Not ‘your grandfather’s’ Team Nunavut

Curling community takes notice of territory’s squad at national men’s championship

Nunavut curlers Christian Smitheram, left, and Sheldon Wetting sweep a rock thrown by Brady St. Louis during Brier tournament action Monday in London, Ont. In the house, Nunavut skip Jake Higgs directs the sweepers while Nova Scotia skip Matthew Manuel watches. Nunavut lost to Manitoba, 10-4. (Photo by Ed Klajman, special to Nunatsiaq News)

By Ed Klajman, special to Nunatsiaq News

LONDON, Ont. – As big as it was to notch its first-ever win at the Brier curling tournament, this year’s Team Nunavut has achieved something just as special in defeat.

They’ve earned the respect of their fellow competitors and the curling community in general.

“I got a comment from a player last night who said: ‘This isn’t your grandfather’s Nunavut team. This is a team that can compete,’” said skip Jake Higgs. “That was our main goal coming here, and we have done just that. We don’t want Nunavut to be the joke of the Brier.”

On Sunday night, the team pushed Northern Ontario, one of the more highly touted squads, to the very limit. On his last shot, Higgs came up a little short on his throw, sparing Northern Ontario skip Tanner Horgan from having to make a tough shot to win the game.

That was followed by a battle on Monday morning, against another high-quality foursome – Matthew Manuel and Team Nova Scotia. Higgs had a good chance to score four in the fifth end, which would have given Nunavut a 5-3 lead at the game’s halfway mark. He came close, but couldn’t get the roll he needed, so he had to settle for two points, though still a 3-3 tie at that stage.

Later, with the game still up for grabs, Higgs had a key shot roll a little too far, which opened up a shot for Manuel to score five points. He made it, ending the game at 10-4.

Manuel said it was a classic example of the score not reflecting how close the game was, and how tough an opponent Nunavut was.

“We saw them pick up that first win against a strong, young Newfoundland team and then they played a great game last night against Northern Ontario, even giving themselves a chance to win it,” he said.

“So, we knew we had to bring our top game out there today if we wanted to pull out the results. We had a couple of misses and they took advantage so they had us in a bit of trouble.”

The team representing the Iqaluit Curling Club – which also includes third Sheldon Wettig, second Brady St. Louis, lead Christian Smitheram and alternate Terry Lichty – were beaten a second time on Monday, falling 9-3 to Saskatchewan in a night match.

With a one-win, four-loss record, Nunavut is officially eliminated from playoff contention. But it still has games remaining against Alberta on Tuesday, the Northwest Territories on Wednesday, and a wildcard team from Manitoba on Wednesday.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Gregory Howard on

    I’m not a grandfather but we have had them on our Brier teams in the past. Congrats to Jake, Sheldon, Brady, Christian and Terry for getting that first win. We tried on all of our trips and it’s always an honour to represent our Territory.
    G Howard

  2. Posted by Sportsmanship Awards on

    They may have a win but I don’t see any sportsmanship awards in their future. Higgs may also benefit from some media training. Shame on Nunatsiaq for printing that garbage.

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