It’s a cold Thursday and it’s not hard to imagine better places to be on a wintery night. But well after practice ended Trent’s curling team is still lingering, laughing, joking, talking.
Steve Whitehill, the coach of the Men’s team reminisces about previous years “Trent Curling didn’t have much and then the last three years have been good, we peaked with that group last year we came 4th in CIS (the national champions)” and the Men’s team vice Derek Hutcheson responds “Yeah, and this year we are coming 1st.”
This is a re-building year for the team and expectations aren’t very high. Expectations are at the level where a national championship does seem like just a joke.
Last year the team was close, but the four players all graduated and now they are starting fresh with four curlers new to the team.
The Men’s team is of the laid back variety. “We miss a shot, and we try laugh it off. The guys are pretty good about staying relaxed” said first year and team lead Jacob Leitch.
Both curling teams play in Peterborough’s Wednesday night league and practice on Thursday nights. This week they are re-grouping after a trip to St.Catherines where they participated in a tournament hosted by Brock University.
The men were unable to win a game, but stayed close in every one, ending up quite encouraged by the results.
The women did much better as they went 3-2 in Brock’s tournament.
“We are a little more intense,” said Jen Wales the team’s lead “we don’t enjoy missing shots.”
Part of the challenge for Trent’s teams is switching between the competition Wednesday nights and then the teams they play from other schools.
“The other schools are much better than this league” said coach Whitehill.
The players notice the difference too, “You can miss shots here (Wednesday night league) and it’s not a big deal, but you miss against other schools and you’re not winning” explained the team’s skip Brad Robinson.
The Men’s and Women’s team will be competing at OUA’s (Ontario championships) in Guelph on February 13. The two teams each take a van on the road driven by their respective coach.
Whitehill expects the women to be in the mix to win it, but also cites tough competition. For example, Glen Howard’s (a famous Canadian curler) daughter plays on Laurier. Western and the Univerity of Toronto will also have strong teams.
Despite the lesser expectations, the men still expect to compete at OUA’s and hope to come in the “top six” at OUA’s.