Canada’s national sport hosting open tryouts

After taking the silver medal in the OUA championships, qualifying for the National Championships in Winnipeg, and gaining the privilege to host the Provincial championships for 2008, the Lancers curling teams are now hosting open tryouts to anyone interested in curling in preparation for the new season.

The men’s and women’s Lancer curling teams are hosting open tryouts at the Roseland Golf and Curling Club on Saturday Oct. 20 and Sunday Oct. 21 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. to restock their ranks after they saw many of their teammates graduate last season.

Curling head coach mark Masonavich predicts he’ll see a decent amount of interested students. “We usually get 20 or so for tryouts, but we need some fresh meat, so to speak,” he said. There’s no need to register for the tryouts, or to even call in advance, just a pair of sneakers and a warm sweater, says Masonavich.

The coach said, “I’ve been curling my whole life, since I was a kid, to now through my work here at Roseland, coaching juniors and high schools and university.” And with that experience, the Lancers succeeded in earning a silver medal in the OUA provincial championships, and qualified to play of the national title out in Winnipeg, falling one point short of making it into the championship round. Masonavich was impressed with the fervor with which citizens of Manitoba take their curling while he and the men’s team were competing.

“[The men’s team] went to the CIS national championship … and the women’s team we’re building, [of which] we’ve got a lot of the core of that team back. The men’s team is in a rebuilding year. We lost half the team over the summer with a lot of people graduating. It’s open tryouts, too. There’s no predetermined teams,” said the coach.

“A lot of curlers think it’s our national sport, although that’s a contentious issue,” laughed Masonavich. “I really like everything about it. You gotta do something in the winter,” he said.

Newbies coming for the free clinic can expect a lot of slipping, sliding and falling for their first time out, and Masonavich expects they’ll learn that there’s a lot more physical impact in curling than the inexperienced may expect. “You get different types of injuries,” says Masonavich, “as it can be very aerobic, when you’re sweeping, and there’s a lot of cardio, when you have to get your heart rate down.” And aiming your next rock while you’re heart’s racing from sweeping requires a level of fitness one might not have figured. “There are great people, it’s a great athletic sport for people who are real athletes,” said the coach. “It’s actually very difficult, the people on the varsity team are very good at other sports as well. The team captain [was] the 200 meter US National champion, who went on with a scholarship at Columbia,” said Masonavich.

Anyone who comes out and enjoys their time on the rink, but doesn’t feel they fit the varsity squad, can still sign up for intramural curling. Says curler and Roseland employee Jonathan Power, “There is a varsity Lancer curling team and there is also an intramural curling league, both hosted out of the Roseland Golf and Country Club, on Wednesday nights.”

As hosts for the Ontario championships on the second week of February, Masonavich is hoping to have a strong team. “Only the top four teams make it, the top four men, the top four women, and that will be great,” he said. “We want to make sure we get one or both of our teams in the provincial championship,” he announced.

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