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Newcomer kids introduced to curling through off-ice Rocks and Rings program

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ted S. Warren

It’s one of Canada’s most iconic sports, but for many newcomers to the country, curling is a bizarre activity.

A Winnipeg sports organization is hoping to change that by introducing new Canadians between the ages of 4 and 14 to the game through a Curling Canada off-ice program.

Carolyn Trono of the Winnipeg Newcomer Sport Academy said her group – which includes kids from countries like Syria, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and Ivory Coast – is introducing its members to curling via the ‘Rocks and Rings’ program, which is a modified version of the sport that can be played in a gym.

“What we promote is multi-sport experiences,” Trono, Director of Long-Term Athlete Development for the Sport for Life Society, told 680 CJOB’s Sports Show.

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“What’s interesting about it is this is a very new thing for them. When I say they’re going on ice, because they’ve gone skating, they ask if they need to bring their skates with them.”

READ MORE: Manitoba Olympian says equal pay is something ‘all curlers’ believe in

The program’s goals are a combination of teaching kids ‘physical literacy’, as well as giving them positive opportunities to meet other Canadians and use those team-building experiences to strengthen bonds within the community, said Trono.

The positive environment, she said, is critical to making sure the kids choose the healthy choice of sport over more negative life paths.

“They have opportunities to connect with other kids, other Canadians, in a sport environment. We like the kids to run, we like the kids to play, because it’s physically good for them and it’s mentally good for them, but sport is a great way of connecting people.

“They can (now) be invited to the curling rink and actually know the game.

“It’s interesting to watch the kids… when they try something new, they absolutely love it.”

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