Striking Gold!

Team Nova Scotia #1 and Team Alberta #1 pose with their respective New Holland Canadian Under-21 Curling Championship trophies at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre at MacDonald Island Park at Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, Alta. From left, Team Nova Scotia #1 lead Grace McCusker, second Alison Umlah, vice-skip Maria Fitzgerald, skip Ally MacNutt, Team Alberta #1 skip Kenan Wipf, vice-skip Ky Macaulay, second Michael Keenan, lead Max Cinnamon (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

New National champions ascend to the top of New Holland U-21 field at Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, Alta.

Team Alberta #1’s Kenan Wipf and Team Nova Scotia #1’s Ally MacNutt were crowned Canadian champions on Sunday at the 2024 New Holland Canadian Under-21 Curling Championships, hosted at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre at MacDonald Island Park at Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo, Alta. 

In Women’s play, Team Nova Scotia #1, composed of skip Ally MacNutt, vice-skip Maria Fitzgerald, second Alison Umlah, lead Grace McCusker and coach Theresa Breen capped off undefeated 10-0 run in the final, downing Team Ontario #1’s Julia Markle (7-3; London) by a 9-5 score to win the gold medal.  

“Really incredible,” said MacNutt after securing the Canadian U-21 women’s title. “I’m so in shock right now. I don’t even know what to think.” 

The unblemished performance by the Halifax Curling Club team marks the third-straight year that the New Holland U-21 women’s title was won by an undefeated team, after Nova Scotia’s Taylour Stevens accomplished the feat in 2022 at Stratford, Ont., and Alberta’s Myla Plett doing the same in 2023 at Rouyn-Noranda, Qué. 

“I knew we if we played our best, we could do really well this week,” said MacNutt. “I’m just so proud of my team. We were really focused on the process of getting here and took it game by game, shot by shot. We really supported each other through the whole week.” 

Team Nova Scotia #1 celebrates a 9-5 gold medal win over Team Ontario #1 Julia Markle at the 2024 New Holland Canadian Under-21 Curling Championships (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

Team Nova Scotia #1 sported an 8-5 lead into the tenth end where Ontario’s Markle would be left with a difficult angle-raise takeout onto a stone in the four-foot to tie the game. Markle’s offering would be unsuccessful, granting Nova Scotia a steal of one and the 9-5 win.  

“It’s always nice to win the game on a made shot and not on a loss,” MacNutt said. “But it’s an incredible feeling right now.” 

The 2024 New Holland U-21 women’s title win is the second for the Atlantic province in three years following Stevens’ win in 2022. MacNutt credits the strength of the province’s curling scene with adding to her success on the national level. 

“We have such great competition in Nova Scotia and such great support,” said MacNutt. “There’s such an amazing community and great coaches all around.” 

The 2024 New Holland U-21 women’s title is Nova Scotia’s seventh title overall since the event’s inception in 1971, trailing only Manitoba (10), Saskatchewan (11) and Alberta (11).  

In men’s play, skip Kenan Wipf and his Calgary-based team of vice-skip Ky Macaulay, second Michael Keenan, lead Max Cinnamon and Coach Derek Bowyer, who hail from the Glencoe Club, defeated Team Nova Scotia #1’s Calan MacIsaac (8-3; Truro) 7-6 in the gold medal final. 

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Wipf after earning the Canadian title. “Nothing compares to it. You live your whole trying to win this event and you can’t do any better than that. It’s a dream come true in every way.” 

Team Alberta #1 posted a near-perfect 9-1 record on route to the gold medal victory, where Wipf says being the host province representative at the New Holland U-21 championship had some advantages. 

“It’s definitely nice from a time-zone perspective,” Wipf said. “But the crowd has been fantastic this week and having our parents and our coaches here. The support staff is amazing.” 

Team Alberta #1 skip Kenan Wipf leaps in the air during the men’s final of the 2024 New Holland Canadian Under-21 Curling Championships (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

The final was a thriller, seeing the score tied at 6-6 entering the tenth end of play. Team Alberta #1, with hammer, would have an opportunity to draw the four-foot to win the Canadian title with the final stone of the game where Wipf made no mistake on his offering, stopping in the back of the four-foot. 

It’s exactly the situation the skip said he’s dreamed of facing with a chance to win.  

“I’ve always loved drawing,” said Wipf. “So, if there’s a shot I could choose to win it, that’s the way I would do it.” 

The win for Alberta marks the second New Holland Canadian U-21 men’s title in as many years for the province after Johnson Tao carried the title in 2023 at Rouyn-Noranda, Qué., and Alberta’s 18th men’s national U-21 title since the event’s inception in 1950, leading the next closest total title holder Saskatchewan (14) by four.  

The last team to win the New Holland U-21 Canadian men’s title as the host province was Ontario’s Landon Rooney, who took home the top prize in 2022 at Stratford, Ont. 

The gold-medal winners will represent Canada on the international stage in 2025. The women’s team will wear the Maple Leaf at the 2025 World Junior Curling Championships after last year’s team, Team Plett of Alberta, finished fourth overall. The men finished on the bubble of qualifying directly into the world juniors next year. It is not yet determined whether the Canadian men have qualified directly for the World Juniors or if they will have to compete in the World Junior B Championships. Canada’s status will depend on which country hosts the world championship. For more details, click here

In the men’s bronze game, Team Manitoba #2’s Jace Freeman (8-3; Virden) needed an extra-end to defeat Team Saskatchewan #2’s Dylan Derksen (8-2; Martensville) by a 7-5 score while in women’s bronze medal action, Team Alberta #2’s Grace Beaudry (8-3; Calgary) bested Team Nova Scotia #2’s Cassidy Blades (7-4; Truro) 7-3. 

The 2024 New Holland Canadian Under-21 Curling Championships marks the ninth time the event has been hosted in Alberta. 

For the list of teams, draw, standings and live scores, visit the event website.      

This story will be available in French as soon as possible at