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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

From pebbled ice to the big stage, Ruthven native making waves nationally in curling

submitted picture: Owen Nicholls, Liam Tardif, Dylan Stockton, Wyatt Wright, Kyle Stratton.

by Garrett Fodor

When 16-year-old Ruthven native Dylan Stockton first picked-up a flyer for the Curling Club of Kingsville nearly six-years ago, he never imagined he would be where he is today.

Stockton recalls getting a flyer one day, encouraging youth to try curling. He remembers bringing it home, and asking his parents if he could go try it. Fast forward six-years, the rest is history. The now 16-year-old has since been hooked by the ice sport.

“When I first signed up, I knew it was going to be hard, but I also just remember having a lot of fun,” Stockton recalled, who now curls out of the Sun Parlour Curling Club, following the closure and demolition of the Kingsville Curling Club nearly five-years ago. “After that first time trying it, I went out a few more times and started to get pretty good. I was learning things quickly and then began to play with some of the older boys, and just kept on going and kept getting better.”

submitted photo

Today, Stockton is now a member of two nightly leagues at the Sun Parlour Curling Club, as well as an hour of practice each night, along with competitive tournaments as well. On the ice, Stockton has filled every position of the team, from lead to second, vice and skip. Currently, Stockton plays second on Harrow native Kyle Stratton’s team. Stockton notes that next year he will be leading his own team, serving as skip.

Since the New Year, Stockton has been traveling to various different tournaments from the under-18 Nationals in Timmins to representing Team Ontario at the Canadian Winter Games, where they took home bronze at the beginning of March to recently traveling to Ottawa for the under-21 provincial championships.

Looking ahead, Stockton hopes he is able to continue to grow within the sport, achieving high levels and finding success, and hopes to parlay it into an opportunity at school.

“I want to study civil engineering, so [if] I can get into a school that has a curling team and I can play for the curling team, it would be great,” Stockton noted. “I just have to keep getting better and working. I know some of my friends have been scouted previously, and they were able to get to schools where they could curl and also get the degrees they wanted. So, I am optimistic it can happen for me, too.”

At the Canada Winter Games, which were held in P.E.I from February 18 to March 5, Stockton was a part of Team Ontario, which won bronze after defeating Alberta. Stockton said the experience was surreal and served as a learning experience individually and as part of a group.

With poor ice conditions, the team communicated, were calm, and able to overcome the issues with the ice throughout the tournament, eventually coming home with a medal.

“It is a huge honour representing a whole province on a national stage and I am so proud to have been a part of it a few times now,” Stockton said. “There is the pressure to do well and perform, but to me, once you get on the ice, you are in your element now.”

Stockton noted that since he got that flyer to try the sport six-years ago, his parents have also joined the sport, with the family quickly picking it up. He is grateful that his parents let him try curling and for the support they have given him.

Stockton also credits Tim Lindsay, who has coached him for the last four-years. He noted Lindsay has been instrumental in helping further his development as a curler and helped to provide feedback and opportunities to continue to grow.

Stockton encourages anyone interested in the sport to try it by gathering up three other friends and creating a team. He noted the social environment and aspect of the sport is great.

“There are going to be bumps in the road, it is not an easy sport to pick up at first,” Stockton commented. “It is important to just keep trying and having fun out on the ice. The rest will come, find a coach who will help you, do it with friends, but I encourage everyone to give it a try. So many of the clubs have days where you can try it.”

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