The York Curling Club will take on representatives from Scotland as one of the most historic curling events in the world makes a stop in Newmarket.
The Newmarket-based club is taking part in the Strathcona Cup Saturday, Jan. 21, an event held every five years in which Canada and Scotland alternate sending curling contingents to each other to tour and play. Newmarket is one of 31 stops for a 20-player Scottish contingent making its way through Ontario and Montreal to play friendly games against various clubs.
Local club organizer John Morrison said it is fantastic for the York club to be able to participate in the event, which dates back 120 years.
“They’re a bunch of great guys, and it’s a privilege, but it’s also a very good time to have them here,” he said. “It’s great they get to see Newmarket.”
This year’s Strathcona Cup features three contingents from Scotland touring different parts of the country. The two sides keep score at every game played to determine an overall winner, with a few games held at each club participating. Canada leads this year’s event 828-722.
This is the first time York will be participating in the 120-year history of the event, club manager Jack Inouye said.
“A great opportunity to be able to host them,” Inouye said. “A big part of it is establishing these relationships with curlers around the world. You have a common interest in curling. But you also have the opportunity to meet people from different places.”
The two sides will play four games, with the York Curling Club putting forward a mix of competitive curlers from different age groups, Inouye said.
The opening ceremonies will begin around 1:40 p.m at the club at 220 Murriel St. After that, after the players are piped in, the games begin at 2 p.m., with the event open for public viewing. There will also be socialization after the game, with the club arranging different households to host the players for dinner.
But although scores are tracked, Morrison said winning is not the focus.
“Our hope is that everyone has a great time. As far as who wins or who loses, it’s not the important thing here. It’s having a good time. It’s the camaraderie.”