The University of New Brunswick’s curling program is preparing for its third season of Atlantic University Sport action.
The upcoming campaign marks the third since curling returned to UNB after a 25-year hiatus.
Katelyn Kelly, the team’s president, said the deadline to register for both the men’s and women’s UNB competitive curling team’s selection tournament was 12 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 18.
“The ice is now in at the Fredericton Capital Winter Club,” she said. “Several competitive curlers have taken advantage of the summer curling league at the Moncton Beausejour Curling Club.”
So in some ways, Kelly said, the curling season is well underway, but the selection tournament runs well into November so everyone can get on the ice before the selection games begin.
“It’s too early at this stage to determine the full level of interest, as registrations are still coming in,” she said.
In 2013, UNB hosted the AUS curling championships at the Fredericton Capital Winter Club. Team Jennifer Armstrong went on to represent UNB at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport tournament in Regina, Sask.
Last year, Team Josh Barry represented UNB at the CIS curling nationals in Waterloo, ON.
This year’s AUS Curling Championships will be hosted by St. Francis Xavier University at the Highlander Curling Club near Antigonish, N.S. from Feb. 19 to 21, 2016.
“Registration information will be sent out later this fall to the UNB teams advancing to the AUS,” said Kelly. “The top two men’s and women’s teams from the AUS will advance to the CIS Championship in Kelowna, B.C. from March 20 to 23, 2016.”
Kelly, a third-year UNB sciences student, said the expectations for UNB’s curling program this year are that both teams will be competitive.
“The AUS is typically strong competition as well,” she said. “For the two teams heading to the CIS, you can expect junior nationals level completion, as many of the teams have full university support and teams that are returning and have been together for one or more years.”
Kelly said that, while it’s important to compete at the highest level of the sport, it’s also crucial to carry UNB’s colours and honours at the AUS championships and, hopefully, the CIS tournament.
“The regional and national stage is important recognition for our university,” she said. “It is an exceptional honour on behalf of your university, I know for the competing students, just to be there.”
Kelly said that, as president of UNB Competitive Curling, she’s proud to see such a popular sport return to UNB.
She thanked UREC program manager James Cress for his support and for allowing the curling program to be part of the UREC Sport Club program.