It was a Saturday morning in September and Reid Carruthers, Derek Samagalski and Colin Hodgson arrived bright and early at the Co-operators Centre in Regina.
No, they weren’t getting ready for a last-minute tiebreaker to keep their team in contention at the Tour Challenge. The crew had already been eliminated the day before finishing with a disappointing 1-3 round-robin record. Instead of figuring out the fastest route back home to Winnipeg though, the trio was set to run the Junior Grand Slam of Curling program as groups of kids anxiously awaited to hit the ice and learn from their idols.
Founded in 2012, the Junior GSOC gives young curlers the chance to play on world-class arena ice and learn tips of the trade from the pros during Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling events. Four local junior teams participate in a practice session and a game with an elite player assigned to coach each team. The series also makes a donation to junior curling clubs within the community.
Some of Carruthers’ favourite moments happen right there at the start when the young curlers are bouncing full of unbridled energy and soaking in the atmosphere of sliding and sweeping on arena ice with the stars of the game.
“They’re early mornings, we show up on the ice for an 8:30 a.m. practice with the kids and they’re there by 7:30, so to say there’s excitement is an understatement,” Carruthers said. “They’re just so excited to not only get on the ice but to work with some of the curlers that they see on TV, so that part of the program is a whole lot of the fun. Normally at the end of our little training session we play a little two-end game and there are one or two highlight shots that stick …read more