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Team Bottcher inspires future curling stars at Taber Curling Club

Posted on March 28, 2024 by Vauxhall Advance

By Brylan Span
Vauxhall Advance
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Taber Curling Club was abuzz with excitement as Alberta’s own Team Bottcher (minus Marc Kennedy) visited the rink to lead a curling clinic for junior curlers. Organised by UFA, the Rural Rocks Curling Clinic that was held on March 12 saw close to 50 enthusiastic young curlers gather for a day filled with coaching, camaraderie, and fun.

Skip Brendan Bottcher, Second Brett Gallant, and Lead Ben Hebert, led the juniors. The team is quite accomplished, with numerous Olympic medals as well as Brier wins between them. As of March 18, they are ranked third in the world curling rankings, and first among Canadian teams.

They were impressed by the talent displayed by the junior curlers and spoke highly of the warm welcome they received at the Taber Curling Club. The juniors had the opportunity to interact with the team, ask questions ranging from curling techniques to more lighthearted topics, and even snag autographs and pictures with their curling idols.

Lace Lutz, President of the Taber Curling Club, expressed her gratitude to UFA for organising the event and praised the volunteers and parents whose efforts ensured its success. She highlighted the pivotal role played by Barb Haynes, the club’s Junior Coordinator, whose dedication has seen the junior program thrive like never before. “(Haynes) has grown our junior program to the biggest it’s ever been this year,” said Lutz. “We’ve never had this many juniors in our junior program. She has done an amazing job.”

Lutz also spoke on how important it is for longevity of the club to have the younger generation of curlers to be inspired to continue with the sport. “The juniors are the future of our club,” said Lutz. With many rural curling clubs in southern Alberta having to close their doors, Lutz explained “if you don’t have a good junior program, then it’s kind of inevitable that your club will just slowly lose numbers and if no one is moving up to fill those spots then it’s kind of the end of your life.” Lutz says Team Bottchers encouragement will play a big role in keeping the younger generation curling. “You could really see it in their faces that it totally boosted their love of curling,” said Lutz. “That will help us inevitably if they stick around, and whether they curl competitively or put in a rec team in the future, we just want junior curlers to stick with it and continue to curl.” Haynes also spoke on how the encouragement will influence the middle to high school aged curlers, saying “A couple of them are already dabbling in zones and trying to get started competitively, so I think it had a big impact on them.”

Haynes shared the sentiment of the juniors’ enjoyment, stating “The juniors were so engaged, especially the older ones that kind of know a little bit about them, they were in awe.” “I’ve never seen them on such good behaviour, all of them,” joked Haynes.

The clinic was also followed by a Q&A, which Haynes said “was very good, very well done, very organised. My little kids were asking them questions like ‘Do you have a pet,’ but the older kids were just so good with them. They were really asking lots of deep questions of ‘How do you get there’, and ‘what do you need to do’, and ‘how many hours are expected.’ And they were great with the kids.”

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