Chris Kennedy and Glenn Venance
The Canadian men’s curling team won the third medal for Team Canada at the 29th Winter Universiade after securing a silver medal in a tight, close 6-5 result for Norway in the gold medal match. Canada has now won a gold medal in men’s snowboard cross by Will Malisch (Western; Markam, Ont.) and Audrey McManiman (Laval; Saint-Ambroise-de-Kildare, Que.) captured a bronze medal in women’s snowboard cross, both on day one of competition along with now a silver medal performance from men’s curling.
Both Team Canada and Norway battled all the way to the final shot when Norway (5-4; playoffs: 3-0) drew to the button for a close 6-5 win. The Canadian team (6-3; playoffs: 1-1) of skip Karsten Sturmay (Alberta; Leduc, Alta.), third Tristan Steinke (Alberta; Dawson Creek, B.C.), second Christopher Kennedy (Alberta; Red Deer, Alta.) and lead Glenn Venance (Alberta; Kitscoty, Alta.) registered a 78% efficiency rate in the Final – the same percentage as the Norwegians.
“Obviously, I am so proud of the guys for sticking with it right to the end. I definitely would be lying if we weren’t a little disappointed,” commented a dejected Sturmay. “But at the end of the day, to bring home a medal of any colour at this event is such an accomplishment. So proud of the guys to put together an incredible week and that we could bring back a medal for Canada.”
Canada and Norway were kept to single points throughout the contest with great forces and shot making from both sides to keep the score tight until deuces in the eight for the Nords and two in the ninth for Canada to set up an nail-biter of a tenth end.
“A back and forth affair and both teams were quite efficient to forcing each to one. Unfortunately, for us, one or two shots that didn’t quite go as plan but we applied a ton of pressure on them and hats off to them as they played a great game,” said Sturmay.
In the tenth, Canada did not have the hammer but forced Norway into a difficult last shot for the win as they grabbed a piece of the button.
The maple squad progressed throughout this Universiade and secured the best finish by a Canadian men’s curling team since 2003 (gold) at a Winter Universiade.
“We had to battle and had a bit of slower start to the event that we would have liked. The boys with every game, they grew and learned a little bit more and found a couple extra shots. We put ourselves in a great position heading into the playoffs and to make it all the way to Finals game is all you can ask for. We gave ourselves a good shot in the Finals and let the cards fall where they may.”
The Norway skip Magnus Ramsfjell commented afterwards at the press conference, “We were worried about Canada and knew they were a very good team as they beat us earlier here (Canada won 9-7). It was a great game and we wanted to keep it close as it came down to my shot.”
And the curling is not over for some of members of the Team Canada. “Chris Kennedy, Glenn Venance and myself are fortunate to have two more years of U SPORTS eligibility left. We go on a plane tomorrow and make our way to Fredericton to start this year’s U SPORTS Nationals,” commented Sturmay.
For a team that at one point at this Universiade was 4-3 and battling for a playoff spot, they rallied to stand on a podium with silver.
Sturmay summed up the team’s Russian trip to Krasnoyarsk. “It’s been crazy. It was an experience of a lifetime. I know for the whole team it was the first time to put on Team Canada on our backs. What makes it even more special, is to be part of a larger Team Canada and compete in a multi-sport event and next to everybody as they cheer you on. That something so special and couldn’t ask for anything more from this experience.”