Curling fans behind the glass were treated to fantastic shot-making in the final game of the Nova Scotia 2019 Mixed Championship. Last Sunday, Team Burgess defeated Team Arsenault in the semi-final to move on to the championship game. Team Burgess was the winners by an 8-3 score over Team Moore in the final. The team will represent Nova Scotia at the 2020 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship in Saguenay, Quebec held November 4-9, 2019. Team members were (from left) Skip Peter Burgess, Third Colleen Jones, Second Luke Saunders, and Lead Lindsey Burgess. (Photos by Mary Hankey)

PORT HAWKESBURY: Last weekend, members of the Strait Area Community Curling Club proved that, while the Scotties Tournament of Hearts was a great success on the east side of the island, Sydney isn’t the only Cape Breton community that can host a national-level event.

“It was a great atmosphere, and everybody had a great time,” local curler Tom Wagar said last Sunday, just hours after the SACCC hosted the final game of the Nova Scotia 2019 Mixed Championship.

“There were three world championships at our club. I went to the championship today, and they were making some phenomenal shots.”

Barry Thompson skipped the lone team from the Strait Area Community Curling Club for the 2019 Mixed Curling Championship.

In the championship, Team Burgess (including Peter and Lindsey Burgess, Colleen Jones, and Luke Saunders) got the drop on Team Moore (Tony and Sheena Moore, Nelson Rice, and Jill Thomas).

The SACCC was represented at the event by Team Thompson, which was skipped by local curler Barry Thompson. Wagar was tossing rocks with Thompson, as were Meranda Fitzgerald and Iris Stanley.

Meranda Fitzgerald sends a rock down the ice. She and three other members of the SACCC competed against some of Canada’s best curlers last weekend.
Second Tom Wagar calls the line on his rock during play in Team Thompson’s game in Draw 6 against Team MacDougall. With several blanks ends, the close game ended up with a win for Team MacDougall.
Iris Stanley was working hard at the Mixed Curling Championship. She and Team Thompson represented the local area at last weekend’s big event.

Wagar said that the local squad was competitive during its six round robin games.

“Barry made sure we had an entry, and all the other teams we cured against were quite appreciative that we had a local team,” Wagar said. “I think they liked seeing fans out cheering us on.

“And in addition to our team, we had to have some spares available. One of our members ended up filling in for at least one game.”

Bill Butts, along with a number of volunteers including Hugh Ross, made the ice for the event, and Wagar said it’s hard to find a better sheet of ice than what Butts and company lay out.

The ice makers weren’t the only volunteers pitching in. The kitchen staff made sure food and drinks were on hand, and others worked hard to make sure everything went smoothly.

“It sounds like everyone thought it was a great atmosphere,” Wagar said.

Catherine Haley from the Strait Area Community Curling Club spared for Team Dexter in their game again Team Rafuse on Thursday afternoon. Tied coming home, Team Rafuse picked up one in the last end for the win.

Fan attendance was abundant at the four-day event, and that included folks who aren’t generally spotted at the SACCC. Wagar said now might be a good time for people to come out and toss a couple of rocks for the first time.

“I’d be surprised if we don’t see some new people come out. In addition to that, our local curlers realize, you know, if we put a little more practice into it, we can be competitive as well,” Wagar said.

“An event like this helps the whole club.”

Wagar said that the club is hoping to hold the Nova Scotia Mixed Championship again next year. The prospect of having the event return next season is something to which Jill Landry, communications officer for the club, is looking forward.

“We’re working very hard to make sure we can do this again next year,” she told The Reporter last Monday. “Now that we did it once, we can’t wait to do it again. It’ll be great for the club and the town with the amount of business it brought in.”

She said the teams seemed to have a great time.

The runners-up in the 2019 Mixed Provincials was Team Moore from the Halifax Curling Club. They were the top team in the preliminary round with a 4-2 record, but fell to Team Burgess in the final game.

“I remember one comment was ‘I love coming to the smaller clubs because they feed us.’ It’s nice to know people appreciate coming to the smaller clubs because of the homey feeling you get,” she said.

While the SACCC might be relatively small as opposed to what larger areas offer, the volunteer base is large and well-regarded.

“Everyone worked really hard to make sure everything went smoothly,” Landry said.