The men's curling team didn't get the breaks they wanted in the closing game of the Atlantic University Curling Championship today at the Capital Winter Club.
The Varsity Reds men's squad is coached by Daryl Nowland and skipped by Josh Barry. Daniel Wenzek is the Third, Daniel Prest the Second and Mitchell Small the Lead. The alternate was Kerry MacLean.
The men fought their way to the "B" final of the event only to be stymied by a tough Saint Mary's squad and came away with an 8-3 loss after having defeated UPEI earlier in the day. In yesterday's action UNB defeated St.FX and lost to SMU.
SMU will join MUN as the second Atlantic team that will compete at the CIS Championships in Regina, March 19-23.
Despite the men's loss the weekend was a win-win for UNB curling having been re-established as a Varsity Reds team after, it is believed, a 25 year drought of the sport.
There are a number of people who were responsible for coordinating the weekend and Stephen Kelly, UNB Curling Team President, was very pleased with the efforts of all involved.
"It's been on outstanding weekend. The teams made a great effort to get here (weather factor) and I believe they've found the whole tournament was to their liking from the clubhouse, the ice, to the format of the tournament, and the camaraderie of the teams, said Kelly.
"It's taken me back actually just how much this championship means to the students themselves and the honour of playing for their university. Needless to say we're pleased as punch that UNB is back in the fold and very competitive and we have one team going to the nationals," he continued.
The Capital Winter Club and its members are no stranger to hosting quality events and the Fredericton community recently hosted the World senior and mixed doubles curling championships.
"The CWC is one of the most vibrant curling clubs in Atlantic Canada. We've got a great a volunteer base here. The viewing of the ice shed makes it particularly comfortable to sit and watch the events on the ice and it makes it easier to coordinate an event like this when you have great facilities, the technical people, and the volunteers," said Kelly.
With one team heading off to nationals and one team just missing the grade Kelly and company would like UNB to continue to grow the sport on campus.
"I think there's a great deal of interest to have curling reestablished at UNB and I believe that's been firmly entrenched by this experience and since the first meeting when 22 people showed up. I'm not sure why more students didn't try-out, perhaps they saw the strength of the teams that were forming and perhaps they stepped back from that," said Kelly.
"Next year I would like to see more teams try out in the selection tournament. We would also like to work with the UNB dorms to re-establish recreational curling. Perhaps have a couple of sheets of ice available for them to come over and enjoy themselves; engaging the students over here at the CWC," he continued.
Maureen Sparks, UNB Sports Information
Photo: Orville Scott