Article by: Ryan Keliher
Curling in Canada is rich in history, with the first curling club established in Montreal in 1807. This morning, 216 years later, another first in Canadian curling history took place as Mixed Doubles Curling made its Canada Games debut at the Montague Curling Club.
Draw 1 saw three separate games occur simultaneously in today’s historic debut. Team Alberta jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, defeating Team Yukon 10-2. Team British Columbia upended Team Quebec 7-4, and Team Saskatchewan scored two in the eighth and final end to edge Team Newfoundland and Labrador 5-4 in a closely contested battle. The games were fast paced and action packed as teams exchanged shots in front of spirited fans.
Evan Crough and Kaylee Raniseth of Team Alberta were the first pair to secure a victory. The two athletes, who have been preparing together for the past four months, were pleased with their performance.
“The first stones, we were quite nervous, but after the first couple of ends we kind of settled down, did our thing, and focused in on each other,” said Crough, adding that he and Raniseth haven’t missed a step since they joined forces as a pair.
In a sport where communication is so important, Raniseth echoed how their team chemistry will be key for continued success this week. “Our personalities really mend well together…we know how to pick each other up if we miss and pump each other up when we make a good shot,” said Raniseth.
The mixed doubles format is largely similar to regular curling, but the sport has some distinct differences. For instance, each team is composed of two players rather than four, and each end begins with both teams placing one rock in play, either in the house or as a guard.
Curling has been featured in every Canada Games since 1967, but with mixed doubles new to the program, this will be a historic week of firsts for the event. As teams compete for the first-ever spots on a Canada Games podium, Crough has a simple message for prospective fans. “It’s a fun game. Come, check it out, and cheer hard.”
Hurry hard to the rink, folks. It’s not every day that you get to see history unfold before your eyes. Mixed doubles curling is officially in the house at Canada Games!