Junior Bears win Hokkaido Bank Curling Classic

    Junior Bears win first WCT event of 2016/17 season

    By Connor Hood on August 8, 2016

    The University of Alberta Golden Bears junior curling squad has won the inaugural Hokkaido Bank Curling Classic in Hokkaido, Japan. The Hokkaido Bank Curling Classic is the first event of the 2016/17 World Curling Tour schedule.

    The junior Bears, led by skip Karsten Sturmay, were given entrance into the Hokkaido competition thanks to being the defending Alberta Junior Curling Champions. Despite being the youngest team in the field of eight men’s teams, the Bears were able to put together a 2-1 round robin record, followed by back-to-back wins in the semi-final and final, to capture the championship.

    Sturmay, along with third Tristan Steinke, second Chris Kennedy, and lead Caleb Borse defeated South Korea’s Min-Chang Kim (5-3), and Germany’s Alexander Baumann (4-3) in the round robin, claiming the second spot in Group A, and a matchup against the top-ranked Soohyuk Kim in the semi-final.

    After trailing 2-1 after two ends, the Bears would score four unanswered points, including a steal of three in the fourth, to take a commanding 5-2 lead. Sturmay and Kim would exchange singles in the back-half of the match, with the Bears advancing to the final with a 7-4 win.

    Similar to the semi-final, the Bears would fall behind early in the championship match, before another three in the fourth end, followed by a steal of one in the fifth, gave Sturmay a 4-1 lead over China’s FengChun Wang. Scores of one in the sixth and seventh ends gave the Sturmay rink a comfortable 5-2 lead, which they hold on to, claiming the title.

    The Golden Bears begin their varsity schedule in October; as the senior varsity team, which features Sturmay at third, look to improve on their 2016 CIS silver medal.