Local talent represents AB at Nationals
Mount Royal student on way to UNB to further curling career
By Brendan Stasiewich, Sports Editor
This guy’s got stones. Literally.
Tyler Lautner was born to be a curler. From the age of five, his father, who also played curling at a high level, got his son involved in the sport. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Lautner fell in love with the sport. The Calgary product played through the junior ranks before playing in his first international tournament in 2014, where he had the honour of playing skip, finishing in fifth.
The skipper throws the final two rocks of each end, and is often known as the leader of the team.
But, as fate would have it, Lautner’s junior team was about to go through turmoil. The team decided to split ways, and according to Lautner the breakup wasn’t pretty.
While most breakups are usually followed by listening to Marvin’s Room, excessive drinking, and sending passive aggressive text messages, Lautner would actually get the chance to settle the score.
Reading on Facebook that another high level Alberta curling team led by skip Colton Goller was in need of a player, Lautner “hit him up” and became the team’s newest addition.
In the semi-final match of the 2017 provincial championship in early Jan., Lautner would face his former team to determine who would have the chance to represent Canada at the national finals in Victoria.
You can imagine this meeting went down like all of the biggest rivalries of our generation: Kobe vs. Shaq, Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, Michael Jordan vs. the Mon-Stars in Space Jam, you name it, the theatrics matched.
The nailbiter went to an extra end, where Goller, Lautner’s teammate, had a chance to knock out an opponent’s rock on the final throw to win the match. With Lautner sweeping to help the rock around a guard, the rock curved into the opponent’s rock, knocking it out, booking the four man team’s ticket to the West Coast.
Talk about poetic justice.
“There’s always bad blood,” says Lautner. “The way we broke up wasn’t the most G rated breakup, I’d give it a solid 18A rating, I definitely wanted to bring my ‘A’ game and beat those guys.”
Lautner’s new team, now representing Alberta, made the trip to BC in late January, where they finished the national championship with a record of 5-5, a few spots shy of a playoff berth.
Though they didn’t get to play for the right to call themselves Canada’s best, Lautner says that the experience was rewarding.
“I’ve been to a tournament like that before in 2014 [and] only three teams made the playoffs, but overall it was a great experience,” says Lautner. “As for our finish during the week, it wasn’t good but it definitely wasn’t bad.”
Though the team finished in the middle of the pack, the experience has given Lautner an opportunity for the future. With Mount Royal lacking a formal curling program, the head coach of the University of New Brunswick caught wind of Lautner, offering him a spot on the team.
“Unless you go to the [University of Alberta] you don’t really get to play university curling in Alberta,” says Lautner. “New Brunswick’s coach mentioned he had a few guys graduating and asked if I’d be interested in playing.”
Though it’s easy to believe Lautner ‘curls for the girls,’ the real reason he plays is his unequivocal love for the rink. A love that will take him over 4,000 km away from home next September, as he has accepted the University of New Brunswick’s offer.
“I’ve gotten through all the junior levels of curling, I feel like the university level is the next step,” Lautner says.