NZ Curling Team Moves Into a Canadian Retirement Home

New Zealand squad needed inexpensive lodging while training in Canada
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2023 11:30 AM CDT
New Residents of Retirement Home: a Young Curling Team
New Zealand skip Anton Hood reacts after a throw at the Men's World Curling Championship in Ottawa on April 5, 2023. He and his teammates are staying at a retirement home in Calgary to train.   (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)

The average age of residents in the Chartwell Colonel Belcher Retirement Residence in Calgary is 84, notes the New York Times. But if the home's four new temporary residents were factored in, the number would skew much lower. In an unusual lodging arrangement—and one that seems to thrill all involved—the New Zealand men's curling team is staying at the Canadian facility while they train. As the CBC explained in an earlier report, the four members of the team—Ben Smith, Anton Hood, Brett Sargon, and Hunter Walker—decided earlier this year that if they wanted to be able to compete with the world's best curling teams, they would have to uproot temporarily from New Zealand.

"Canada is the hub of curling in the world," says Hood. "We knew if we wanted to be good, this was the place to do it." Given that curling isn't a big-money sport, the call went out on social media within the tightknit curling community looking for a place the men might stay on the cheap for several months. "You probably won't want to do this, but we do have a couple of spare rooms," responded Cassandra Murray, a former competitive curler who is a consultant at the retirement home. As it turns out, the men did.

"It's been awesome watching people's faces light up when we talk to them," Sargon tells the Times. "And now we're really starting to get to know more of them." Both outlets quote residents who say the feeling is mutual—"that's all the women talk about," says one male resident—and beyond the good vibes might be a more substantive storyline. The Times notes that it's another example of how intergenerational living can benefit all involved, as experiments at nursing homes in the Netherlands in particular have suggested. (More curling stories.)

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