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St. Albert's Andrew Nowell wins silver with Team Alberta at junior nationals

St. Albert's Andrew Nowell played lead for Team Alberta.

Losing the final game at the Canadian National curling championships for U21 was initially painful for St. Albert's Andrew Nowell.

“You're so close to gold. But it feels really good. I mean, we're second in Canada and it's something that I know I'm proud of and our team is very proud of. We've worked a lot over the last two years together to get to this point and our hard work pays. [It] shows off that silver medal, for sure,” said Nowell.

The New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships were held from March 26 to April 1 in Stratford, Ont. Team Alberta, a team playing out of the University of Alberta, won silver, losing out to Team Ontario.

Team Ontario won against Team Alberta 10-4.

The Alberta team featured skip Johnson Tao, second Ben Morin from Vernon B.C, third Jaedon Neuert from Winnipeg, Man., Nowell as lead, and Skip Wilson coached.

Team Ontario featured skip Landon Rooney, third Nathan Steele, second Jacob Jones, lead Austin Snyder, alternative Scott Mitchell, and was coached by Collin Mitchel.

Nowell said Team Alberta got out to a slow start.

“They got three in the second end, which is a lot of points to catch up on. [We had a] slow start but we did battle back,” he said.

Nowell said the team never got down on themselves and one of the biggest challenges they faced during the game was setting themselves up for multiple points with the hammer.

“The other team did a good job of limiting our chances,” he said.

Nowell said the competition was great. Team Alberta would have some good shots and then team Ontario would have some good shots right back.

“We did play well; it just wasn’t quite enough,” said Nowell.

The final game came after an exciting win during the semi-finals against Team Manitoba.

The game was tied in the last end, but Team Alberta was able to steal on for the win for a final score of 5-4.

“It was a really close game … To steal one and get us into the final was huge. It was a great last end for us,” he said.

Overall, the experience was “amazing” for Nowell. He said the event was well run and the atmosphere was really cool.

“The fans were allowed out there. The ice was really good, too. And it was just cool to represent your province, too, and wear the blue and gold,” he said.

As for what is next for Team Alberta, Nowell said he will be moving up into the men’s league while the rest of his team has another year left for junior eligibility.

“I won't be able to play juniors anymore. But I will get to play some men's events with them next year as well,” he said.

He plans to enjoy his time off during the off-season, “just take a little bit away from curling, because it was a long year … then, just enjoy the off-season and then next year come back and hopefully make a good step into men's curling with that team,” he said.

Nowell said the transition into men’s curling is exciting.

“There's a lot of good men's teams in Alberta. Some of the best ones in the world are in Alberta. It'll be good to take the next step into men's curling for sure. I'm excited about it,” he said.

About the Author: Jessica Nelson

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