Having swept away the competition in Yellowknife, two Inuvik curling teams are hoping to rock the Arctic Winter Games this January.
Team Wainman and Team Willkomm will represent the Northwest Territories at the circumpolar tournament Jan. 29 to Feb. 4 in Wood Buffalo National Park.
“I think we at least have a shot at winning a medal,” said Reese Wainman. “Thanks to all the people watching us from here.”
It’s been a busy end of year for Team Wainman, having dominated the Sherwood Park U15 bonspiel and placing second in Lacombe in November.
After just getting edged out by their rivals, team J. Kennedy, Wainman said taking the championship in Sherwood Park was extra sweet.
“The first time they beat us really bad, like eight to nothing,” said Brooke Smith. “The second time we played, they beat us by two. Then we beat them in the finals.
“It felt like our training paid off.”
Now, the team is hoping to take the experience acquired in those two bonspiels back to Alberta to claim the gold ulu.
Needless to say, the foursome is excited to be heading to the circumpolar gathering.
“We’re playing a lot more games than we used to,” said Alex Testart-Campbell. “At the qualifier the teams we played against weren’t the hardest, but there was still competition.”
To get there, Smith said the team was focusing on its shooting accuracy.
Tamara Bain said she liked the team’s chances in Fort McMurray.
“I think we have a pretty good shot at winning it,” she said. “We’re working on our hitting.”
Team Willkomm looking for experience
Joining team Wainman will be the up and coming boys who make up Team Willkomm. They automatically qualified for the AWG after learning no one in Yellowknife was willing to take them on.
Though the young team will be standing among giants in Wood Buffalo, the boys say they’re eager to get schooled.
“I think since we’re in the U18 division, we’re probably going to get destroyed,” said Jasper Willkomm. “But we’re excited.”
At their AWG debut, the fellas are prepared to learn a lot about the sport and build their game.
Modest expectations aside, the team is eager to get on the ice and throw some rocks.
Each boy brings along a few years of experience: Jacob Robinson has played for six years, Jasper has three years behind him, and Atticus Willkomm and Jett Etter each have two years with the game.
Jasper said he enjoys the feeling of success that comes with getting the hang of the sport.
“I like it when I get a good shot,” he said, adding he wanted to make a special shout out, “Hi mom!”
With the tournament approaching, the boys are at practice several days a week getting ready for the big leagues.
Both teams say they are shifting focus from drills to actual competitions to ensure they’re prepared for the big tournament.
Bain expressed her gratitude to Kate Jarvis and all the parents for their continued support for the teams.
“She helps out so much,” said Bain. “Thanks to her and all the parents.”