curling champs

It’s about Epping time

Leaside's Team Epping curls its way to the top. Next stop: the Brier

Team Ontario has found a home in East York.

Leaside Curling Club’s own Team Epping hit, drew and swept its way to the top earlier this month in Huntsville, winning the Ontario Recharge with Milk Tankard over 17-time champion Glenn Howard, 5-1. 

This was skip John Epping’s 11th appearance at the Tankard. The team will go on to represent team Ontario at this year’s Brier. It will be its first appearance at a Brier, and a first for Leaside.

“(It) was instant excitement and joy,” Epping said of the team’s Feb. 4 victory. “I’ve been close many times before, and it’s nice to finally get to the Brier.”
Team Epping will have a chance to represent not only Team Ontario, but the whole of Leaside.

“Team Epping is not the only Ontario champion from the club, but it is the first Leaside team to win the Men’s Tankard and advance to the national Brier,” said Leaside Curling Club general manager Paivi Liitela. “(It’s) great for Leaside.”

Members of the club are excited that one of their own has come so far.

“When I heard John had won, I was absolutely ecstatic,” Liitela said. “(We’re) so proud of the team.”

As one of two curling clubs in East York (the East York Curling Club is the other), it’s no surprise that this is exciting news for the community.

“Curling is already tremendously popular in Leaside and East York,” Liitela said. “This result, combined with the additional coverage the sport will receive during the Olympics, will only bring more attention to the sport.” (Canada won a gold medal this week in mixed doubles curling.)

Along with skip Epping, the team comprises third Mat Camm, second Patrick Janssen and lead Tim March. Team Epping has become well known at the club, as well as in the community.

“Leaside’s response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Liitela said. “John is well known at the club, having been involved in numerous clinics run by our education committee, as well as doing private lessons.”

Bringing the trophy back to Leaside is something Epping is looking forward to.
“It means everything, really,” Epping said. “The club has been so good to our team and accommodating. Every time I step in the club it’s a warm feeling from the members. We really appreciate their support and can’t wait to make them proud at the Brier.”
That feeling is mutual.

“John is such an ambassador for the sport and for the club,” Liitela said. “He and the entire team have the full support of the membership.”

The team will be heading to Regina to represent Ontario at the 2018 Brier, March 3-11. The winner of the Brier will represent Canada at the 2018 World Curling Championships in Las Vegas, March 31-April 8.