Sock it to me!
Curling community comes through with socks-a-plenty for British Columbia curler at 2024 Canadian U-18’s
When Gwyneth Jones lost her house to a forest fire last summer, her curling socks weren’t top of mind. But the curling community has come through at the 2024 Canadian Under-18 Curling Championships, surprising her with a gift she’ll remember forever.
The Jones family home was one of nearly 200 structures damaged or lost due to wildfires running through Kelowna, B.C., in 2023. The resilient teen is now competing for British Columbia 2 at the national championships in Ottawa this week.
“I left the house that morning and didn’t get a chance to pack. That night, my mom came back and told me we had lost our house,” the 14-year-old recalled.
The first people Jones told was her team, skip Megan Rempel, third Parker Rempel, lead Ella Walker and coach Brian Lyall. They’re teammates on the ice but best friends off it and those she leaned on for support during the following months.
For Jones, laughter has been the best medicine and how she’s dealt with the loss. It’s been on full display this week at the Canadian U-18’s while competing at the RA Centre and Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club. While the results haven’t been going the team’s way on the ice, it is achieving gold-medal status when it comes to having fun and having a chipper disposition.
Jones’s father, a volunteer firefighter, rescued all her sporting equipment from the house – including her curling broom and shoes – which was a relief for the team, considering they had a summer curling camp coming up a week later. But one thing that she couldn’t replace was a drawer full of lucky colourful socks that she wore when curling.
Upon learning about her family’s misfortune, Curling Canada event manager Robyn Mattie put a call-out to the 42 teams competing this week to help Jones replace her collection. The curling community came through in a big way. Let’s say Jones’s parents will not have to worry about replacing any holey socks soon. Jones has received around 50 pairs of new socks from her peers this week. And counting.
“So many. They’re all over the room, there’s just so many socks,” Jones said. “And they keep coming. Whenever I’m in the parking lot or passing someone in the hotel hallway, they have more socks for me.”
Every pair is colourful and fun in design, such as the pair she was wearing on Tuesday from one of the Nova Scotia male teams: one blue and one gold sock with designs of beaches, lighthouses and sand.
Jones wore her favourite pair during the first game.
“I got a pair from the New Brunswick Boys 2 team that has a pair of boxing gloves on them and says ‘Fight Like a Girl’. Yes! It makes it better that it’s from a boys team too,” she said.
Lyall, the team coach, is impressed with how Jones has bounced back from a challenging family situation to go on to represent her province on the national stage for the first time in her career. He’s even more impressed with how Jones’s peers have responded by going above and beyond.
“It really does show how gracious the curling community is. You hear stories about how curlers care, but it’s been quite amazing. The kindness is quite something and that might be one of the highlights of the week, outside of the curling, is the people who play the game,” Lyall said.
Jones is gracious and thanks everyone for her new socks. She’s touched that so many people contributed to her gift, making her feel special. When she returns home to Kelowna after this week, her new home will feel more like home.
“I have a bed now. I have a closet now. I have clothes now. So I’m doing pretty good, I have the necessities.”
And she has socks.
In female competition, six teams have achieved three wins halfway through the event. In Pool A, Ontario 2’s Team Ava Acres (RCMP Curling Club, Ottawa) and New Brunswick 1’s Team Myla Pugsley (Curl Moncton) both have 3-0 records; In Pool B, Ontario 1’s Team Dominique Vivier (Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club) and British Columbia 1’s Team Erin Fitzgibbon (Royal City Curling Club, New Westminster) have 3-0 records; and in Pool C Nova Scotia 1’s Team Rebecca Regan (Lakeshore Curling Club, Lower Sackville) is 3-0, while Manitoba’s Team Shaela Hayward (Carman Curling Club) is sitting at 3-1.
In male competition, standings are close as well. In Pool A, three teams have 3-1 records: Quebec’s Team Raphaël Tremblay (Grand-Mere Curling Club), Saskatchewan 1’s Team Dylan Derksen (Martensville Curling Club) and Nova Scotia 1’s Team Zach Atherton (Chester and Halifax Curling Clubs); in Pool B Newfoundland & Labrador 1’s Team Simon Perry (RE/MAX Centre, St. John’s Curling Club) leads the way at 4-1; in Pool C, Alberta 2’s Team Jaxon Hiebert (Sherwood Park Curling Club) is the lone undefeated team in the field with a 4-0 record.
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.