High school athletes instruct junior curling program
by Derek Cornet
The sound of smashing rocks is nearly inescapable at the PineRidge Ford Curling Club as a new season of the winter sport has begun.
While competitive curling with the club’s ladies, mens, mixed and open leagues started in mid-October, the junior curling program for the youth began in November. Every Tuesday, Carpenter High School (CHS) coach and club member Kendra Paramchuk, as well as members of the high school team, assist with attendees of the junior program.
“Many of the high school curlers were a junior kid once too, so it’s like they’re giving back,” Paramchuk said of the instruction.
She went on to say, although the junior program has existed for many years in some form, it’s really taken off with the school and community-based method she introduced. Paramchuk said the program went from having about eight kids involved to an expectation of at least 25. She added, the increased enrolment is good because there’s a strong chance participants will filter into other programs in the future.
Also on Tuesdays, the CHS squad takes control of the rink after the junior curlers. The team practices twice a week and sometimes, on Thursdays, a game is played. Grade 11 curler Jenna Alkestrup noted the squad has also been scheduling extra practice by curling in Monday night’s ladies league.
“I think we will do pretty good this year,” she said. “We’re just trying to get better and take new challenges every night and see different shots being made.”
Alkestrup was also involved with the junior program when she was younger and said it has remained largely the same. She enjoys the experience of assisting with the younger ones and teaching them how to curl.
“I like kids and I really like curling, so it’s nice seeing the younger generation getting out and learning what curling is all about,” she said.
A bonspiel was originally planned to be held Nov. 22 – hosted by CHS – but was rescheduled until January. The squad will also host districts in Meadow Lake the first week in February through the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association.
Another curling event to take place in the third week of February is the CURLSASK regional mixed-team tournament. Paramchuk said it’s important competitions are held in the community because it demonstrates to younger curlers the level of skill which exists in the sport.
She hopes they inspire students to continue curling into adulthood and join teams later when attending university or college.
“For kids, it’s also a nice sport that can be played with family members,” she said.