It’s been an up and down season for the curling teams at Red Deer College and the season essentially hasn’t even started.
In fact, there was a point back in May where the curling program at RDC was not going to hit the ice at all due to a financial issue but the money was found through the Athletic Leadership Fund.
“They told us if we could find money to put into that for curling we would be allowed to continue with the curling team,” said head coach Brad Hamilton. “Right now it’s (funding ) that is kind of a yearly thing. We found some outside money that, a person who wishes to remain anonymous, they committed to this year and said they’d look at it on a year-to-year basis.”
The program will have a somewhat different look in spite of a very encouraging introduction meeting earlier this year where 18 women and 11 men showed up but at this point with tryouts underway there are only five men and eight ladies so the college will ice a men’s and ladies’ team but no mixed squad this year, he said.
Hamilton added the number drop off wasn’t from anyone being cut but more to the point of students realizing the commitment to the sport, school work and a job.
This past weekend at the Pidherney Centre in Red Deer the college sent three teams to take part in the Elks Junior Curling Bonspiel where the players would try to earn a spot on the teams and get to know each other before heading into the ACAC season.
“We haven’t totally decided who is skipping the men’s team this year so we had two guys skipping two different teams this weekend.”
There are only three returnees to the curling teams this year.
Jeff Ireland who was the mixed team’s lead last season along with women’s team veterans Kaitlyn Sherrer and Julie Primrose.
Hamilton feels there is some very good talent to choose from on the women’s side of the group, expecting there will be no problem fielding a strong team and there are four very good players taking to the ice for men’s team as well, he said.
“The men are going to have a learning curve and the women with the skip and third back should be right in the mix this year,” he said about the college’s chances in the very competitive ACAC league.