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URBAN HERO: Stuart Sankey helps young curlers reach the next level



Stuart Sankey has long harboured a love for the sport of curling and once came a win away from making the Ontario championship. Now with a successful real estate career, he’s devoting time and money to help youngsters reach the pinnacle of the game.

Rather than simply sponsoring teams, however, Sankey has gone above and beyond the call of duty, setting up tournaments across the GTA to help teams get the experience and exposure to the top competition they need to take their game to the next level.

“A lot of people were calling and asking me to sponsor their teams, but you can only do so much there,” he said. “I came up with the idea for a foundation that young teams can apply to so they can be eligible for tournaments.”

Sankey noted that Toronto never had an Olympic-qualifying event — surprising, given the sport’s booming popularity nationwide and the number of rinks, clubs and teams in Canada’s biggest city.

To counter that, he started up a number of tournaments, including the Stu Sells Junior Tankard for teams under 21 years of age and the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard. Aspiring teams can win a spot at those tankards and compete against some of the nation’s best curlers.

“They get to play against (Olympic gold medallist and world champion) Brad Gushue, (five-time world champion) Glenn Howard — names like that,” Sankey said. “It’s a different level of competition than what they would normally face.”

He also holds mixed-doubles tankards, tankards in Oakville and Halifax, and an under-18 event to spread the love of curling among youngsters.

“I took curling back in high school and I loved it,” he said. “It can be hard to get money (for tournaments) when you’re a young team, so I want to help these young people get experience and get better at the sport.”

Ideally, some day young teams at the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard will be able to say they faced off against world champions who improved their own curling game thanks to the good works of Stuart Sankey.