Former Canadian curling champion gives GPV students lessons of the game

Heather Nedohin, a former Canadian curling champion, works with GPV students at the Falher Curling Rink in the afternoon of January 9.

Mac Olsen
Express Staff

You will fall, which may injure your pride, but you have to get up immediately and laugh it off.

Use the proper footwear on the sheet and clean them prior to going out. You must learn how to balance yourself when you send the rock down the sheet, and it may not come easily for you.

And you will get to know how to make your in-turns and out-turns as you progress in the game of curling.

Communicate with your team members and always be mindful of safety on the sheet.

The blue rocks and red rocks each have their designated sides of the sheet, and they must be placed in numerical order. But most important of all, support each other and coach each other.

These were among the many aspects of curling that renowned Canadian champion Heather Nedohin taught to Georges P. Vanier students last week.

Nedohin, who played on Canada’s national team several times, met them at the Falher Curling Rink on January 9. Nedohin demonstrated intensity and commitment about the sport to the students as she would have for herself and team on the sheet, and she ensured that they paid attention.

But Nehodin was also light-hearted and joked with them on occasion.

“Curling is a lot of fun,” says Nedohin.

“It’s a sport that they can tie in with other things they do. It’s a life-long sport you can do as a family and have life-long friends.”

The students were extremely engaged, Nedohin adds.

She taught one group of students in the morning and the second group in the afternoon. Both groups had lunch with her upstairs and during that time, she reminded them about some aspects of the game.

Prior to taking each group out onto the sheets, Nedohin gave them lessons about the equipment they would use and how to balance themselves while pushing the rock.

On the sheets, Nehodin had them form teams and explained the layout of the sheet and how to score points. She also had some students act as assistants, standing at one end of the sheet and putting out their arm to signal were the rock should be sent. She also, again, emphasized safety and sportsmanship.

Nedohin worked individually with players as well, highlighting to them how to improve their stance or accuracy with the rock. Some students took eagerly to the rocks or their assistant roles.

Some demonstrated a perfect stance when sending the rocks down the sheet, while others had a bit of struggle with their balance. But such is the art of learning the game and they even coached each other, pleasing Nedohin.

Darcy Servant, a teacher at GPV who went with the students, appreciates Nedohin providing her expertise to them.

“It was excellent, a great opportunity for our students to have someone of that calibre to show them (the game),” says Servant.

He hopes some of them will take an interest in the school’s junior and senior curling programs.

East Peace Gas Co-op and the Federation of Alberta Gas Co-ops Ltd. sponsored Nedohin to hold her clinics with the two groups of students.

“We’re pretty lucky to have someone like Heather’s calibre to Falher and offer the clinic,” says Dale Dupuis, manager of East Peace Gas Co-op.

The sponsors are proud to host the event, ensuring future growth of the sport in the region, he adds.

“Hopefully, the kids will pick up curling and have an interest in the sport in the future.”

Above, Heather Nedohin works with Riley Garant on signalling the direction that the curling rock should be sent down the sheet.


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