The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds came up big at the inaugural Atlantic University Sport Curling Championship, beating the Saint Mary’s Huskies 9-5 in the final.
Despite this being only the second year that UNB has fielded a team since 1992, the team has quickly become a legitimate contender for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship.
The team’s recent success can be attributed in large part to the excellent leadership of their current skip, Josh Barry.
Barry, who started curling at the age of seven, has always held a passion for the sport.
“I think it really piqued my interest because it’s such a mentally testing and strategic sport unlike many others, not to mention extremely physically testing at the highest level, and I challenge those who don’t agree with me to try it themselves,” he joked. “Now, 16 years later I’m still obsessed with the sport, which has allowed me to make so many incredible friends and visit many places all over the world that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise.”
According to Barry, one of the main contributing factors to the team’s success is the wealth of experience provided by its members.
“Most of us have had the good fortune of attending a national event before, so despite CIS being new to all of us, we know what we’re getting ourselves into. The preparation won’t change a whole lot from what we’ve been doing all year in terms of practice and fitness.”
Having been successful on the international stage — he helped bring home the bronze for Canada at the 2013 World Junior Curling Championship — Barry believes the team has what it takes to beat the competition and take home the CIS title.
“Having had the experience of playing at the top level of curling, we’re all expecting to go into the CIS championships knowing that all the other teams will be bringing their A-game,” said Barry. “That said, I’ve played just about everyone there before and realize that we can beat anyone if we play well.”
Despite playing at such a high level, Barry believes that representing his university brings a new level of excitement to the competition.
“Since I travel out of the Maritimes for most of my regular season events, the AUS tournament was relatively small, but by no means a lower level of intensity. When you’re playing for your university there isn’t just your own pride on the line, you want to perform for the V-Reds, which makes it exciting.”
Looking to the future, Barry has high hopes for the AUS curling league.
“The competition at AUS this year was a bit scattered. I feel as though now that it’s integrated into the AUS system, it will entice a lot more curlers to look into curling at their respective universities – therefore producing better teams,” said Barry.
Barry, Andrew Burgess, Alex Robichaud and Alex Sutherland will be representing the Varsity Reds at the eighth CIS/CCA Curling Championship hosted by Wilfred Laurier University from March 18-21.