Young Townships curlers launch gofundme campaign to get to the nationals

Matthew McCully
Staff Writer

Team Cheal, recent winners of the (under 18) Junior Curling Provincial Championships held in Brownsburg between March 9-12, will now head off to compete in the nationals in April.
The young team, comprised of locals Greg Cheal, Zachary Griffiths-Julien and Richard Legler (alternate) along with Simon-Olivier Hébert from Valleyfield and James Trahan from Trois-Rivières, has launched a gofundme campaign to try and cover expenses during the weeklong trip to Moncton, New Brunswick.
“Curling Quebec supplies everything,” said Team Cheal member Zachary Griffiths-Julien, regarding the tournament needs and uniforms.
For everything else, they are on their own.
“We’re students,” Griffiths-Julien said, explaining that the team is short around $2,000 to cover transportation, accommodations and basic necessities.
Griffiths-Julien pointed out they are not chartering a private jet or travelling in the lap of luxury. The players and their coach Jeff Cheal will drive to Moncton and share two hotel rooms.
While Griffiths-Julien and team skip Greg Cheal have been playing together for the past six years, this is the first year the provincial championship winners have been together as a team.
It is also their last year, according to Griffiths-Julies, who will age out of the U18 division by next season.
Cheal and Griffiths-Julien had played against Trahan and Hébert in the past, and approached them to form Team Cheal.
“We’ve been playing well all season, but we didn’t let our guard down,” Griffiths-Julien said, adding they are feeling confident heading to the nationals.
Team Cheal also had the added experience of competing in the junior provincials held last month in Sherbrooke for the under 21 age bracket.
While Griffiths-Julien was out of town at the time, other members of Team Cheal threw their hat in the ring with older more experienced curlers, finishing the tournament in fifth place.
“For a small town, we have a strong curling culture,” Griffiths-Julien said, regarding the Lennoxville Curling club, the team’s base.
“There are a lot of past elite curlers,” he said, adding that the popular pie bonspiel draws curlers from all over to the area each year, which has provided local young players with valuable experience.
Team Cheal is not the only successful team hailing from the Lennoxville Curling Club. Last year the club’s wheelchair curling team represented the province at the nationals in Saskatchewan.
Griffiths-Julien also pointed out that Lennoxville curler Meaghan Rivett competed in the national junior championships last year.
Team Cheal will be one of 12 teams competing at the nationals in Moncton from April 18-22.
Divided into two pools, the team will play five games to determine their standing. At the end of the tournament, the players from the different provinces will mix and play in a friendly tournament to encourage camaraderie among the young curlers.
Griffiths-Julien and the other members of team Cheal are hoping for support from the community so the trip won’t break the bank.
By press time yesterday, the gofundme campaign had raised $980 towards its $2000 goal.
Anyone interested in supporting Team Cheal can donate by searching ‘Help team Quebec get to the nationals’ on the website.
A link is also available through the Team Cheal Facebook page, which Griffiths-Julien said will be updated regularly while at the nationals to let supporters know how the team is doing.