Third: Jonah Tobinski, Second: Brett Winfield, Lead: John Ritchie and Alternate: J.J. Crowder.

Since 2012 Fanshawe had brought home two gold, two silver and a bronze in men's while NAIT found its own path with gold, silver and two bronze

Competing on Sheet I, Fanshawe opened scoring with one after the first end but with three and two scored in the next two ends, the NAIT Ooks began to open the door going up 5-1. Falcons picked up points in the 4th and 5th end to close the gap 5-3 but the Ooks exploded for four in the sixth end to all but secure the bronze victory with Fanshawe conceding 9-5.

"You know it is going to be a close game against Fanshawe and we got the breaks today," said Owchar.

Of the overall concept of CCAA, U Sports combined, Owchar was evidently enthused: "It is great for everybody...especially the college and university kids, Now that we have nationals together, you couldn't ask for anything better. The experience is incredible."

Women's Championships

On the women's side, Grant MacEwan University Griffins go for gold against Douglas College while the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings sweep against defending CCAA champion Fanshawe Falcons for the bronze medal.

Griffins, coached by Brian Lupul feature Skip Ashton Simard, Third: Erin Wells, Second: Andie Kurjata, Alternate: Rebecca Bartz and Lead: Taitan Hagglund.

It was in 2013 that MacEwan claimed bronze at the CCAA curling event held in Edmonton and hosted by NAIT.

Douglas College Blues a Pacific Western Athletic Association participant from New Westminster, BC, were going for their first ever women's medal.

Competition on Sheet D was much closer than their male counterparts medal games. With singles in the first, 5th and 6th the Griffins were behind 4-3 after seven ends.

Douglas would increase the lead to 7-3 after the eighth end with Griffins scoring two in the ninth end to bring home the silver medal after a 7-5 loss.

Vikings coach Andrew McIntosh looked to the skills of Skip: Hannah Terry, Third: Nikki Smith, Second: Sara Paulgaard, Lead: Katelyn Skolski and Alternate: Allyson Hamilton on this day.

He would be going up against tradition in that the OCAA Falcons from London, Ontario had, since 2012, swept their way to 4 gold, silver and a bronze on the women's event.

Competing on Sheet G. Fanshawe scored singles 4 through 6 to go up 3-2 after seven ends.

 Vikings would score 2 in the ninth to go up 4-3 with Fanshawe scoring 1 in the 10th to go extra ends with the Vikings winning 5-4 in 11 ends and a bronze medal for the Camrose, Alberta school.

This will be the second time the CCAA Championships, for colleges and institutes, will be staged with the support of Curling Canada.

Last year the Douglas Royals (New Westminster, B.C.) and Fanshawe Falcons (London, Ont.) won the men's and women's gold medals, respectively.

Here are the medal placements for ACAC teams at recent CCAA Curling Championships. The sport, started in 1983-1984 but was on hiatus from 1990-2011.

2017-2018

Men: NAIT Ooks bronze
Women: NAIT Ooks bronze

2016-2017

Men: Red Deer Kings bronze
Women: Red Deer Queens gold, Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder, silver

2015-2016

Men: University of Alberta Augustana Vikings bronze
Women: NAIT Ooks bronze

2014-2015

Men: NAIT Ooks bronze
Women: NAIT Ooks bronze

2013-2014

Men: Grant MacEwan Griffins gold, NAIT Ooks silver
Women: Red Deer Queens gold, NAIT Ooks bronze

2012-2013

Men: NAIT Ooks gold, Grant MacEwan Griffins silver
Women; NAIT Ooks silver, Grant MacEwan Griffins bronze

2011-2012

Men: Red Deer Kings silver, University of Alberta Augustana Vikings bronze
Women: Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves silver, NAIT Ooks bronze