The sport of curling is alive and well, judging by the play at the annual junior bonspiel of the Cochrane Curling Club, Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
In all, 24 teams took to the ice in three bantam and juvenile categories. The atmosphere was charged with bellows of "Hurray" and the more frantic "Hurry Hard," cueing sweepers to work even harder to guide the rock down the rink.
The lower and upper lounge of the curling rink was packed with supportive parents and friends throughout the weekend.
Guidel Ziegler, the club's bonspiel co-chair, agrees the performances and the entire event was fantastic.
"I was quite impressed with the quality of curling," she says.
"It was an absolutely fantastic weekend. I had everybody pretty happy with the beautiful facility that we have at Spray Lakes. The food was fine, and the curling was fine. Everybody, I believe, had a wonderful time."
Even with some Cochrane curlers on the road competing for one of the new Excel Cups, the bonspiel offered a full slate of eight teams in each of the three age categories. Many hometown curlers were joined by those from across Alberta, including Edmonton, Calgary, Okotoks, Sherwood Park, Castor, Rocky Mt. House, and Lethbridge.
The Cochrane junior league continues to hone the skills of budding curlers. Ziegler says there's 50 youth on the ice for their regular Sunday time slot for those ages 9 to 21.
Junior bonspiel event winners were:
- U18 girls: Team Bakos, Julia Bakos, Anika Villemaire, Elspeth Cooper and Jillian Fash (coach David Cooper)
- U18 boys: Team Wright, Wyatt Wright, Ky Macaulay, Sam Goodey, Michael Sharp (coach Wayne Macdonald)
- U15: Team Snider, Aidan Snider, Eric Tourigny, Declan Lamontagne, Walker MacTavish (coach Rob Tourigny)
Next up for the Cochrane Curling Club is their annual men's bonspiel, Jan. 24-26.