By Pam Chamberlain
From March 22-25, curlers from across Canada will gather in Camrose for the 2017 CCAA Curling National Championships at the Rose City Curling Club—and many Augustana alumni will be among them.
In conjunction with the Championships, Augustana is hosting an Alumni Curling Reunion on March 24-25. All alumni formerly associated with the Vikings curling program are invited to attend. In addition to watching the semi-finals and finals, participants will have a mini-bonspiel of their own, and they’ll meet for a Friday evening social featuring beer tasting and hors d’oeuvres.
Roger Stephens, from CLC’s class of ’59, will be there. Roger took Grade 12 back in the days when classes, dormitories, and meals were all in Founder’s Hall. He started curling at the age of twelve and played for six decades. An avid bagpiper, Roger has volunteered to pipe during the CCAA opening ceremonies, banquet, and award ceremonies. A retired dentist, Roger now devotes much of his time to music. Both as a soloist and as a member of the band Clan McNaughton, he plays gigs around central Alberta, including leading the annual Big Valley Jamboree parade in Camrose. He has a soft spot for curling bonspiels—he’s played at hundreds of them.
“It will be a lot of fun,” Roger says with a laugh. “To drink beer in Founder’s Hall without having to pay a fine for it! How things have changed!”
Sarah Brown (BA ’15), a former skip of the Vikings curling team, will provide live-streaming commentary for the tournament. Sarah is the program coordinator and head coach at the Sherwood Park Curling Club, managing a vibrant and busy program that introduces curling to thousands of adults and children each season.
“I am excited about getting together with other Augustana curlers, some of whom I haven’t seen since my first year,” Sarah says. “I’m also very curious to meet Vikings from years ago.”
Vikings head coach Roger Galenza is looking forward to the alumni social, too. “It’s a way to renew old friendships,” says Galenza. Although he’s been busy preparing his teams for the tournament and attending to a thousand organizational details, he’s also thinking ahead. He hopes the weekend will kick off an Augustana alumni curling association, which would hold alumi curling bonspiels and create scholarships for young athletes who are interested in curling for the Vikings.“Curling is making a comeback!” Sarah says. “Years ago, everyone in small towns curled. But it started to dwindle, and people started to think that curling was nerdy. After the Sochi Olympics, no one can argue that curlers aren’t athletes.”
“Curling is making a comeback!” Sarah says. “Years ago, everyone in small towns curled. But it started to dwindle, and people started to think that curling was nerdy. After the Sochi Olympics, no one can argue that curlers aren’t athletes.”
“Given what I see at the Sherwood Park Curling Club, I have great hope for the future of the sport. We have incredible young people in our program. In fact, if I’m going to have a shot at the Scotties or the Olympics, I better get at it before some of these young people come up to challenge me,” she says with a smile.
Roger Stephens looks forward to being on campus again. “Hey, it’s where I grew up,” he says. “It’s special.” It’s a sentiment that will undoubtedly be shared by many other former students during the Alumni Curling Reunion.
Friday, March 24
Curling Alumni Social & Craft Beer Tasting, Founders Hall, 6:00 p.m.
- Beer tasting, hors d’oeuvres, optional guided campus tours, and a chance to catch up with old friends. Sponsored by Norsemen Brewing and Augustana Alumni Office.
Saturday, March 25
CCAA Finals and Alumni Bonspiel, Rose City Curling Club
- CCAA Finals: All registered participants receive free passes to watch the Bronze medal final at 9:30 a.m. and the Gold medal final at 2:00 p.m.
- Pizza Supper, 6:00 p.m.
- Alumni Mini Bonspiel, 7:00 p.m.
For more information and to register please see our Facebook page (“Augustana Curling Alumni Reunion”) or the online registration page: https://payment.augustana.ualberta.ca/store/Curling+Nationals+2017+/