Do we want to stay together? Do we want to take our game to another level? Can we commit to chasing a Canadian championship?
Those are just some of the questions that get thrown around with members of a foursome.
For the defending provincial junior men’s championship rink it didn’t take long to decide to forge ahead as a group.
Skipped by Greg Smith of St. John’s, the defending junior men’s champions, including Stephenville’s Craig Laing, Kyle Barron and Ryan McNeil-Lamswood will be gunning for the crown again this year with hopes of another trip to the national stage.
The team is split in half so all hands will have to work on their own game when they’re not attending a competition together. Smith and Barron live in St. John’s, while McNeil-Lamswood and Laing are living in Stephenville.
Coach Scott Lamswood said all hands have made a strong commitment to making curling a priority for them this winter. The planning for the 2015-16 season began back in March and the team has been active on the ice on a number of occasions in the early going.
The team participated in a training camp and a major cashspiel in New Brunswick before participated in the Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge in Paradise a couple of weeks ago. Next on the agenda for the boys is a major curling event in Ottawa where there will be some tough competition for the team to gauge how far they have progressed since performing on the national stage in their own back yard one year ago.
Lamswood likes the chemistry that has been built within the group for the past two years, a cohesive group that started its climb up the ladder by winning the provincial under-18 men’s curling title the year before winning the provincial junior crown on home ice at the Caribou Curling Club in Stephenville.
“This team would have never lasted if they didn’t have a great time every time they go out on the ice and play,” Lamswood said.
Lamswood believes the group learned a lot from getting to play some intense curling against some dandy teams, and the goal this year is to take their game to the next level if they are afforded another shot on the national stage.
“If you get back there again you want to do better than you did the first time,” he said. “They really want to see results in terms of opportunities they create for themselves.”
Smith believes the close bond formed between the group should bode well for the future. They are all good friends and they all want to put in the work to see how far the team can go so he figures that’s half the battle.
“We all have the same goals and we’re determined to make those goals turn into reality,” Smith said. “That’s the difference really between this team and a lot of others ... the dynamics are so good and regardless of the distance it works and we make it work.”
The ultimate goal is winning and that’s not negotiable. Casting stones at every opportunity is the way they plan on spending the winter.