Humber’s curling program is using a two-pronged approach to strengthen the varsity team’s presence at the college.
Humber Hawks’ athletics manager, Jim Bialek, stresses the importance of having two teams for both men and women, as well as one mixed gender team, as a way to create a strong base for the sport at Humber. Hawks curling is the only club in the OCAA that sends two teams to each event.
“Curling is a relatively new sport here at Humber,” Bialek said. “So with a new sport, you’ve got to ensure the longevity of the sport, which means you carry more players and provide more competition for those players.”
Bialek explains it as investing in the future of the curling program at Humber.
“We want to ensure that next year we come back with players,” Bialek said. “It’s commonly referred to as ‘restocking the shelf’, and it happens a number of times over the years.”
The question does come up, however. Does having an ‘A Team’ and a ‘B Team’ breed rivalry or support between the teams?
“I think it’s a great thing, competition breeds competition,” said Bialek. “These athletes are battling for spots, it’s an opportunity to grow the sport, develop the sport and compete.”
Genevieve Bernier, lead for the Women’s A Team, likes having a second team in the division, but for reasons of morale.
“It is nice to have the extra support since curling is a hard sport to get a fan base,” Bernier said.
Bernier explained that it’s difficult for fans to support the team due to the off-campus games and practices at
Weston Country Club, but said having so many people on teams is, “like having our own support system.”
Ray Chateau, Humber athletic director, agrees the two-team system creates a supportive atmosphere.
“The program begins in October and championships are not until mid February, so there’s a lot of room for players to play well and move themselves,” said Chateau.
One men’s team, one women’s team, and one mixed gender team, plus alternates, will be sent to the provincial championships hosted by Sault College, Feb. 13-16.