Top News

Two provincial championships in one weekend for Will Butler of Kippens

Will Butler poses with his gold medal in the Star 6 men’s category of the 2018 Agnes Thistle Invitational figure skating event in Grand Falls-Windsor.
Will Butler poses with his gold medal in the Star 6 men’s category of the 2018 Agnes Thistle Invitational figure skating event in Grand Falls-Windsor. - Contributed
KIPPENS, N.L. —

What could make a 13-year-old suddenly up and leave while competing in a provincial championship?

Well, another provincial championship, apparently.

That was the situation Will Butler of Kippens found himself in last weekend as skip of a team that was a part of the U18 provincial junior curling championships in Corner Brook.

However, he was also scheduled to perform at the 2019 Skate Canada Newfoundland and Labrador provincial championships in Gander as a member of the Stephenville Figure Skating Club.

He knew about it well in advance, so he was able to come to a decision long before the clash.

“My priority was to skate at provincials,” he said.

When he’s not figure skating, Butler can usually be found at the curling club.
When he’s not figure skating, Butler can usually be found at the curling club.

The plan was to curl Thursday, Friday and Saturday morning, then hit the road for Gander, so following his team’s 8-6 win over Corner Brook’s Daniel O’Neill rink in the morning, off he headed.

He knew he’d potentially have to play in a tiebreaker in curling Saturday night, depending on how his team did without him in the afternoon draw. As it turned out, they lost, so he did.

The weather didn’t cooperate either, making the drive an onerous one.

“We started off fine, but we had to slow down to around 60 km/h,” he said, noting the trek took over four hours.

He arrived safe and sound, and proceeded to win the silver medal in the Star 6 Men category with a final score of 20.40. Riley Jerrett of Seaport Skaters took gold after recording a 22.80 score.

Without much time to soak in the glory of the strong showing, Butler was back on the highway heading west towards the Corner Brook Curling Club, hoping he would make it back in time to play the 8 p.m. tiebreaker with a spot in the semifinal on the line.

“It was pretty stressful,” he said. “I tried to relax and take a nap … take some time to prepare myself to get back on the ice.”

He arrived about halfway through the game, with his rink down 5-3. He helped them climb back into a 6-6 tie after seven ends, before ultimately falling 7-6 in the eighth.

The son of John and Susan, Butler began curling when he was six and figure skating at the age of eight.

He enjoys the pressure of skating, he says, where you have one chance to take it all, while he appreciates the team aspect of curling, a sport he likes because it allows him to have fun while playing with friends.

If he had to choose?

“I’d like to say I like curling more,” he said. “It just holds a very close place in my heart.”

Butler, who turns 14 on March 12, plans to skate until he graduates high school, but hopes to continue to curl throughout university and maybe even compete at a national level someday.

He happens to be getting a firsthand look at a national competition this week, as he is attending the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Sydney, N.S. after registering for a chance to become a Junior Star and getting selected.

“You get a jacket and sit on ice level and talk with the players,” he said. “It’s very nice.”

Recent Stories