(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Varsity Reds are proud to announce they’ll host, in cooperation with Curling Canada, the City of Fredericton, and the Capital Winter Curling Club, the 2019 U SPORTS Curling Championships, at Willie O’Ree Place, March 15-19.
The national university curling championships will be part of a trio of Canadian curling championship events being contested in Fredericton over a nine-day period.
“The Varsity Reds are excited to host the 2019 U SPORTS Curling Championships,” said John Richard, UNB’s Director of Athletics. “This will be the 13th national university championship event we’ve hosted since 2003 and 16th in the school’s history.”
The U SPORTS championships will run alongside the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association(CCAA) championships, while Curling Canada’s national mixed doubles championship will run March 19-24.
“We couldn’t be happier to see these three significant championships staged under one roof in the great city of Fredericton,” said Resby Coutts, the chair of Curling Canada’s Board of Governors.
It will be the first time the U SPORTS championships have been staged in Fredericton.
“We are excited to bring this championship back to the Maritimes, one of Canada’s most passionate curling regions,” said Lisette Johnson-Stapley, Chief Sport Officer at U SPORTS. “The University of New Brunswick and the City of Fredericton have proven to be exceptional hosts of our U SPORTS national events, including the past two University Cup men’s hockey championships. We look forward to partnering with Curling Canada and UNB next winter.”
The timing of UNB’s hosting of the national championships couldn’t be better, according to Jack Smeltzer, skip of the Varsity Reds men’s curling team.
“When I found out that the U SPORTS championships were coming to Fredericton, I was stoked,” said Smeltzer.
Smeltzer’s UNB rink captured the men’s bronze medal at the 2018 U SPORTS championships, in Leduc, Alberta.
“The event in Leduc was spectacular and it’s nice to have an event so grand so close to home,” said Smeltzer. “Fredericton has hosted a lot of great events in the past few years, and I’m sure this will be no different.”
“Our men’s team proved they’re a national championship contender this year,” said Richard. “Home ice could be just the advantage they need to help them get to the next level. It’ll be great to see them in action.”
“The fact that we'll be the host team next year gives us motivation to perform as well as we can,” said Evan MacKnight, who plays second with the Smeltzer foursome. “You can bet that we'll do everything we can to compete to the best of our abilities and give another impressive showing, as we did this year in Leduc.”
All four members of the Smeltzer rink will return to the Varsity Reds next season.
“The bronze medal this year really proved to others and ourselves that we belong at the national level,” said Smeltzer. “It’s left us feeling extremely motivated for the upcoming season.”
“We strive to improve upon past performances,” said MacKnight. “Next year, we'll be better prepared for those higher intensity matches and hopefully improve upon our placing.”