Saturday, February 2, 2013

Welcome Nunavut

The curler in me says adding more teams to the national championships may dilute things (something I think will soften) but the Canadian in me thinks this is awesome. Nunavut played its first rocks in the M+M Junior and while they didn't win, they were out there.

Al Cameron of the CCA (did I just write that?) wrote this release about the day in Fort Mac.

FORT McMURRAY, Alta. — The scores were immaterial. What was more important was the two teams’ presence on the ice at the CNRL Arena 2.

Teams from Nunavut both went down to defeat in Saturday’s opening draw of the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships.

What was more notable was the fact that it was the first time Nunavut has been represented at the Canadian Juniors. The scores — David Kakuktinniq’s team from Rankin Inlet (third Jamie Airut, second Darren Makkigak, lead Arthur Siksik, coach Kevin Bussey) bowed 14-2 to Saskatchewan’s Brady Scharback (Saskatoon) while 13-year-old Sadie Pinksen and her team from Iqaluit (third Christianne West, second Katie Chislett Manning, lead Emily-Grace Matthews, coach Lynn Kreviazuk) fell 17-3 to Alberta’s Karynn Flory (Edmonton) — didn’t diminish the achievement.

“Coming into this, we were realistic in our expectations,” said Bussey, who also serves as president of the Nunavut Curling Association. “Kudos to the sport of curling because I don’t think any other sport in the world would allow guys who are new to the sport to compete with the world’s best. Our teams are just ecstatic about coming here. It’s a treaty experience, and a lot of people back in Nunavut appreciate the experience as well. To see the kids competing with all the other provinces and territories is just awesome.”

Both Nunavut skips came off the ice with smiles on their face after making their final shots of the game to score a single point before shaking hands with their opponents.

“I was really happy to make the shot,” said Pinksen, who made a draw to the four-foot with her last shot of the game. “I think we all did our best and we’ll do it again in our next game.

“It felt pretty good,” added Kakuktinniq, 19, after his hit-and-stick for a single. “And it feels good to represent  Nunavut. We just want to have fun and improve as much as we can.”

In other opening-round games junior men’s games, Ontario’s Aaron Squires (St. Thomas, Ont.) shaded Alberta’s Thomas Scoffin (Edmonton) 5-4, Mitch Young of the Yukon (Whitehorse) downed Prince Edward Island’s Tyler Smith (Cornwall) 10-3, Nova Scotia’s Stuart Thompson (Halifax) got by Northern Ontario’s Matthew Roberts (Thunder Bay) 7-3, Manitoba’s Matt Dunstone (Winnipeg) was a 12-0 winner over the Northwest Territories’ Daniel Murray (Yellowknife) and New Brunswick’s Josh Barry (Fredericton) knocked off Newfoundland/Labrador’s Adam Boland (Gander) 10-6.

In the other women’s openers, B.C.’s Corryn Brown (Kamloops) beat Saskatchewan’s Jessica Hanson (Saskatoon) 7-5, Newfoundland/Labrador’s Carolyn Suley (St. John’s) got by New Brunswick’s Jessica Daigle (Fredericton) 7-5, Manitoba’s Shannon Birchard (Winnipeg) was a 9-6 winner over Northern Ontario’s Tirzah Keffer (Thunder Bay) and Ontario’s Jamie Sinclair (Manotick) beat Carina McKay-Saturnino of the Northwest Territories (Inuvik) 18-1.

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