The 2012 BC Winter Games are in the books, and Kootenay athletes had some solid results.
The curling team of Ian Redeker, Sam Gaspar, Logan Powell, Garrett Kashuba, JP Pollard and coach Dave Gaspar, who qualified for the games by beating a Grand Forks rink in January, finished tied for fifth among eight other teams. Coach Gaspar said he was pleased with the result, and called the games a “great learning experience” for his team.
“We had a couple of really close games, Gaspar said. “They had a great time, and the skill level there is incredible for the age group… they tried their best but just missed some key shots — we were definitely in every game.
“The BC Winter Games takes place every two years, and took place in Vernon from February 23 to 26 this time around. A number of Kootenay athletes attended, in sports ranging from badminton to hockey, and while no one from the immediate area was able to capture any medals, the athletes surely represented the valley with pride. The badminton team in particular won an award for most sportsmanlike team, and J.A. Laird athlete Jessica Markus won the Fair Play award for great work etiquette. Skier Nat McGrath also had respectable showings of 10th and 11th in freestyle skiing.
“I think the team learned that they need to prepare a little bit more, mentally and physically,” Gaspar said of the curling team. “We’re going to try again (next year), no one is quitting… we’re going to stay with it.”
Gaspar says he learned a lot himself about being a coach at the Games, and that he’ll be able to prepare the team better for their next opportunity.
He noted that the team’s game on Sunday was actually broadcast on Shaw cable, and said the experience of cameras following the team up and down the ice probably affected their concentration.
Regardless, Gaspar says that he’s confident in his team’s chances next time around, and really believes that they could win it all in the future.
“It was a great experience, the people of Vernon were awesome, it was well organized, the volunteers were incredible, and they really entertained the kids with a couple of dance parties — maybe that distracted them too,” Gaspar joked. “Keeping your mind on why you’re actually there is what we’ll work on next time… meeting girls might not be one of our goals next time.”