Men’s curling sweeps the nation off their feet

Gaels enter CIS championships in Edmonton through the backdoor, but come out with gold medals

Skip Jon Beuk and his team made it into the tournament because of other OUA teams’ travel restrictions.
Skip Jon Beuk and his team made it into the tournament because of other OUA teams’ travel restrictions.
Credit: 
Supplied photo by Chadd Vandermade
The curling team won its first-ever CIS championship last week in Edmonton, Queen’s second national banner this season.
The curling team won its first-ever CIS championship last week in Edmonton, Queen’s second national banner this season.
Credit: 
Supplied photo by Chadd Vandermade

The label “Miracle on Ice” may already be associated with another underdog story, but the men’s curling team put on an unbelievable showing last weekend at the 2010 CIS/CCA men’s curling championships in Edmonton.

The team won Queen’s second national championship title this season, and the school’s first ever curling title by topping the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers 7-6 in the finals.

The Gaels didn’t initially qualify for the CIS championships after a disappointing OUA tournament that saw the team miss the semifinals. However, after Laurentian and Trent backed out of the tournament due to travel restrictions, Queen’s was added to the 14-team tourney and never looked back.

The team consisted of First-Team All-Canadian skip Jonathan Beuk, third Andrew Inouye, second Chadd Vandermade and Second-Team All-Canadian lead Scott Chadwick.

“It worked out exactly as we wanted it, everything went our way,” Beuk said. “The ice was unreal. Once we started playing it just seemed like it was hard to miss. It seemed like there was no way we could lose.”

The Tricolour’s run provided no shortage of drama. In the semifinals against the University of Manitoba Bisons, they rallied from a 5-2 deficit after sevens ends, stealing three points in the final two ends to win 6-5. Against the Panthers, the Gaels avenged their only round-robin loss after Beuk made a key triple in the eighth end to take two points and put Queen’s ahead for good.

“The first half of the [final] was pretty standard, we both made some mistakes,” Beuk said. “I really think we dominated the second half of the game. We made a lot of shots. Once we took that two it felt like we were going to win so there was no longer any pressure, it was just a case of focusing on making our shots and finishing it off. ”

Despite all four curlers being excellent technical shooters, Beuk said the team’s success stemmed largely from being mentally prepared.

“I think the biggest reason we did so well was that we stayed really positive,” he said. “If anything went wrong we were able to control our emotions really well. That ability to block out all the negatives was probably the reason we did as well as we did.”

With the victory, Queen’s will represent Canada at the 2011 FISU Winter Universiade in Erzurum, Turkey in January and February.

“We’re looking forward to that and we’re going to train really hard for the experience,” Beuk said.

While the veteran presence of the team was extremely beneficial over the weekend, it won’t help the Gaels in future OUA seasons as Inouye and Vandermade are set to graduate. Beuk, a PhD student who’s been curling for Queen’s for seven years, said he was uncertain if he would be returning to the team to defend their title.

“The competitive curling scene at Queen’s is pretty good,” Beuk said. “We could’ve easily put together a second team that would’ve been competitive at the OUA level. I think the new kids that are coming in, some of the guys who were fifth and sixth men this year, are going to take over next year and still have a really good team.”

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