Hawks exorcise demons to become national champions

Mar 20, 2024 | Headlines, Sports

The Humber Hawks men’s curling team are national champions.

The Hawks defeated the Mohawk Mountaineers in the championship match held in Fredericton, N.B.

The match was a nail-biting, back-and-forth affair that saw the Hawks win by one after blowing an early three-point lead.

The score was tied heading into the end, but the Hawks used the hammer to their advantage to deliver the game-winning shot, capturing a 7-6 victory.

Head coach Sean Turriff said the victory took a whole team effort, especially against the Mountaineers team that had defeated them in three straight provincial finals.

He said the attention to detail from every player had to be there throughout the match.

“Sure, our skip had to make that final shot, but it wasn’t easy. All four players had to contribute to make that shot. And they did,” Turriff said.

He said he had plenty of faith that his team would elevate their game when it mattered most because of their extensive preparation process.

He said that goes back to last summer when the team travelled to Scotland to compete in the European Super Series. Turriff said the experience served them well, knowing they were likely to face Mohawk in the national final.

“It just seems like these guys, when it really matters, that’s when we pull it out,” Turriff said.

The Hawks men's curling team embrace after the championship clinching shot.

The Hawks men's curling team embraced after the championship-clinching shot. Photo credit: Curling Canada/Rob Blanchard

Matthew Abrams, a third-year second, said the loss against Mohawk in the provincial final was the lone point of adversity in an otherwise successful season.

He said the loss left a sour taste in the team’s mouth and left them determined to ensure it wouldn’t happen again.

“I think we used that as fuel for the fire to make us work harder and practice together more to get us prepared for that national title,” Abrams said.

He said that as a result, the team grew together and began to understand the high level of play it would take to reach that point.

Jacob Dobson, a third-year skip, echoed the same sentiments but also said the coaching staff as a whole was integral to the team’s success during the gold medal game.

He said assistant coach Zack Shurtleff worked tirelessly with the team, bringing his wealth of knowledge and experience at the Olympic level to the table.

Dobson said that because Shurtleff experienced plenty on the winning and losing sides of curling, he was able to relate to his players and serve as a great role model for them.

“He was really helpful in helping us control our emotions and have a safe focus, just making sure we were ready to go for the big game,” he said.

Turriff said the championship is another huge victory for the program, which has been very successful since he took over.

While he deflected the credit away from himself, Turriff said he felt the most happy for the players.

“For me, it’s really satisfying to see the work and sacrifices pay off for them. That’s what fulfils me,” he said.

The win gave Humber their second straight CCAA championship and their third since 2016.