Ackerman qualifies for Winter Games

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Katie Brickman
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Young curling team ready for high competition

There were some rough bumps for the new Carson Ackerman rink, but it appears to be smooth curling now.

The Ackerman rink qualified for the Saskatchewan Winter Games after winning at districts in Swift Current over the weekend. From left to right, coach Patrick Ackerman, skip Carson Ackmerman, third Mitchell Dales, second Kacey Rodland and lead Brett Behm. Submitted photo

The young rink of Ackerman, Brett Behm, Kacey Rodland and Mitchell Dales secured their spot at the Saskatchewan Winter Games next month in Prince Albert.

“We have come a long way. The team has really come together and has really matured as players,” said Patrick Ackerman, coach of the rink. “Now, they are starting to look like they should at this point of the season.”

The team qualified at the southwest districts this weekend in Swift Current, beating host town rink Brendan Ross multiple times.

“We lost the first game, so it was double knock-out, which meant we had to keep winning. We had to do it the long way,” said Ackerman. “They looked good. The first game, they looked rough. They had trouble — it wasn’t so much reading the ice — but they just weren’t making shots. They just had a bad game.

“They really picked it up after that and played really well.”

This is a completely new team this year, as Carson played with James Barkway last year. Since Barkway moved on to university, Carson moved into the skip position, which required a learning curve for the young Peacock Collegiate student.

“He has matured a lot mentally and emotionally. He has been able to hold his emotions in check, which has been a bit of a struggle for him,” said Ackerman. “He has really grown and matured. He understands the game well enough to skip and it was just a matter of him maturing to be able to handle the pressure of skipping.”

Rodland also goes to Peacock, but Behm is a Vanier student and Dales is from Melville. It was an organic process on how this team came together.

“Kacey was around last year with school curling. Mitchell, we met over the summer in Nipawin at a curling camp. We got together with him in September,” explained Ackerman. “Brett came to a practice one day where we had three guys for sure and were looking for a fourth. He was standing at the rink and was interested.”

As a coach, Ackerman wanted a young team that could go to Winter Games, but also go compete at juniors and juvenile championships.

“Because Winter Games only happen every four years, we wanted a team that could be there,” said Ackerman. “We sat down together and asked what we wanted to accomplish this year. One of those accomplishments was to get to the Winter Games.”

After beating the Ross team in the A-B final at districts, securing their spot of one of nine teams heading to the Games, the team felt relieved.

“They were pretty happy about it … they were satisfied,” said Ackerman. “We didn’t really know any of the teams going in. It was good to see that competition there.”

There are nine teams representing the different regions with one pool of five teams and another pool of four teams. The top two teams in each pool go to the championship round.

The Ackerman rink heads to Prince Albert for the Games on Feb. 19 with action going from Feb. 20 to Feb. 22.

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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