Celebrating 100!

Team Nova Scotia #2, from left, lead Anna MacNutt, second Stephanie Atherton, vice-skip Kate Weissent, skip Cassidy Blades, posing to celebrate 100 total games coached for Andrew Atherton (back). (Photo, Curling Canada/Kyle Jahns)

Nova Scotia’s Andrew Atherton achieves 100 total games coached at national level at 2024 Canadian Under-18 Curling Championships

It was a milestone marker for Team Nova Scotia #2 females’ coach Andrew Atherton at the 2024 Candian Under-18 Curling Championships, who was on the bench for his 100th game at the national U-18 and U-21 level on Monday. 

Atherton, whose team is made up of skip Cassidy Blades, vice-skip Kate Weissent, second and daughter Stephanie Atherton, and lead Anna MacNutt from the Truro Curling Club, celebrated the occasion later in the day with an 8-5 win over British Columbia’s Megan Rempel (0-3; Kelowna). 

“The game itself isn’t particularly special,” Atherton said. “It’s just another game. What’s special about this event is that I’m here with both my son (Zach, Nova Scotia #1 skip) and daughter (Stephanie) on the ice. Having them both here is pretty awesome.” 

Atherton has amassed a robust collection of hardware for his trophy cabinet in his lengthy coaching career, highlighted by a 2016 World Junior women’s gold medal with Nova Scotia skip Mary Fay and a 2018 World Junior women’s gold medal with Nova Scotia skip Kaitlyn Jones.  

Team Canada, 2018 World Junior Women’s gold medallists. From left, coach Andrew Atherton, alternate Lauren Lenentine, lead Lindsey Burgess, second Karlee Burgess, vice-skip Kristin Clarke, skip Kaitlyn Jones (Photo care of Beth Atherton)

“It’s kind of neat,” said Atherton about the achievement. “It’s not something I was striving to do but I’ve had a lot of successful teams over the years and that’s given me the opportunity to coach a lot of games.” 

Taking on coaching roles runs deep in Atherton’s family after seeing his father be a multi-sport coach for him and his brother while they themselves were youths. 

“Growing up, my dad coached every sport under the sun, so I grew up seeing coaches.” said Atherton. “I went back and forth between playing and coaching, playing for a couple then coaching for a couple, and eventually realized where my strengths lay was what used to be the warm side of the glass. Now we’re on the cold side.” 

Atherton has seen many changes to the coaching role over his lengthy career and credits his ability to adapt to his success.  

“The biggest change is now we’re out on the ice and more involved with the players, for better or for worse.” joked Atherton. “It’s nice to have more involvement. I’m always trying to grow as a coach and improve on my weaknesses and fine-tune my strengths.” 

Monday evening’s win improves Nova Scotia #2’s record to an even 1-1 at the event, with its next match coming Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m., (all times Eastern) versus Newfoundland and Labrador #2’s Hannah Connolly (0-3; St. John’s). 

On the ladies’ side, Pool A has home team Ontario #2, skipped by Ava Acres (2-0; Ottawa), deadlocked with New Brunswick #1’s Mya Pugsley (2-0; Moncton) for first place. Pool B remains hotly contested with Ontario #1’s Dominique Vivier (2-0; Ottawa) and British Columbia #2’s Erin Fitzgibbon (2-0; New Westminster) tied for the top spot. Conversely, Pool C sees Manitoba #1’s Shaela Hayward (3-0; Carman) alone a the top of the pool standings. 

In the male competition, Pool A is led by Québec’s Raphaël Tremblay (3-0; Grand-Mère) while Pool B sees Ontario #1’s Tyler MacTavish (2-0; Waterloo) and Alberta #1’s Peter Hlushak (2-0; Edmonton) sharing the interim top spot. Pool C also features a tie at the top between Alberta #2’s Jaxon Hiebert (2-0; Sherwood Park) and New Brunswick #1’s Sahil Dalrymple (2-0; Oromocto). 

Live scoring and standings for the 2024 Canadian U-18 Curling Championships are available at curling.ca/scoreboard

Live-streaming coverage of selected games at the 2024 Canadian Under-18 Curling Championships will be available on Curling Canada +, Curling Canada’s streaming platform. You can access the broadcast schedule by CLICKING HERE