Do you know Thomas Scoffin? He’s a remarkable curling story. He’s 17 and on Friday he’ll start his sixth M+M Canadian Junior in Napanee, Ont.
That’s right, 17 and his sixth championship.
I can remember interviewing Scoffin when he was 12 and playing in his first championship down in St. Catharines. He was a nervous little kid back then. Now he’s a grizzled veteran. At 17.
And he’s coming in with some international experience, having skipped a mixed team at the Youth Winter Olympics last month in Austria.
In a Canadian Press story, he talks about how he’ll approach the Canadian final having seen the world.
“Now that I’ve seen international competition, the Canadian juniors is an incredibly tough competition,” said Scoffin.
“It’s a long grind and it takes a lot of hard work to make it htrough the week,” he said. “To finish on a positive not is probably one of the biggest accomplishments a Canadian curler could ever have.”
Assiniboia is the little town that can, says Murry McCormick in his Leader-Post story. That’s where the Sask Tel Saskatchewan men’s final will be held and it’s one of the few larger provinces that hosts the final in a curling club as opposed to an arena.
And there’s also the small matter of where everyone is going to stay.
Accommodating the curlers and fans away from the facility has been a challenge. The community lost the Franklin Hotel and Bar, and approximately 40 hotel rooms, in a fire on Dec. 16, 2009. The motel portion has been rebuilt, but Greensides estimates there are approximately 80 hotel rooms in the town. The Saskatchewan Curling Association's hosting requirements for a provincial men's championship is between 90 and 100 hotel rooms.
Speaking of hosting, the US men’s championship is going to Pennsylvania, not far from Philadelphia. It’s the first time it’s been in the East for as long as any one can remember and that means real live media attention. The Curling Show’s Dean Gemmell who is a player in the competition and was on the site survey committee said it’s big, big, big having it here.
“I think a lot, actually,” said Gemmell when asked how much the sport’s profile can be raised with a tournament of this magnitude. “I talked to Terry Kolesar of the USA Curling Association and she said it’s the first time they’ve had media credential requests put in from ESPN and Sports Illustrated for a national event, so that’s exciting."