Special curling honours

Tim Gall
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P.E.I. women’s coach and a player receive national awards at the Canadian junior championships in Ontario

Recipients of women’s Fair Play Awards at the Canadian junior curling championship in Napanee, Ont., Friday, from left, are: Angela Hodgson of P.E.I., coach; Emily Dwyer of Nova Scotia, skip; Marissa Gale of New Brunswick, third; Jess Cunningham, Newfoundland and Labrador, second; Hillary Thompson of P.E.I., lead.

NAPANEE, ONT. — Despite missing the playoffs, Prince Edward Island came home with some hardware from the Canadian junior curling championships.

The lead and coach of the Sarah Fullerton rink each earned special recognition from the Canadian Curling Association.

Coach Angela Hodgson and Hillary Thompson each earned Fair Play Awards and Hodgson was also named as winner of the Asham National Coaching Award for women’s teams at the championship.

“It was totally unexpected,” said Hodgson, who has coached the team the past two years at the national championships. “It was nice to be recognized by my peers and by the officials of the event. 

“The coaching honour means a lot because it is chosen by other coaches who are here at the event, and that’s pretty special. It’s also really nice to be noticed by the officials as being a good coach and fair play being one of the key factors in the game. 

“It’s good Island hospitality,” she reasoned about such characteristics being recognized. “We just gotta be kind to everybody and have a good time while we’re here to represent P.E.I — and to do that well.”

Thompson, meanwhile, was surprised to be chosen to receive the fair play award for leads in the junior women’s competition. 

“It was pretty amazing,” she said. “I was honoured to receive the award. Everyone here has been super nice and really sportsmanlike, so it was a surprise, and I was truly honoured. It means a lot to me. 

“It shows sportsmanship and it shows respect for the game,” Thompson said, indicating such traits are rooted on the Island. “Everyone at home is like that. We’re just really outgoing, and we always like to put a smile on everyone’s face. 

“The event was very enjoyable, and we had a lot of fun playing against the other teams, but (this award) made it more memorable.”

The team of Fullerton, Michelle McQuaid, Sara MacRae, and Thompson, representing the Cornwall and Charlottetown clubs — finished the event with a 6-6 record, one game shy of the 7-5 achieved by the unit last season.

The Fullerton foursome finished in a tie for sixth place. 

The top three teams advanced to the playoffs, and Alberta won the gold medal Saturday night.

“There’s definitely no regrets,” said Fullerton. “There’s definitely a few shots we would like back and a few games we would have liked to gone our way, but we came out and did our best. 

“If we had come out stronger a little earlier, we probably would have made the playoffs. 

“Under the new rules, because of our winning records the past three years, P.E.I. is guaranteed a spot at next year’s national, which is good to see.”

The Charlottetown junior men’s team of Alex Matters, Chris Gallant, Kyle Holland and Andrew Cameron finished the round robin with a 3-9 record.

“I’m really happy with how we did,” said Matters. “Just to get the experience to come here and wear your province’s colours is really exciting and makes you feel good. 

“The new pressure and atmosphere of the event was not a surprise, but was very different. Adjusting to that was big. I think I was surprised by how many friends you make. 

“It’s a really good experience to get to talk to curlers from all over the country, and to make those connections, and we’ll be seeing these people in the future, hopefully.”

Organizations: Canadian Curling Association

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Ontario, NAPANEE Fair Play Charlottetown Alberta

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