Even though he and his team didn’t receive a top three medal, Middleton says he was pleased with the way things went on the ice.
“That’s pretty much where we thought we would be. We tried and played our best and we were the youngest team there…It was exciting to know that there’d be some tough teams to play against.”
He says the level of talent on the ice throughout the Bonspiel was impressive.
“The talent from the rest of the province was just great. I know we will have some great games against them in the future. The team from Coquitlam, who actually won, they were probably one of the best junior teams I’ve ever seen. They made a lot of shots, put them in the right places, and that’s what you have to do to win.”
The bonspiel was Middleton’s first at the provincial level, and said he entered it challenging himself to see how he stacked up against the older, more experienced teams, who ranged in the 18 year old age group.
The Skip says competing at that level helped him develop as a curler both individually and with his Fort St. John team mates.
“I think it helped me lots, because I tired a few different positions. We (he and his team mates) enjoyed it a lot because it’s teams that we usually don’t play against, so it was our first time with that talent…We played every weekend this year so to play some new teams was good.”
Middleton says his favourite moment was how his team concluded their play in Kamloops.
“My favourite moment would be when we won our last game just because we didn’t start off too great. We ended strong by winning our last three of four games.”
From a technical standpoint, he said the ice at the Kamloops curling arena was a bit slower than that of the Fort St. John Curling Club, so he and his team mates had to make some mid-game adjustments with their throwing. He also added that their were no boards separating the rinks, so accuracy was at a premium at the bonspiel.
The curler, representing the Fort St. John Curling Club, has been competing on the ice since he was nine years old, and says he was drawn to the sport because he didn’t know too many people who participated in it.
“It’s a sport that really, not to many people get to do, and I’m glad I get to…I just saw it on TV one time, and the sweeping, and all the great shots being made, I just thought that looks pretty cool and something I’d like to try.”
He says that aside from the strategic aspect of the game, there are other characteristics of curling that make it a lot of fun for him.
“You’re always thinking, and no two ends will be the same… It doesn’t really matter what position I play, I just like being on the ice. I like sweeping, the strategy of the game and just playing it.”
Middleton says the sport is something he wants to pursue moving forward in life and takes his training seriously.
“Oh yeah, my goal is to get far and I’m usually throwing rocks maybe five days a week, I’m down there as much as I can be…There’s a big improvement just from the start of the year to now.”
He adds that the Fort St. John Curling Club is the perfect place for an up and coming curler to train, because the Club offers eight sheets to practice on, allowing him as much time on the ice he can handle.
Following the provincial Bonspiel, Middleton will take off his sliding shoes, and jump into a spectator’s seat, as he departs for Edmonton today to watch the Tim Horton’s Brier, something he says in an inspiration to him.
Middleton also wanted to thank the Fort St. John community for their support, along with their team sponsors, who he says really helped he and his team make their way to the provincial competition.