FISU Qualifier!

The RA Curling Centre of Excellence will host a qualifying event to decide Canada’s teams for the FISU World University Games. (Photo, courtesy RA Centre)

12 university curling teams compete for right to be Team Canada

Though the summer’s heat may still be lingering, the curling season is already in full swing and, as part of Curling Canada’s jam packed schedule of events for the 2022-2023 season, sees action in Canada’s capital region this week.

Twelve of Canada’s best university curling teams are set to compete in the 2022 FISU Qualifiers; an event that will declare Team Canada’s representatives for the 2023 FISU World University Games, which are scheduled for Jan. 12-22 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Scheduled for Sept. 21-25 at the RA Curling Centre of Excellence in Ottawa, the 2022 FISU Qualifier sees six men’s and six women’s team, two of each gender representing Atlantic University Sport (AUS), Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and the Canada West Universities Athletic Association, play a single round robin with the top three teams advancing to the playoffs.

Of the qualifying teams, first place will get a bye to the final, while second will play third in the semifinal.

Canada’s teams were supposed to have been decided at the 2022 U SPORTS Canadian University Championships, but that event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The women’s side will feature teams from the University of Alberta (Abby Marks), Dalhousie University (Lindsey Burgess), the University of New Brunswick (Jenna Campbell), the University of Regina (Krystal Englot), University of Waterloo (Katie Ford) and Wilfrid Laurier University (Isabelle Ladouceur). 

And though the university circuit may feature lineups that differ from the traditional circuit, there’s no shortage of talent on display at the FISU Qualifier.

University of Alberta women’s skip Abby Marks already has several accolades to her name including a 2020 U SPORTS Championship playing vice for skip Selena Sturmay and a silver-medallist finish as a skip at the 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Women’s Championship in Langley, B.C.; both alongside Panda teammates Catherine Clifford and Paige Papley. Clifford and Papley were also 2022 women’s champions of the newly minted U 25 Next-Gen Classic alongside skip and current U of A alternate Serena Gray-Withers.

Lyndsey Burgess, skip of the Dalhousie University women’s rink, has previously been adorned in gold while representing Canada, as she played second for Kaitlyn Jones’s 2018 World Junior Women’s championship rink in Aberdeen, Scotland. Dalhousie alternate Sadie Pinksen will sure-up the bench with plenty of experience boasting an impressive six appearances representing Nunavut at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts (16, 17, 19-22).

University of New Brunswick third Carly Smith and second Deanna MacDonald both have experience at the national level representing New Brunswick at the 2020 New Holland Canadian Juniors in their respective positions for then skip Melodie Forsythe.

Chantel Hoag of the University of Regina earned a silver medal at the 2018 U 18 Canadian Curling Championship representing Saskatchewan with skip Skylar Ackerman. Of note, she wore Saskatchewan green at the 2019 Canada Winter Games and the 2019 New Holland Canadian Junior Women’s Championship as well. She was also Team Canada’s alternate at the 2020 Youth Olympic Games.

University of Waterloo third Adrienne Belliveau earned a 2022 New Holland Canadian Junior Women’s silver medal in Stratford, Ont., as an alternate for skip Emily Deschenes and played third for Team Ontario at the 2020 New Holland Juniors.

Wilfrid Laurier University skip Isabelle Ladouceur and third Jamie Smith both represented Canada at the 2022 World Women’s Junior Curling Championship in Jönköping, Sweden while WLU alternate Emma Artichuk shot third stones for the silver-medallist Emily Deschenes rink at the 2022 New Holland Canadian Junior Women’s championship.

Meanwhile on the men’s side, the six team field is comprised of the University of Alberta (Ryan Jacques), Dalhousie University (Owen Purcell), Queen’s University (Owen Purdy), Toronto Metropolitan University (Weston Oryniak), the University of Regina (Rylan Kleiter), and Wilfrid Laurier University (Sam Mooibroek).

The entire University of Alberta men’s lineup brings national experience and familiarity to the table as all four players represented Alberta at the 2020 New Holland Canadian Juniors in their U of A throwing order. 

The Owen Purcell and Adam McEachren backend combo of the Dalhousie University team has recent experience on an international level, having been the skip and third combination for Team Canada’s junior men’s representatives at the 2022 World Junior Men’s Curling Championship in that order. The team earned a bronze medal for Canada at the event.

Queen’s University skip Owen Purdy has national level experience as the skip of the team Ontario men at the 2020 New Holland Canadian Juniors.

Toronto Metropolitan University’s lineup slugged their way through a competitive OUA qualifier to a silver medal finish and boasts ample competitive experience in Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. They’ll be under the guidance of veteran coach Perry Marshall.

University of Regina skip Rylan Kleiter has had substantial experience at the national level, boasting four consecutive New Holland Canadian Junior Men’s Championship berths representing Saskatchewan (2017-2020) and was the alternate for Tyler Tardi’s 2019 World Junior Men’s championship team in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.

Wilfrid Laurier University third Kibo Mulima has a busy 2022 making appearances in both the U18 Canadian Championship and the New Holland Junior Men’s Championship as an alternate for Ontario #2 and Ontario respectively, while WLU skip Mooibroek took home the 2022 U 25 NextGen Classic’s top prize.

Curling made its debut at the World University Games in 2003 at Tarvisio, Italy, and since then Canadian teams have won eight medals — three gold, four silver and one bronze. Canada will be looking for its first World University Games curling gold medal since Kelsey Rocque’s women’s team from the University of Alberta claimed gold at Almaty, Kazakhstan.

At the most recent World University Games, in 2019 at Krasnoyarsk, Russia, Karsten Sturmay’s men’s team from the University of Alberta won the silver medal, while Kristen Steifel’s team, also from the U of A, bowed out in the quarterfinals.

For draws, scores, teams and more information, click here.

Curling Canada