(by Eric McCarthy)
Golden ending to junior career
O’LEARY – It might not have been on his radar when he left for the Canadian junior curling championships, but a gold medal in mixed doubles is a fine way for Matthew MacLean to end his junior curling career.
© Glenda MacLean photo
Matthew MacLean, second left, and Kaelyn Gregory, was the winning team in the mixed doubles competition held during the Canadian Junior Curling Championships. Congratulating them are their respective provincial team coaches and fathers, Glen MacLean, left, and John Gregory.
Except for curlers on the three men’s and three women’s teams that were still in contention for the respective titles, all other curlers who participated in Stratford, Ont., from Jan. 23 to 31 were paired off for a 44-team single-elimination mixed doubles championship.
Matthew MacLean, who is from the Maple Leaf Curling Club in O’Leary and skipped the P.E.I men’s team to a 3-6 (won-lost) finish, was the only member of his men’s team to make it beyond the first round. He was paired with Ontario lead Kaelyn Gregory.
When asked if mixed doubles might be in his future, MacLean, who ages out of junior after this year, jokingly responded, “Well, it seemed to work pretty good, I guess, so maybe.”
On the contrary, though, he said he will be looking to get on a men’s team for next season and compete in the Tankard. His junior teammates, brother Allan, who played mate; second stone Noah O’Connor, and lead Jordan MacLean still have junior eligibility remaining, and have indicated they will be looking for a new skip and a chance to defend their P.E.I. junior men’s title.