Last night Ryerson held a curling information session at the Mattamy Athletic Centre – a big step forward in initiating Ryerson’s first curling program since the 1960’s.
While 12 students expressed interest, Ryerson is looking for a maximum of six and a minimum of four athletes for the men’s and women’s teams. It’s possible to curl with three people, though five is ideal according to head coach Perry Marshall. Tryouts will occur late this month with opening matches set to take place Sept. 29 and 30.
Marshall said he’s looking for athletes with competitive curling experience capable of meeting and maintaining academic requirements. Beyond this, however, he expects his athletes to further the program through fundraising activities and recruitment.
“Our first goal is to prove our legitimacy,” he said. “We have no funding from the university, meaning we eat what we kill.”
The team’s annual budget entering the season is $10,000 and Marshall is looking for each athlete to contribute $500. The underlying hope is that Ryerson will be a desirable curling destination in the future, a prospect only possible through a team fundraising effort.
The team was approved for Ontario University Athletics club status in April and will play at the Leaside Curling Club (Millwood and Laird roads) though an official practice schedule won’t be released until the team is solidified.
Amazingly, it’s taken two years to get the team to this stage.
“I began inquiring when I was in first year,” said team hopeful Alex Champ, although it wasn’t until last September when Champ and his roommate, Stuart Leslie, met with Ryerson athletics club coordinator Nick Asquini that things started to take shape.
“It’s been a long process,” Champ said. “We’re glad we got somewhere with it.”
Ryerson becomes the 16th team to join the OUA and moving forward Marshall expects university-level curling to be on the resume of future championship curlers, some of which could be Ryerson graduates.
“The future of curling is great,” he said. “The sky’s the limit; we’ll find a way to be successful.”