As the defending OUA and CIS champions in men’s curling, the Laurier Golden Hawks have cemented their position as a powerhouse in the sport over the past few seasons.
Former skip Aaron Squires was a big reason for this, helping his rink to silver and gold medals in the CIS Championships before moving on to a team on the World Curling Tour.
With big shoes to fill and a complete turnover from last year’s squad, skip Matthew Hall has continued the trend of success, leading the Hawks to a 17-1 record this season, and a third straight OUA Championship.
Like most young Canadians, Hall, a Kitchener native, started playing hockey at a young age, following in the footsteps of his older brothers. But Hall quickly realized that hockey wasn’t for him, and, while looking for a way to stay busy during the winter, he began following his dad to the local granite club.
“I think I was about twelve when I actually started competing,” Hall said.
“I started going to curling camp and I got connected with a team of guys out in Ajax and Pickering and that’s when I really started competing.”
With a few years of competitive experience under his belt, Hall began to see consistent success.
“We ended up winning the [under 16] title in 2013 and the next year we won the Ontario Winter Games and went to the Canada Winter Games in 2015.”
Part of a new team (Team Kee) in 2016, Hall earned his first Ontario Junior Championship title and went on to finish seventh at the Canadian Junior Championships.
With the other members of Team Kee too old to compete, Hall captured his second straight Ontario Junior Championship this past January, while a member of his third team in as many years. With high hopes, Team Hall took to Victoria, B.C. for the Canadian Junior Championships during the final week of January, with Hall looking to improve on his seventh place finish from a year ago.
After a close semi-final victory over the team from Northern Ontario, Team Hall would cme up just short of a gold medal, losing 9-7 to a tough rink from British Columbia.
However, that second place finish in a national competition only cemented Hall’s confidence and is an accomplishment he will likely never forget.
“It’s such an incredibly difficult competition,” he said, “and a lot of people never even get to win the provincials once, let alone twice.”
“To be able to get that far, and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have a little bit of luck on our side along the way, but that’s definitely an accomplishment I’m going to hold onto for a long time.”
As for the future, Hall, a second-year financial math student, remains realistic but hopes that his success in the sport will continue on.
“Everyone who competes at a high level has dreams,” he said, “but you never know where you are going to be in five years.”
“I think that hopefully I can keep going and definitely my goal would be to play in a Brier and maybe the Olympics one day.”
For now, though, Hall has his sights set on defending the U Sports Championships, which run from March 19–22 in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
“There is definitely big shoes to fill and we’ve shown that we can be on that level too. I feel that if we play to our abilities, and play to our potential, we’re going to be in a good position at the end of the week.”