Canadian men's curling champion John Morris speaks to Okanagan Landing Elementary students Friday with Nolan Thiessen and the rest of the rink.

Curling stars sweep into Landing school

The reigning Canadian men’s champions rolled into Okanagan Landing Elementary School Friday

With top national curlers in town, some Vernon students were treated to a visit from the rulers of the rink.

The reigning Canadian men’s champions rolled into Okanagan Landing Elementary School Friday to share their love of the sport with students, prior to playing in the Prestige Hotels and Resorts Curling Classic at the Vernon Curling Club.

Most of the intermediate classes have been taking lessons at the Vernon Curling Club, and those that haven’t are now primed to hit the ice.

“I want to go ice curling,” said Kyan Chippendale, who is in Grade 4.

“Ice curling looks fun.”

In fact, most of the top champs weren’t much older, some even younger, when their curling passions were ignited.

Lead Nolan Thiessen, skip Pat Simmons, third John Morris and second Carter Rycroft were between five and 12 years old when they first took to the ice.

“Back when I started curling, we won Nintendo’s, that’s how I got hooked on curling,” said Morris, who is also a Vancouver 2010 Olympic gold medalist.

“This is the perfect age for you guys to get into it,” said Morris, who is a professional firefighter. “People have made the Olympics in curling starting when they were five and right up to when they were 20.”

Thiessen didn’t start curling until he was 12 and didn’t get serious about the sport until he was about 20.

“I started out playing hockey. I was a baseball player though and hockey was something to do in the winter,” said Thiessen, who switched ice surfaces and has stuck with it.

“It’s pretty cool as now we get to travel the world and see a lot of cool places,” said Thiessen, who is a Certified Professional Accountant.

The team is hoping to make it to Korea for the 2018 Olympics.

Although they are the champions of their sport, one student asked if they still get nervous.

“Absolutely, I definitely still get nervous before a big game. Not puking nervous but I definitely feel butterflies,” said Simmons, a chiropracter.

Rycroft, who owns his own trucking company in Edmonton, admitted that he used to get really nervous, to the point where his stomach hurt, but over time he has gotten used to the pressure.

Thiessen sympathized: “We’ve wanted to go to these (big games) since we were 10 years old so we all still get a little nervous.”

Even local ice maker Dave Merklinger, who is being flown to Ottawa to do the ice at the Brier, admitted he still has butterflies.

“I get really nervous when I’m making ice for these guys,” said Merklinger.

The team was excited to be in Vernon for the classic, even picking up some local apples to snack on over the weekend as they camped outside the curling club in an RV.

The Curling Classic continues today and Monday.

 

Just Posted

Two drowning incidents on Okanagan Lake serve as safety reminder

B.C. drowning fatalities down compared to August 2018

Vernon summer concert series extended

Extra week added to Downtown Vernon Association’s popular summer concerts at city hall

Dog lost in Vernon, do not approach

Owner on the hunt for her fur baby, Kasper

Pickleball tourney swinging into Vernon

More than 300 players will compete in the tournament’s third year.

Vernon mayor lists two potential new sites for cultural centre

Victor Cumming said while old hotel site is preferred, old Civic Arena or Polson Park remain in play

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Black bear kills donkey in Revelstoke, put down by RCMP

Conservation Officer says once they attack livestock they are a danger to the public

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab in Surrey

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Shuswap SPCA seeks funds to treat dog that may lose an eye

Two surgeries for severe eye infection unsuccessful, removal a consideration

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

Salmon Arm Roots and Blues Festival exceeds expectations

Artists, attendees and organizers praise effort behind successful event

B.C. seizes 1.5M grams contraband tobacco, down from 5.75M grams the year prior

The 2019-2020 seizures were a sharp drop compared to the 2018-2019 year,

Most Read