Photo: Pictured is last year’s winner Team Kerry Galusha from the NWT.

October 31 – November 3 2019 North Grenville Curling Club (NGCC) Kemptville

by Doreen O’Sullivan

We are very excited about the 14th annual Royal Lepage Women’s Fall Classic Curling Event. This is a World Curling Tour event and, this year, we are welcoming international calibre teams from Japan, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Nunavut, Quebec and Ontario.

All twenty-four teams in the Royal LePage Women’s Fall Classic will have one goal when they throw their first rocks on Thursday: to hoist the Fall Classic Shield and hold the $6,000 first place cheque. Thanks to our generous sponsors, this prize purse has grown to a total of $21,000 and we are able to attract high calibre curlers to the event.

Another attraction for competitive curlers is the fantastic curling ice we have, which is on an arena ice surface. This makes it appealing to competitive curlers who will play major events on arena ice surfaces which are different from regular curling club ice.

In 2016, the National Research Council, using scientific/technical expertise, conducted sweeping trials to test and determine the official broom head fabric that would be used in world curling events, such as the Olympics, the World Championships, the Brier, and the Scottie’s Tournament of Hearts. This took place in the NG Curling club, and it was a well-kept secret because of the nature of the research that was being carried out. A who’s who of the elite level curlers from around the world were here in our town.

I have often thought the Fall Classic was also a best kept secret, because, when I would speak of it, people would tell me they had no idea it was such a big event. They seemed surprised that it had taken place here and by the big name curlers who participated.

The very first time I attended the Fall Classic, I walked into the club and saw Russ Howard, Glenn Howard and Mike Harris, who were all coaching women’s teams. If that didn’t surprise me, imagine when I saw Colleen Jones, Mary–Anne Arsenault and Sherry Middaugh were all participating in the event! I only ever expected to see them on television.

The more I looked around at the team pictures, and the names of previous winners and participants, I admit that I was in awe. Previous winners include Team Rachel Homan, Team Robyn McPhee, and Team Jenn Hanna, to name but a few. In the 2018 Winter Olympics, six of the teams competing included players from Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and Canada who had previously competed in the Royal Lepage Women’s Fall Classic in Kemptville.

We are in the 2nd of the four-year cycle leading up to the next Winter Olympics, and many of the young teams are all chasing the dream of being a National Champion and representing their country at those Olympics. Most of these players are chasing their dreams while still in school or attending university. Most of these ladies give back their time to the game of curling, especially helping young kids learn the game.

One team to watch this year is the Isabella Wranå team, which is comprised of four young Swedish girls that were all born in 1997. All four girls have been curling since a young age. Isabella and her Third, Jennie Wåhlin, have played together since they were six. Lead, Fanny Sjöberg, joined them when she started playing at the age of 9. Second, Almida de Val, has been a member of the team for three years. They have finished among the finalists in the past two years and are here again this year with an aim to capture the top prize.

They come to Canada like all other international teams – to get better and to climb the World rankings. The team hopes to represent Sweden one day in the World Championships and at the Olympics.

You really have to admire the dedication of these Fall Classic ladies to the game they love. Many of the young players, and the more seasoned lady curlers, are juggling family life, education, careers and competitive curling.

This event IS a big deal, and is happening in OUR town and OUR municipality, at the North Grenville Curling Club in Kemptville, Ontario. I want to let this secret out! The Royal Lepage Women’s Fall Classic is open to curling fans, and we welcome you to come and watch these women rock stars. An Event Pass costs $15, a day pass is only $10, and persons 17 and under are admitted free. Don’t miss the opportunity to come and enjoy our club and local hospitality and watch these incredible athletes and meet some of the players and their coaches.

This is a big event in our town, with economic benefits, as many of these teams require accommodation, frequent our local restaurants and shops in town. Let’s give them a warm North Grenville welcome.

Let the secret out! Spread the word and come on out to the NG Curling Club to watch these Women Rock Stars!

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