A positive experience

LUCAS PUNKARI/DAILY HERALD Saskatchewan’s Rylan Kleiter and Manitoba’s J.T. Ryan square off under the bright lights Saturday night at the Art Hauser Centre as their men’s semifinal game at the 2019 New Holland Canadian Juniors was aired nationally on TSN.

During his speech Sunday at the closing ceremonies of the 2019 New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships at the Art Hauser Centre, event chair Bryan Rindal’s main message to the crowd was just how overwhelmed he was with the response that he got from how the event.

“It was all very positive from the curlers, coaches and parents, and a lot of that comes from the work that those involved with preparing the ice, our volunteers and everyone else at the Art Hauser Centre and Prince Albert Golf and Curling Club did,” Rindal said.

“Everything ran flawlessly and everyone here was trying to help out the curlers if they needed anything.”

One of the things that Rindal was impressed by was the feedback he received from the 122 competitors that came from across the country to vie for the men’s and women’s titles, which were won by Tyler Tardi of British Columbia and Selena Sturmay of Alberta. 

“I couldn’t believe how courteous all of them were,” Rindal said. “As a coach, I know it doesn’t always work out that way. This is a special group of young athletes.”

According to Curling Canada’s communications and media relations manager Kyle Jahns, that positive feedback about the host committee’s job was something that they got to hear about firsthand from the players, coaches and parents.

“They did an absolutely outstanding job,” Jahns said. “Prince Albert is no stranger when it comes to hosting events like this and you can see that with the amount of people in the community who have helped out.

“The sport of curling that is something that those involved are very invested in, and you can see that with the amount of pride they had in hosting the juniors.”

Although there were no sell-out crowds during the week, the best atmosphere was easily on Saturday night when Saskatchewan’s Rylan Kleiter went up against Manitoba’s J.T. Ryan in the men’s semifinal.

“That was a fun night,” Rindal said. “We had done an ‘Up Close and Personal’ event with the guys on Thursday after we knew they made the semifinals, and I told them to phone all of their buddies at school in Saskatoon and have them come up to the semis wearing green.

“They came out in full force and that was really appreciated.”

Outside of Prince Albert, Curling Canada was blown away by the response they got from streaming games for the first time during the round-robin, as they teamed up with Big Drum Media to broadcast a game from each draw at the Art Hauser Centre on Facebook.

“It really amazed us just how many people tuned in, especially those from outside of Canada as we had viewers from Brazil and Cuba during the week,” Jahns said. “Big Drum Media played a huge role in that as everything ran smoothly.”

When it comes to hosting another major curling event in Prince Albert, Rindal said that those involved behind the scenes will take some time to reflect on this past week before throwing their hat in the ring again.

“This was a 20-year dream that a group of us at the Curling Club had to bring a national event to Prince Albert,” Rindal said.

“We got the template now and I’m sure we’ll look at bringing in more events. However we still have to go over our final reports before we make any plans.”

Curling Canada will be back in Saskatchewan in Feb. 2020 for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, while the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling will hold their Humpty’s Champions Cup competition in Saskatoon this April.