Malvern curling hurries hard to the top
City titles and trips to OFSAA mark a season of success on the ice
Before teacher and coach Heather Farintosh arrived at Malvern Collegiate Institute the school had not had a curling team in years.
“I’ve always curled myself,” Farintosh said. “There was a curling team here many, many years ago and there hasn’t been one in a long time. One of my students asked me if I could start it up again.”
In the two years since, Farintosh has turned Malvern into a force to be reckoned with on the high school curling scene. Her coaching style has landed right on the button as she has led both the girls and boys teams to great success. Last year, Malvern’s boys made it to the OFSAA tournament while the girls team won the Tier 2 city championship.
“This year was the opposite,” Farintosh said. “My girls went to OFSAA and my boys won Tier 2 championships.”
After losing the star skip of the boys team, Farintosh decided to place her team in the Tier 2 division this year. She said she now wonders if she should have left them in Tier 1 after an outstanding season by their new skip, Andy Cowan.
“He led the pack of those boys like a pro,” she said. “They were undefeated in their regular season. They won every game.”
Malvern’s boys then swept their way through the regionals and the city-wide playoffs, winning the gold medal match 9-1 against Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate on Mar. 27.
Even with the success of the boys team, Farintosh said she was especially proud of the girls squad this year and their skip Bronte Chin.
“The girls did extremely well,” she said. “They had one girl on the team that has curled before and the rest of them are brand new to curling.
“To have that sort of make up of a team and to make it as far as they did is unheard of.”
The girls came away from the regionals with silver after being blown out 9-0 by Birchmount Collegiate, Farintosh’s alma mater and where she used to curl.
Still, Malvern advanced to the city championships where they faced off against Birchmount once again.
“It was really nerve racking because they had beat us to get gold in regionals,” Farintosh said. “We were an underdog. I think that’s how we felt for a lot of the season.”
The underdogs managed to pull out an 8-6 victory to earn their revenge and a trip to the OFSAA tournament.
“Sometimes these teams beat you and you never get the chance to play them again,” Farintosh said. “So to have that chance in cities, with all the parents watching and other teams was really exciting.”
Despite being Toronto District School Board champions, Malvern wasn’t favoured at the OFSAA tournament held in St. Catherines, Grimsby and Welland. They lost their first match by a point and then fell to the eventual three-time OFSAA champ, Grimsby Secondary School, on their home ice.
Their only win of the tournament came in the third game against a team from Queen Elizabeth II District High School in Sioux Lookout, a team which had just beat Grimsby earlier in the day. While the win didn’t mean much in terms of standings, it was an emotional victory for Farintosh and her young curlers.
“My girls were on fire,” Farintosh said. “We won easily. As a coach, I was so proud of them because just so many things had come together.
“We didn’t get the chance to move on and that’s okay with a young team that doesn’t have a ton of experience,” she added. “It happens, but the fact that we even made it there was phenomenal.”
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