U SPORTS and Curling Canada announced Monday the student-athletes and coaches who will represent Canada in curling at the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Winter World University Games.
The Canadian women will be represented by the University of Alberta Pandas, while the Dalhousie Tigers will wear Canadian colours on the men’s side. Both teams secured their participation in the FISU Games by winning the qualifying tournament in Ottawa last weekend.
The 31st edition of the multi-sport event is set for January 12 to 22, with the curling tournament running from Jan. 13 to 21. Canada will be looking to stay on the podium on the men’s side, after claiming silver in Russia in 2019. The women will try to bounce back from a 5th-place finish at the last Games, after two podiums in 2015 (silver in Granada, Spain) and 2017 (gold in Almaty, Kazakhstan).
It will be another opportunity to shine on the international scene for the Pandas, who were to wear the maple leaf last year in Lucerne – before those Games were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The team will consist of Abby Marks (Red Deer, AB), Catherine Clifford (Chauvin, AB), Brianna Cullen (Dauphin, MB), Paige Papley (Edmonton, AB) and Serena Gray-Withers (Winnipeg, MB).
Of the group, Papley is the only one to have taken part in the FISU Games in 2019. However, it was not her lone international experience, as she won the silver medal at the 2019 World Junior Championship with teammate Abby Marks.
The victory in the qualifying tournament, where the Alberta team did not lose a single game (6-0), is part of a particularly promising start to the season for the Pandas. Cullen, Clifford and Gray-Withers showed good form in early September, winning the first-ever Curling Canada U25 NextGen Classic in Edmonton.
“It feels pretty good,” said skip Abby Marks when asked about their performance in the women’s final. “The team played great, and we stuck to our game plan. That’s all you can ask for.”
“Super excited to represent Canada in Lake Placid,” said Marks. “Looking forward to it.”
The women's team will be coached by Amanda St. Laurent in this 10-team tournament. Canada's first game is scheduled for January 13, 2023 at 2:00 pm EST against South Korea.
“I am beyond thrilled,” said St. Laurent about winning the FISU Qualifier. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”
“They’re each individuals, so it’s just about understanding what each of them need,” said St. Laurent when asked about how she approaches her coaching duties with this team. “I give them 110% and they do their own thing to prepare as well.”
“We’ll do a little more training once we get closer to the event,” said St. Laurent when asked about how they’ll prep for Lake Placid. “These players have their own individual women’s teams, so they’ll go off and do their own thing. There will be some planning that needs to be done, and we’ll meet again in December to get prepped.”
On the men's side, the team made up of Owen Purcell (Halifax, NS), Jeffrey Meagher (Halifax, NS), Adam McEachren (Truro, NS), David McCurdy (Truro, NS), and Caelan McPherson (Halifax, NS) has just written history. With their 8-5 win over Wilfrid Laurier in the finals, they became the first Atlantic University Sports (AUS) representatives to qualify for the FISU Games in curling.
“Oh my goodness. I’m really excited,” said Dalhousie Tigers skip Owen Purcell after the win. “It feels great. Just the chance to get to wear the Maple Leaf is fantastic.”
“The guys played great,” added Purcell. “I missed a couple shots [in the final]. It wasn’t my finest work, but the guys played a really solid game which allowed us to get ahead early and hold onto that lead and get that hammer in the last end.”
The four-time defending AUS champions will now wear the Canadian colours in Lake Placid, led by head coach Anthony Purcell.
“They’re a fiery bunch,” said Purcell when asked about his team and their performance. “I don’t need to do much to get them going. I’m there for easy discussion and chat about little improvements. We’ll fine tune things.”
“We’ll get as much practice time in together as we can [ahead of the Games]. They can all shoot, but we’ll try to spend as much time together as this team and continue to work on fine tuning the technical side of things.”
Canada's first game will be on January 13, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. EST against Switzerland. Norway are the defending champions of the competition.
TEAM CANADA ROSTER:
|Skip||Abby Marks||Alberta||Red Deer, AB|
|Third/Vice||Catherine Clifford||Alberta||Chauvin, AB|
|Second||Brianna Cullen||Alberta||Dauphin, MB|
|Lead||Paige Papley||Alberta||Edmonton, AB|
|Alternate||Serena Gray-Withers||Alberta||Winnipeg, MB|
|Skip||Owen Purcell||Dalhousie||Halifax, NS|
|Third/Vice||Jeffrey Meagher||Dalhousie||Halifax, NS|
|Second||Adam McEachren||Dalhousie||Truro, NS|
|Lead||David McCurdy||Dalhousie||Truro, NS|
|Alternate||Caelan McPherson||Dalhousie||Halifax, NS|
|Coach (women)||Amanda St. Laurent||Alberta||Kelowna, BC|
|Coach (men)||Anthony Purcell||Dalhousie||Halifax, NS|
TEAM CANADA SCHEDULE (all times EST)
- Jan. 13 (2:00 pm): Canada vs. South Korea
- Jan. 14 (9:00 am): Canada vs. USA
- Jan. 14 (7:00 pm): Canada vs. Japan
- Jan. 15 (2:00 pm): Canada vs. Spain
- Jan. 16 (9:00 am): Canada vs. China
- Jan. 16 (7:00 pm): Canada vs. Sweden
- Jan. 17 (2:00 pm): Canada vs. Australia
- Jan. 18 (9:00 am): Canada vs. Great Britain
- Jan. 18 (7:00 pm): Canada vs. Switzerland
- Jan. 19 (2:00 pm): Semi-finals
- Jan. 20 (2:00 pm): Bronze
- Jan. 21 (7:00 pm): Final
- Jan. 13 (7:00 pm): Canada vs. Switzerland
- Jan. 14 (2:00 pm): Canada vs. Czechia
- Jan. 15 (9:00 am): Canada vs. Brazil
- Jan. 15 (7:00 pm): Canada vs. Japan
- Jan. 16 (2:00 pm): Canada vs. Sweden
- Jan. 17 (9:00 am): Canada vs. South Korea
- Jan. 17 (7:00 pm): Canada vs. Norway
- Jan. 18 (2:00 pm): Canada vs. USA
- Jan. 19 (9:00 am): Canada vs. Great Britain
- Jan. 19 (7:00 pm): Semi-finals
- Jan. 20 (7:00 pm): Bronze
- Jan. 21 (2:00 pm): Final
CANADA’S ALL-TIME FISU WINTER GAMES RESULTS IN CURLING:
- 2019 (Krasnoyarsk, Russia): Women: 5th / Men: Silver
- 2017 (Almaty, Kazakhstan): Women: Gold / Men: 7th
- 2015 (Granada, Spain): Women: Silver / Men: 5th
- 2013 (Trentino, Italy): Women: 6th / Men: Bronze
- 2011 (Erzurum, Turkey): Women: 6th / Men: 5th
- 2009 (Harbin, China): Women: Silver / Men: 6th
- 2007 (Turin, Italy): Women: Gold / Men: 4th
- 2005 (Innsbruck-Seefeld, Austria): Curling not part of FISU Games program
- 2003 (Tarvisio, Italy): Women: Silver / Men: Gold