For the Love of Curling: Checking in with scholarship recipients

Since 2014, thanks to the generous support of the curling community, 32 For the Love of Curling Scholarships have been awarded to deserving young curlers across Canada. Along the journey to their academic and athletic dreams, these student-athletes have known that they are not alone—that they are a part of the most supportive and passionate sporting community in Canada.

We recently took the opportunity to check in with four of our former scholarship recipients – Cathlia Ward (2014 recipient), Thomas Scoffin (2015 recipient), Kristen Streifel (2015 recipient) and Tyler Tardi (2016 recipient) – to get their thoughts on what it meant to receive this support from the curling community, and what advice they would give curlers thinking about applying for a scholarship this year.

 


CATHLIA WARD

Cathlia Ward, of Fredericton, N.B., is soon to complete her second degree – a Bachelor of Education – and hopes to pursue a career as a teacher of children in grades K-2. She’s a former provincial junior champion and has competed on the international ice as well. Aside from her studies, Ward as been busy in her curling life as well: in February, she was in St. Catharines, Ont., playing second for Team New Brunswick, skipped by Melissa Adams, at the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

When you were notified that you had been chosen to receive a scholarship, what were your first thoughts and feelings?

I was so excited. I had just finished a summer of volunteering in Malawi (East Africa) and I wasn’t totally sure how I was going to pay for everything (tuition and curling) in the Fall, when I hadn’t made any money in the summer time. It was such a relief to have that financial help, and then of course knowing I was one of 10 scholarship recipients in the country – wow, that was special.

What were you doing academically when you applied for and received this scholarship? And what goals had you set for your curling season?

I was in my final year of my Bachelor of Philosophy in Leadership Studies, and I was trying to repeat as New Brunswick provincial junior champ – and I was successful in both!

What would you say to a student-curler who is thinking of applying for this scholarship?

Don’t count yourself out. Sometimes it’s easy to forget all of the great qualities that you bring to the table when applying for something through a national body like Curling Canada, but if you don’t put your hat in the ring, you’ll never know!

What would you say to the curling community, whose financial support makes this scholarship program possible?

Is there a word that means more than “thank you”? Truly. Winning this scholarship wasn’t just helpful financially; it also gave me a lot of motivation in my final semester of my first degree. Knowing the curling community invested in me helped a lot in the final hours of writing papers and studying. !

Tell us why you love curling and why you think more young people should get involved in the sport?

I love curling because of the community of people that are involved. I have travelled the world through this sport, and have friends on all continents because of it. It’s amazing to think I started this sport when I was four, and when I’m 94 I could still be playing. The opportunities in the sport are life-long, just like the friendships.

THOMAS SCOFFIN

Thomas Scoffin, of Whitehorse, Yukon, has a wealth of provincial, national and international curling experience. He won his first provincial junior title at age 12 and went on to skip Team Yukon at the 2007 Canadian Juniors, the first of six appearances. He has just graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting and will begin the CPA program this Fall. After five years of curling with his university team, Scoffin will be taking on a new challenge at home in Whitehorse: teaming up with his dad, Wade, on the ice.

What were you doing academically when you applied for and received this scholarship? And what goals had you set for your curling season?

I was in the process of completing my Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Alberta (entering year four of five). This was my first year out of juniors. We had set goals of gaining valuable experience on tour as well as qualifying for men’s provincials in Alberta. Jason Ginter and I also had set a goal to win the CIS (university) Championship, and to continue on to represent Canada at the Universiade in Kazakhstan.

What would you say to a student-curler who is thinking of applying for this scholarship?

Go for it! You really have nothing to lose by applying – the skills will definitely help you later in life. The curling community is so supportive and it’s been a treat to be involved as a scholarship recipient.

When you were notified that you had been chosen to receive a scholarship, what were your first thoughts and feelings?

I was very excited to have been selected as a recipient for this scholarship. It was very rewarding to be recognized as a deserving recipient after working hard in both my academic and athletic career up to that point. I think it’s great that Curling Canada supports student-athletes, seeing as there are no athletic scholarships available to university curlers at this point in time.

What would you say to the curling community, whose financial support makes this scholarship program possible?

Saying “thank you” doesn’t seem like enough. Everyone I’ve met through curling has been so involved and generous. I feel very lucky to be a part of the curling community and I look forward to supporting the next generation of curlers who are coming up behind me.

Tell us why you love curling and why you think more young people should get involved in the sport?

The people you meet become lifelong friends and the connections you make are invaluable. It’s pretty special to compete at such a high level and to also be able to make close friends at the same events. I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to some pretty incredible places with curling and the opportunities just continue to grow for young curlers. The U18 championship opens up even more doors for young players – some of my best memories growing up come from playing against the best young curlers in the country at national championships.

KRISTEN STREIFEL

Kristen Streifel, of Saskatoon, Sask., is currently a Kinesiology Science student at the University of Alberta, where she skips the varsity women’s team. The past season saw her competing at the Canadian Juniors, where she won the national title and went on to win the bronze medal at the Worlds, and at the Canadian university championships in Thunder Bay, Ont. This July, she’s headed to Kelowna, B.C., to instruct young curlers at the annual Rockslide Curling Camp.

