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Local curler to represent Canada in Scotland

Sault Ste. Marie's Rob MacLeod calls the chance 'surreal'
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When the calendar rolls over to a new year, it’s always an exciting time. Some look to improve themselves through resolutions. For some it might be a new job opportunity.

For Sault Ste. Marie’s Rob MacLeod, it means an opportunity to travel and compete in a sport that’s been part of his life for many years.

MacLeod, who has been curling off and on for nearly 30 years, is set to be one of 40 Canadians that will head to Scotland in the new year to compete in the Strathcona Cup, an event put on by Curling Canada and the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC) in Scotland that is held every five years and alternates between the two countries.

“It’s kind of surreal for me because I’ve done a little bit of competing but not very much,” MacLeod said. “To be able to compete at this kind of level just blows my mind.”

“It’s going to be the chance of a lifetime,” MacLeod also said. “My plan is to go over there and soak it all in.”

MacLeod said he learned of the Strathcona Cup in 2015 when his family hosted members of a women’s curling group from Scotland who toured parts of Ontario and curled at local clubs, including the Community First Curling Centre and Tarentorus Curling Club.

From there, MacLeod researched the opportunity of competing in the Strathcona Cup and applied to be one of the members who would travel to the 2018 event.

The group that was selected to make the trip were picked from roughly 200 people who applied.

The event was named after Donald Alexander Smith, 1st Baron Strathcona and Mount Royal. Smith was a Canadian businessman, born in Scotland, who served as the commissioner, governor and principal shareholder of the Hudson’s Bay Company. In addition to many other business ventures, Smith also served as Chancellor of McGill University from 1889 to 1914. He also served as the president of the RCCC in 1909.

MacLeod is set to depart for Toronto in early January where he will meet up with his Canadian teammates prior arriving in Scotland for the opening of the event on Jan. 10. The group will spend 23 days in Scotland for the competition.

MacLeod said curling has been a great way to meet new people as he’s spent time in three northern Ontario cities, including Hornepayne and Iroquois Falls in addition to the Sault.

“The best way to make an introduction is to walk into a curling club and start talking to people and getting involved and start volunteering your time and before you know it, you’re a part of the community,” MacLeod said.

More info on the 2018 Strathcona Cup can be found here.