As the voice of curling and numerous other sporting events on TSN for over three decades, Vic Rauter has had the chance to travel all over Canada.
However, this past weekend marked his first ever trip to Prince Albert as he served as the guest speaker for the Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club’s 50th anniversary celebration.
“I think like most people who aren’t from Saskatchewan, I assumed that everything would be flat like most of the province,” Rauter said. “That’s not the case at all, as there’s quite a bit of topography thanks to the (North Saskatchewan) River and the valley.
“I didn’t get a chance to do as much exploring as I would have liked, but I did get a chance to visit (John) Diefenbaker’s House. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to come back here for the New Holland Canadian Juniors in January and see more of the city then.”
In between sharing stories about his travels across the country, Rauter also praised the great support the club has had over the years, which was a point shared by guests of honour Sherry Anderson and Ron Stewart.
“All you have to do is look at the people that have already signed up to be volunteers for the Canadian Juniors or the people that helped to renovate the T. Gordon Thompson Room that we are in tonight,” Rauter said. “I think a lot of that has do with the people that are proud of their community, especially those who were born and raised here.”
The support between local golfers and curlers isn’t the case across the country, especially in Toronto where many curling clubs have shut their doors.
“I think the problem there is that there’s a bit of an unholy alliance between the two and the golfers are usually upset with the curlers taking advantage of their situation,” Rauter said. “With that said, I think the golfers have to realize that it wasn’t for the curlers keeping the lights on in the winter at these places, they might as well shut down.
“There’s a great understanding here between the two sides. There’s a solid footing here with the little rocks programs for young curlers and you are able to bring those kids in the door, which could lead them to becoming future members.”
Although he’s not sure as of yet if he will serve as the main announcer for the New Holland Canadian Juniors at the Art Hauser Centre in January, Rauter is looking forward to seeing some of the future stars of the game battle it out.
“You look at the likes of Stefanie Lawton and Colton Flasch here in Saskatchewan, or even a two time Olympic gold medal winner in John Morris,” Rauter said. “They both had to get their start somewhere.
“There’s university and college curling in our country, but it’s not at the level of what we see in the United States for football and basketball as they move on to the pros. The junior curling programs are the proving ground for many of those that end up going on to the Brier or the Scotties.”
Rauter, along with colour commentators Cheryl Bernard and Russ Howard, will begin their coverage of the 2018-19 curling campaign in December as they will travel to Estevan for the Canada Cup
This season marks one of change for numerous rinks around Canada as they gear up for another Olympic cycle.
“There’s a handful of teams like Brad Jacobs’ who have elected to stay together, but there’s so many that have decided to blow things up and start from scratch,” Rauter said.
“Some of those new rinks may not be together at the end of this season as they try and figure out the right fit for each other. Obviously they hope that’s not the case, but I think you’ll see everything set into place by the time we’re two years out from the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.”