This past Saturday, 7 April 2012 the Golden Hawks Curling HPC hosted the inaugural bantam-age talent identification camp at the Kitchener-Waterloo Granite Club. Thirty bantam-aged players, all from the top bantam boys and girls teams in Ontario, participated. Girls rinks included Chelsea Brandwood, Kim Gannon, Samantha Morris and Molly Greenwood, while boys rinks included Connor Joudrey, Spencer Borotsik, and Andre Lima. The camp was organized by Jim Waite, CCA National coach, along with national Junior coaches Scott Arnold from London, ON and former Canadian Women’s champion and 1992 Olympic bronze medalist Melissa Soligo of Victoria, BC.
For the players, activities included a one-hour talk by Dr. Jill Tracey of Wilfrid Laurier University on aspects of mental toughness as they relate to the sport of curling. Following that, the players got on the ice to be assessed at their shot-making skills. Organized by Scott Arnold and Melissa Soligo, varsity athletes from the Golden Hawks curling program at WLU scored the players performing a variety of shots, from raise-takeouts, to draws, to freezes, ending with tests on their ability to throw stones to match a specific time measured between the hog lines. Finally, the players were taken outside – fortunately it was a lovely spring day – and run through a series of athletic ability tests conducted by Jamie Carlson of the HPC staff.
Coaches of the bantam teams were treated to a separate off-ice program. First, Golden Hawks HPC Director Gary Crossley spoke about athlete development with respect to curling, followed by a detailed presentation by Jim Waite on the latest brushing research that has been conducted by the Canadian Curling Association. Finally, to close the day, HPC coach and WLU women’s coach Maurice Wilson spoke on the process towards athletic success that is followed in the curling program at WLU.
This one-day camp was a pilot program sponsored by Canada’s Own the Podium, with the plan being for similar camps to be held across Canada to identify younger curling talent and select specific athletes for additional development. Test scores for all of the athletes will be retained and used to monitor both individual progress and set national standards for comparison.
The staff of the Golden Hawks HPC were delighted to act as the hosts for this pilot camp and we look forward to future events that are targeted at bantam- and junior-age high performance athletes. Our thanks to Jim Uhrig and his staff at the K-W Granite Club for making the day run smoothly.