Inuvik’s junior curlers have started practising their skills for the upcoming North of 60 Medical Solutions Junior Championships set to be held in Inuvik Dec. 12 to 17.
Inuvik’s two girls’ teams and one boys’ team are practising for the tournament, in which they will compete against teams from Hay River and Yellowknife.
Approximately 10 youth ages nine to 13 also meet at the Inuvik Curling Club every Sunday at 3 p.m. and Tuesdays at 6 p.m. to learn how curling works and to build curling skills.
Inuvik Curling Club representative Nick Saturnino said the hope is that the youth who meet on Sundays will eventually form teams with each other in order to practice together and participate in future tournaments.
The cut-off to register for Junior Curling will be in the next week or two, Saturnino said.
At 2 p.m., before junior curling practice begins at the curling club, 53 youth ages 10 and under get together to participate in half-ice curling.
Saturnino said this event, which is in its eighth year, is meant to be a fun activity to get youth interested in curling. It prepares those who really enjoy it to progress to the more formal Junior Curling in following years.
“I call it smash up derby,” said Saturnino. “This year, we’re doing three-on-three games in the half-ice portion. It’s more engaging for the kids … they don’t have to wait as long to participate.”
He added that there has been a push from Curling Canada to focus on three-on-three games for youth under 15, as it gives youth more ice time with a faster rotation.
In February 2019, half-ice curlers will have the opportunity to participate in the Lil’ Rockstars curling championships, which also take place in Hay River and Yellowknife for their local youth.