By Vivian Collings
Local curler Owen Nicholls and team Stratton of London swept their way to victory while representing Ontario at the Canada Winter Games in Summerside, PEI at the beginning of March.
Along with a bronze medal, Nicholls brings home with him the experience of a lifetime.
“It’s always an honor to represent your province against the best of the best in the other provinces. But to do it in PEI was something we really enjoyed because we got to experience a new province, and compete at the national level at an event. That is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Owen said.
After a nail-biting final game against Alberta, the team came out victorious even when the house was wide open for Alberta’s skip to draw and win.
“It came down to the last rock,” team Stratton’s lead said. It was very unexpected, we had thought we lost. I couldn’t stop shaking after that game. It was so shocking how it finished. We immediately celebrated together on the ice and just as quickly ran to the stands where our parents were to give hugs and celebrate. It was definitely an emotional and dramatic finish.”
Although placing on the podium at the Games was the Ontario team’s main goal, they also focused on having fun together as a team and taking in the experience of the national games.
They stayed in the athlete’s village at the University of PEI in Charlottetown, watched other sports like hockey, badminton, and boxing, and were able to make new friends and reconnect with old ones.
“After coming out of the games, this team is full of excitement and joy. We haven’t stopped retelling our favorite stories. Being able to medal for our province is something we are very proud of,” Owen said.
The experience was thrilling but also tiring for the U18/U21 team. Owen said he will carry the memories with him for years to come.
After heading back to Ontario to compete in the U21 provincial championships in Ottawa, Team Stratton brings their competitive 2022/2023 season to a close.
“We feel like we’ve accomplished our goals this season and feel very good about how we played out there,” Owen said.
By Vivian Collings