Fraser Reid and Spencer Nuttall are a dynamic force on the ice
Spencer Nuttall and Fraser Reid have emerged as one of curling’s top duos
Some would say winning multiple provincial championships on multiple circuits is difficult. Some would always say it’s hard to build chemistry that leads to success.
But for front-end duo Fraser Reid and Spencer Nuttall of the Wilfrid Laurier men’s curling rink, it’s just that easy.
Reid, the lead for Laurier, and Nuttall, who throws second stones, have played together in and out of Laurier for four years, dating back to the 2013-14 season when Reid inherited Nuttall’s rink from then-skip Richard Krell in their last year of juniors when Krell aged out.
They had a great season that year, making it to the provincial final at the 2014 Ontario Pepsi Junior Championships.
“Spencer and I are really close friends on and off the ice. We’ve played together for years,” Reid said. “We know each other very well — we know our routines, we know exactly what we’re going to do, when we’re going to do it.”
Since then, the two have been inseparable, playing for the same squad and making ripples both on the university circuit and the men’s circuit. Outside of Laurier, Reid and Nuttall also played with Team Aaron Squires, the current skip of the men’s curling team and made it to the Ontario Men’s Tankard in 2015.
Currently, the duo plays for Mark Kean and got a taste of the grand slam circuit when they participated in the Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge last September in Paradise, Newfoundland.
“The chemistry is great. We’ve played with each other for so long on the same team. We usually room together in the hotel. Things work, it’s easy,” Nuttall said. “We try to make it easy on each other and we know what each other like to hear after a miss or after a make, it sort of disseminates into the rest of the team. We’ve been doing it for so long together.”
One of the biggest keys to their success has been their grasp of sweeping. Nuttall and Reid keep up on the latest developments by researching proper techniques and form and studying their own abilities to make sure the way they are sweeping is the most effective way.
Working closely with Laurier head coach Glenn Paulley, the duo discovered a different way of sweeping that top teams on the world curling circuit are currently moving towards — such as only using a single sweeper on a rock.
This knowledge helped them at the Ontario University Athletics curling championships last week, where the rink went a perfect 9-0 record and captured gold for the second straight year.
“Everything just clicked,” Nuttall said. “The ice [in Guelph] is the best that it’s been in a few years and that’s conducive to really making it work with the brooms.”
Despite dominating the university circuit, Nuttall and Reid said they still have a lot to learn in their respective positions. Reid said along with the game, his position at lead is also constantly changing as different strategies come out. As a former skip, who is responsible for calling the shots, he’s starting to really enjoy moving to lead, which can often control the tempo of an end.
“My position’s changing more and more it seems every year, but it’s starting to become more interesting. I like it,” he said.
As the Laurier rink currently prepares for their next challenge at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport nationals next month in British Columbia, the duo will be well-adjusted — going on many of these road trips in the past, whether with Laurier or elsewhere.
“When you’re away from home and at a hotel, it’s like you’re living with your roommates at home because it’s the same thing,” Reid said. “We’ve travelled enough together that it’s just very easy. It’s nice.”