Tyler Powell takes aim during Draw 7 versus Team Sato during the provincial tournament, held in Juan De Fuca on Vancouver Island, March 12-17th. Steve Seixeiro Photography

Curling for the crown

Invermere’s Tyler Powell heads to nationals next week

Invermere’s Tyler Powell is headed to the curling nationals next week after taking home provincial gold at the U18 championships.

“It was an amazing feeling, I was at a loss for words,” says Tyler, adding it “felt great for all the hard work and practice to have paid off.”

The gold-medal team included skip Erik Colwell (Vernon), Mitchell Kopytko (Kamloops), Ben Morin (Vernon) and Tyler. The team won five games in the round-robin tournament and lost two at the Vancouver Island Provincial tournament, held March 12-17th. The competition was strong; the team they beat in the finals (Team Sato) earned gold for Team BC at the Canada Winter Games. But Team Colwell was able to steal two points in the fourth end and four points in the eighth for the 9-4 win.

Tyler, 17, shares that reaching this level of competitive curling takes a lot of effort.

“It’s a lot of practice, and I go to the gym quite a bit personally – a lot of strength training and cardiovascular,” he says. “You’ve also got to believe in yourself and your ability.”

Tyler was introduced to the sport by Dave Gaspar, who used to run a junior curling program in Invermere.

Mr. Gaspar is proud of Tyler, commenting, “Tyler is a great example of what you can accomplish in your life. Practice. Positivity.”

Tyler says he did not really like curling when he first tried it but eventually found it to be a lot of fun, and worked hard to improve his game. Four or five years ago, Tyler became interested in competitive curling. He used to curl with a local team but eventually the other members moved on to different activities. This past year, Tyler joined a team out of Vernon. Approximately every other week, he drives back and forth to Vernon for practice.

Tyler’s goal is to one day reach the Olympics, like fellow Valley resident Christine DuBois. In the meantime, Tyler has his sights set on high school graduation then to Calgary for university, where he plans to play in the U21 league.

Ms. DuBois (nee Keshen) brought home a bronze medal for Team Canada in the 2006 Winter Olympics as team lead. She says there is definitely potential in the young Invermere curler. She has given him tips and sees him apply what he learns in practice to his game.

“I watch him practice and he’s diligent. He’s always looking to take that extra step to go a little bit further,” says Ms. DuBois. “He understands the process of changing little things to make a big difference long term and one thing I love about Tyler is his constant desire to grow as a curler. He is great curler, but there is no ego for Tyler in this game. He knows he can always improve and he is not afraid to ask for help.”

Of his Olympic dreams, Ms. Dubois says if he continues on the path he is on, with the continued patience and determination he has shown, “if that is his dream, he will make it happen.”

When the Pioneer interviewed Tyler, he was working out how to best prepare for nationals. The ice is gone now at the local curling rink, so he was looking to drive to Kimberley for some practice, and possibly meet up with team once more in Kamloops.

There is an event this Friday, March 29th in support of Tyler and Team Colwell before they head to Sherwood Park. The event at the curling club includes a silent auction, archery tag, 50 / 50 and more. It runs from 7-11 p.m. Silent auction items are listed on the Facebook event page, and include such offerings as two rounds of golf at Copper Point’s Ridge course, and two rounds at the Windermere Valley golf course. For more information, search for ‘Team British Columbia Sendoff’ on Facebook.

Tyler and Team Colwell are headed to U18 nationals at Sherwood Park, Alberta, from April 2-7th.

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