East Kildonan teen is a budding rock star
East Kildonan teen Jack Steski and his curling teammates are heading to two of the largest curling events in the country in the next couple of months. Steski plays second for a team skipped by Jace Freeman of Virden, which recently qualified for the Canada Winter Games and the 2023 U18 Canadian championships.
Steski has been curling since the age of six, when he took up a sport that has been played by four generations of his family.
In October, the Freeman foursome, which also includes third Elias Huminicki and lead Rylan Graham, competed in the Canada Winter Games trials at the Heather Curling Club. The team won six straight games in round-robin competition, sending it straight to the final. Victory in that game secured a spot to represent Manitoba in the 2023 Canada Winter Games taking place in Prince Edward Island from Feb. 18 to March 5 (the curling competition will run from Feb. 27 to March 3).
Steski said theirs was not an easy path. The last Canada Winter Games were held in 2019 and usually take place every two years.
“Two years ago, the skip messaged me to ask if I wanted to be on his U18 Canada Games trials team,” he recalls.
After finding two more players to complete the team, the trials were postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were postponed again in 2021. Last fall, Steski says “we threw a team together with four people who had never played together before, so we didn’t really know how it would go.”
The players were acquaintances and had played against each other many times.
Before heading to the Canada Games, the team will also represent Manitoba at the Canadian U18 championship in Timmins, Ont., from Feb. 5 to 11. After winning the Games trials, Steski and his teammates competed in the U18 Manitoba championship in December 2022. They were 5-1 after the round-robin and won the final game 6-5, after an extra end. Even though both teams in the final will go to nationals, the team is proud to be Manitoba U18 champions.
The national championship event will see 42 men’s and women’s teams compete, with winners and runners-up from each province invited to play. Since the event was not held for two years, the format gives more young players a chance to compete.
Steski will graduate from River East Collegiate in June and looks forward to attending the University of Manitoba to pursue a career in engineering. I would like to extend my best wishes to Steski and Team Freeman as they represent Manitoba in these two prestigious curling events.
East Kildonan community correspondent
Wendy Hrynkiw is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. Email her at email@example.com