The northern curling world is still buzzing from the news that a Sault Ste. Marie team will represent Canada at the Olympics — and some say their success can only mean good things for the sport here.
Long-time Sudbury coach and curling organizer Alan Arkilander says he is excited for the Jacobs rink and the sport. He says interest in curling has been dropping in recent years, forcing some northern organizations to amalgamate.
“Certain parts of northern Ontario were struggling financially,” he said.
But Arkilander said he hopes having a northern Ontario team on the Olympic stage will help bring people back to local curling rinks.
“I'm sure we will be seeing more people, or at least … younger people wanting to try curling.”
The success of Team Jacobs has already attracted plenty of attention at their home rink, said Ian Fisher, manager and ice technician at the Soo Curlers Association.
“The feeling in the curling club here all week long [was] everybody was excited,” he said.
“Between now and the time they go to Sochi people will be getting excited about it.”
Team to practise on home ice
Fisher said that excitement will continue to build Tuesday night, when the team is expected back in Sault Ste. Marie.
Brad Jacobs has been throwing rocks on the ice at the Soo Curlers Association since he was a kid.
It's been a thrill to watch the Jacobs rink rise to the top of the sport, Fisher said.
“Brad Jacobs used to work for me when he was a 13-year-old little boy here at the curling club,” he said.
“He used to vacuum the carpets on the back boards. He's been involved in the curling club since he was a boy.”
Fisher said he’ll be trying to keep the ice at Soo Curlers in top shape.
The team of Brad Jacobs, Ryan Fry, E.J Harnden and Ryan Harnden are expected to practise at Soo Curlers until they head to Sochi in February.