Local curlers in competition at Calgary mixed-doubles

·2 min read

STRATHROY - In quarantine, local curling champions Kim and Wayne Tuck are far from home, but happy to be there.

Team Tuck is one of 35 teams competing for $150,000 in the 2021 Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Calgary. The tournament follows a bubble-style format like the hockey World Juniors in Edmonton. Players move from their hotel room to the arena, but not much further.

“We had a pre-test 72 hours ago, then a PCR test upon arrival, and we just went for our swab today,” recounts Kim Tuck. Forced to fly out of Toronto, she says the airport was eerily quiet.

The couple are experienced curlers and won the 2014 event, moving on to represent Canada in the World Championships in Scotland that year. They’re hoping to replicate that performance this year.

Their home club in Ilderton made the tough decision to stay closed due to the pandemic, so Wayne and Kim are representing the St. Thomas club this year, who fostered them in. “The ice technician there, Kevin Breivik, was great, and gave us all the time we needed,” adds Kim, thankfully.

Teams will first play six round-robin games, from 18-23 March. The top 12 teams will enter playoffs on 23 and 24 March, followed by the gold medal game tomorrow. After that whirlwind week, it’ll be back on the plane for all teams. Curling Canada is taking no risks with safety, it would appear.

The teams were chosen largely based on 2019 results, as little to no competitive play has occurred since March 2020. The winner of the tournament will take home $50,000, along with the chance to represent Canada at the World Championship, if it happens.

The hub city Calgary was home to the 2021 Scotties and the Tim Hortons Brier curling championships earlier this year. Games can be viewed on television via TSN.

McKinley Leonard-Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner