Melfort Special Olympic curlers heading to nationals to defend title

MELFORT — A Special Olympic curling team out of Melfort will once again be representing Saskatchewan at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

Assistant coach Carl Kruger said he can feel the excitement in the air around the team, who will be competing at Thunder Bay, Ontario, from Feb. 25 to 29.

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“Everybody’s getting excited and rearing to go,” Kruger said.

The team consists of skip Danny Fiedelleck, third Scot Earl, second Garnet Gerski, and co-leads Rodney Mitchell and Mitchell Anderson. They’ll be travelling with Kruger and coach Brian Kjelshus.

Excluding Gerski, who is the team’s newest member, they are currently the defending champions at nationals – winning the last winter games four years ago.

“The training is quite intense,” Kruger said. “They’re supposed to curl twice a week and train at a different sport once a week. So they’re committed quite hard to this event. It’s quite a commitment.”

During the summer, when there isn’t ice to curl, Kruger said the team has the ice training substituted for off-ice training doing activities like bowling.

He said the team’s on-ice training over the last year was largely focused on improving their shot making and delivery.

“The delivery is always crucial. It just gets the rock going straight and that’s what we’ve been emphasizing mostly on, making sure the rock is straight and going on the right path,” Kruger said.

 “If anyone in Melfort sees any one of our curlers, wish them well.”

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