Drawing from a love of that roaring game

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The girls are headed to Stirling Ontario for the COSSA playdowns.

By Terrance Gavan

You may hurry hard or get right the heck off.

But please listen to your skip.

He – or she – is the one with the perennially pained expression on da’ mug.

Or the glare.

A skip is either cauldron of measured calm; or a roiling kettle of unfettered decibels.

Curling y’all.

It ain’t called the roaring game for nuthin’.

Monday morning five girls and four guys will depart Haliburton High School for Stirling, with some brooms, shiny shoes, hollow lungs and high hopes.

On the line?

A shot at the COSSA championship.

Only one boys and one girls team will emerge from the mix as the Central Ontario champs.

The champions will travel to Thunder Bay to represent COSSA in the OFSAA provincial bonspiel at the end of March.

Kathy Hutson is the coach of the Haliburton girls’ curling team.

She is in charge of five girls; all in grade ten; and all curling buddies from Minden.

Most have been spinning rocks since they were very young. They came up through the popular Timbits program – Minden is hosting the Ontario Timbits curling spiel at the end of March – and during a chat on Monday at the high school all five concurred that their happiness scale was tipping high side on the Bell curve. (Oops. They still doing that?)

“We love curling,” says Laura Pottier, the skip of this young and feisty club, who this year defied all odds by winning the B-Side event in the Kawartha finals.

The boys foursome also won the B-Side event last week in Campbellford.

Both boys and girls teams slid into the Kawartha finals as the last seeds. But made up for that low seed with some high-falutin’ shotmaking.

Thus they’ve already defied some odds. The guys backed into the Kawartha championships after forfeiting several games because of prior commitments to the Gore Provincial tourney – they won the Bronze medal at the Gores.

But like the girls team, they managed to breeze through the Kawartha championships with one loss.

Of the two teams, the guys probably have the best shot at advancing to the provincials. Owen Duhaime and Jesse Walker have both been curling for the Red Hawks for several years. Mike Mazara is in his second year and Tyler Warham is the only rookie.

The young women comprise the first girls’ team to compete at Hal High in six years. All are rookies.

But they’ve surprised everyone so far and they all agree they’re ready. Rabbits appear from top hats, so why not?

“We started with Timbits,” says Pottier. Now they’re curling in the Monday night women’s league in Minden.

They have no idea who they’ll be playing on Monday, but they’ll be ready. Holly Broderick is the vice, Emily Shapiera is the second and Shannon Bittner and Alana Bannister share lead duties.

Shapiera and Pottier both started curling in grade three, and the other three all started in elementary school.

The girls say the highlight of their year came last week in their first game.

They knocked off top seed IE Weldon 10-6. “That was probably the highlight of our year,” says Hutson.

They won their second game 6-4 in extra ends over Thomas A Stewart (TASS). A 7-1 loss on Friday to Campbellford forced a rematch with TASS which the girls won handily 7-4.

All five girls have already laid down the gauntlet. “Not a lot of teams expected us to do this well,” says Pottier. “We think we have a chance, even though we haven’t got too much respect.”

Motivation for the girls?

“Thunder Bay … a week off school.” The answer delivered with collective chuckles, and in unison.

“We should give credit to Scottie Boyd and he does skill development and attends all of our competitions; and his wife Jane Boyd is also very involved,” says Hutson. Hutson is also assisted by MRS&*^%$#@ Shapiera.

Meanwhile, boys coaches Tom Dibblee and Russ Duhaime are being cautious. The guys are ready. I met them for a chat and some photos last Monday during their regular men’s league game.

They are looking for some payback, expecting to see Moira Collegiate from Belleville in the COSSA’s.

A little bit of history there. Moira defeated Hal High in a shortened three ender at the Gore’s in Ottawa. Moira Secondary went on to win the silver and the Hawks had to settle for bronze. However, Walker was missing on the opening day and Mazara was out with bronchitis for the rest of the games, so all four guys are eager to get another shot at Moira, a team with some symmetric karma going on.

Moira’s team is made up of Daniel Meeks, Mac Calwell, Morgan Calwell and Riley Calwell. Hawks, one could assume, are hoping that the Calwell clan are not as dead eye as the Earp brothers.

The Hawks advanced last week to the finals on the basis of a 3-1 record. They beat IE Weldon (11-4), Brock (7-6), lost 7-6 to St Peter’s and then went on to beat St. Thomas 7-2. They won the rematch against St. Peter’s 8-6 in the B-Side final.

Both teams hit the road on Sunday night or Monday morning for the 2.5 hour road trip to Stirling, near Belleville.

Email gav@countyvoicesports.com/ twitter.com/terrancegavan[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]