Laurier men’s curling named OUA male team of the year
The Wilfrid Laurier Men’s curling team capped off an exceptional season on the ice,winning both the OUA Provincial Championship and USPORTS National championships. The season ended well as the team was honoured with deserving rewards for their contributions both on and off the ice.
A well-rounded team consisted of three First Team All-Canadians were led by anacademic award nomineewho greatly contributed to the team’s confidence and success. After a phenomenal year, the team was named both Laurier’s team of the year, as well as the OUA Male Team of the Year.
The team was driven by confidence and a strong work ethic that was unmatched by their competitors throughout the entire season. The capable team dominated the season with a 14-game win streak, as well as acombined 18-1 record at the provincial and National championships. The team concluded their historic season by winning the USPORTS Curling Canadian Championships, going undefeated(9-0) during five days of play in Manitoba.
Team leaders —skip Matt Hall, second Jordie Lyon-Hatcher, lead Graham Singer, vice John Willsey and alternate Adam Vincent —contributed heavily to the confidence levels of the team. The experience shined throughout the team, with Hall and Willsey both holding a previous national championship title as well as Lyon-Hatcher who had wona provincial title.
“There was confidence in the group going in knowing that competition was going to be steep, but they knew they could excel in those moments,” said Head Coach Matt Wilkinson on the success of his team.
Matt Wilkinson who is coach of both the men’s and women’s Golden Hawk curling teams was overjoyed about winning his first ever national title. “For me personally, it’s ecstatic, that is my first national championship win as a coach and that is great at every level… I’m really happy of the guys,” Wilkinson added.
The team went 26-3 overall, winning 20 of their past 21 games, led by experience, confidence and motivation. These factors all played a part in a dominant season that saw the team bringhome their fourth provincial title and their second national title.
The Golden Hawks curling team was rewarded for their accomplishments over the season as they won both the Laurier team of the year award and were honoured by the OUA as the best male team in the province.
Nominated alongside the Carleton Ravens basketball team and the Guelph Gryphons track team- two teams who had incredible seasons to continue their own dynasties, the men’s curling team were the recipients of the award.
The award adds to the esteemed legacy that both the men’s and women’s Golden Hawk curling programs have developed throughout the years. Seven of the Golden Hawks’ 15 overall national championships as a school have now been won by Laurier’s curling teams.
Coach Wilkinson commented on how amazing it was for both himself and the team to be honoured by the OUA.“It just shows the commitment that the guys have but also what we excel at in our program, that we strive for excellence and expecting to win is really what we do in curling at Laurier.”
The team is not only hard workingon the ice but off the ice as well. Skip Matt Hall received a nomination for the academic achievement award at Laurier. This is the second year in a row that a member of the curling program has received this nomination, giving the curling program a solid reputation as Laurier’s team of the year and OUA male team of the year.
“Matt from an academic side is what Laurier athletics pride themselves on- not only being athletes but driving yourself in the classroom as well and having those results.” Coach Wilkinson said as he was happy that a member of the curling program was able to achieve this.
The success of this season and the two championship wins secured the team’s spot for the 2021 Federation of International Sports Universities games (FISU). This being an opportunity to represent Canada and Laurier as a school internationally in Switzerland, next January. However, the plans for the upcoming seasonand the 2021 FISU games remain unclear as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Head Coach Wilkinson seemed prepared to handle the uncertainty. “We plan as we plan and adapt as new information is given, and if we need to slow down, we will slow down,” Wilkinson said.
Time and time again, the Wilfrid Laurier curling program has proven to be one of the consistently outstanding performing teams and this year was no different. The team dominated on the ice both provincially and nationally and their work ethic was shown off the ice as well through skip Matt Hall.
The team continues to do a fantastic job in representing the best of Laurier sports athletically and academically.
With files from Mark Cascagnette, Sports Editor.