CORNWALL, P.E.I. – It was 1991, on home soil, when P.E.I. won its first-ever team medal at the Canada Winter Games. The Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club in Summerside saw head coach Gary Cudmore and team members Rob Newson, Paul MacCormack, Brian Matheson and [skip] Sean Matheson make P.E.I. history. The men’s curling team that year set the bar with a 4-3 victory over Ontario to secure the national bronze medal.
Fast-forward 27 years later, and Team P.E.I.’s men’s curling representatives will be heading to Red Deer, Alta., this February hoping to create some memories of their own. The Cornwall Curling Club team is led by head coach Lori Robinson and skipped by Mitchell Schut. Third Nick Johnston, second Liam Kelly and lead Colin MacKenzie, along with Schut and Robinson, are hopeful heading into the Games with expectations to qualify for the medal round where they know anything can happen.
Team P.E.I.’s men’s curling team is set for the Canada Games in Red Deer, Alta. The Games run Feb. 15-March 3 with curling taking place Feb. 25-March 2. Team members, from left, are skip Mitchell Schut, third Nick Johnston, coach Lori Robinson, second Liam Kelly and lead Colin MacKenzie. – Contributed
Part of their routine is working with Travis McIsaac at Synergy Fitness on two aspects of training, mental and physical. Their hard work will be put to the test come February, but Robinson knows if they stick to the game plan, they could turn some heads on the ice.
“We need to focus on the round robin in order to qualify for the medal round,” Robinson explained. “We’re confident in our ability to place ourselves in the competitions top six teams, and once you make it that far, anything can happen.”
Robinson herself represented Team P.E.I. in curling 32 years ago at the Canada Games held in Sydney, N.S. Her brother, during the same Games, was a member of the men’s curling team and now her nephew, Johnston, is competing in 2019. Curling is in the family’s blood, and Robinson looks forward to attending another Games, but this time, in a new role as a head coach.
Tournaments leading up to a major competition like the Canada Games are invaluable. This is why Nick, Liam, Colin and Mitchell competed in the under-18 national championships in St. Andrews, N.B., several months back. It was considered a learning experience for three of the four athletes who had yet to compete outside of Atlantic Canada. The tournament proved to be worth its weight in gold as it showcased a few Canada Games teams from other provinces who Team P.E.I. will likely face this February.
The final pre-Games competition before Red Deer will take place Jan. 11 and 12 as the Maritime provinces will face off on the mainland. It will be a great time to work out any kinks and set the tone for the big Games that lay ahead.
It may have been 27 years ago, but that bronze medal showed that a small province like P.E.I. can compete with the nation’s best. It will no doubt be on the mind of Team Schut as they approach the biggest competition in their careers.
For more information on Team P.E.I. and the 2019 Canada Winter Games, stay tuned for our Countdown to the Games articles and be sure to follow Team P.E.I. on Facebook and Twitter.
Jared Murphy is a sport co-ordinator with Sport P.E.I. and will be assistant chef de mission for Team P.E.I. during Week 2 of the 2019 Canada Games.