What would you say to a student-curler who is thinking of applying for this scholarship?

The application for this scholarship requires little time and effort compared to the huge reward! This is such a great opportunity to be recognized for the hard work you’ve put into the balancing act of school and curling. The financial reward goes a long way, but more importantly, the people you will meet and the doors that may open upon receiving this scholarship are truly invaluable.

What would you say to the curling community, whose financial support makes this scholarship program possible?

I would sincerely like to give many thanks to everyone who has contributed to funding students at some point in their lives. It is no doubt that your kind donations have led to the success many curlers have experienced. Your generosity does not go unnoticed and is greatly appreciated. It is people like you that keep the sport prospering.

When you were notified that you had been chosen to receive a scholarship, what were your first thoughts and feelings?

I was ecstatic to receive the phone call that I had been chosen as a recipient. University and curling are both very expensive commitments and require much time and effort. Receiving this scholarship helped me to focus solely on what was most important—schooling and training. It allowed for greater success in both areas without having to stress financially about adding a job to an already jam-packed schedule.

What were you doing academically when you applied for and received this scholarship? And what goals had you set for your curling season?

Upon receiving this scholarship, I was making a transition from the University of Saskatchewan where I studied Physiology and Pharmacology, to the University of Alberta where I am currently studying Kinesiology Science. Transitioning between two highly regarded institutions such as these was a big step, but this scholarship helped to make the transition smoother.

When I applied for the scholarship, my goals for the upcoming curling season read: “After being a fifth for Team Canada (2015), it has ignited my determination to the next level. I hope to compete at junior nationals and make it back to a Junior World Championship, skipping Canada to the podium. Looking beyond juniors, I would like to one day lead this nation to the Olympics.” Happy to report that I was able to check off one of those goals and the other may take a few more years of developing and training.

Tell us why you love curling and why you think more young people should get involved in the sport?

Curling has shaped the young lady I am today. It has simply become a lifestyle that has enabled me to travel to places all around the world that I wouldn’t normally go, it has taught me healthy discipline through physical and behavioral components regarding fitness, nutrition, sport psychology, etc., and it allows you to continue learning at every level of competition. The etiquette you learn through this sport goes far beyond the curling ice. It is very important that our generation gives back to the sport and continues to grow/introduce curling to the younger generations so that they can have the same wonderful experiences.

Anything else you want to add about being a scholarship recipient?

My advice to fellow curlers? Be your best representative! Remember that everything you put into curling, you will get back one day in some shape or form. There is a vast curling world network of coaches, officials and teammates that have so much knowledge to share. Learn as much as you can and when you think you know everything there is to know in school or curling – keep learning!!

TYLER TARDI

Tyler Tardi, of Surrey, B.C., has a long résumé on the ice, which includes provincial, national and international championships, including gold medals at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games and 2017 World Junior Curling Championships. He’s currently pursuing studies in a Business Entrepreneurial Leadership program.

What would you say to the curling community, whose financial support makes this scholarship program possible?

Thank you a million times to those who make this possible. They are the reason why most student athletes succeed and we are all forever grateful.

Tell us why you love curling and why you think more young people should get involved in the sport?

The more I am asked this question, the more I realize we play the greatest sport on earth. Curling has done so much for me and has given me more opportunities than anything else, which I am forever grateful for. This scholarship took extraordinary amounts of weight off my back. Thank you so much.

When you were notified that you had been chosen to receive a scholarship, what were your first thoughts and feelings?

Scholarships to me have always been a big deal, so personally I felt very humbled as well as excited to be chosen amongst a wide variety of talented young curlers. It was a very nice feeling to be part of the selected students/athletes.

What were you doing academically when you applied for and received this scholarship? And what goals had you set for your curling season?

Academically I had aspired to do well in my Business Entrepreneurial Leadership program so I could learn how to run a small business resulting in the ability to curl full time. At the time of applying last year, it had always been one of my biggest dreams to play in the Canadian Juniors final. As a kid I always used to be inspired by athletes such as Brendan Bottcher and Matt Dunstone, and because it is such a big game, I always thought it would be a really good feeling just to play in it.

What would you say to a student-curler who is thinking of applying for this scholarship?

Definitely apply for the scholarship if you are on the bubble for whether or not to apply. First off, it never hurts to apply. Second if you’re a competitive athlete, scholarships such as this one can help you astronomically with both school and the sport you love. Who doesn’t want that?

Apply: The 2017 For the Love of Curling Scholarship program is now accepting applications. If you are a curler enrolled in a post-secondary program, you can apply for one of 13 scholarships. We invite you to submit your application by the June 30, 2017 deadline.

Support: Your gift to the 2017 For the Love of Curling Scholarship Program will help the future generation of curling champions follow their academic and athletic dreams! Support the sport you love with a gift today.