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The Lakehead University Curling Club team is pleased to announce the addition of Nicole Westlund Stewart and Tyler Stewart as head coaches for the 2021-2022 season.
The news is bittersweet as long-time coach, Dick Henderson, retires after 14 years of leading the Lakehead Thunderwolves Curling team. Dick led the team at 9 OUA and 1 USport Championships, including a silver medal with team Beaudry (co-coached by Lorraine Lang) when the event was hosted by Lakehead in 2017. Dick was named OUA coach of the year in 2017 and 2018. He also coached the Queen’s Golden Gael Men’s curling team to a USport Championship in 2010 and to a 4th place finish at the FISU World University Games in 2011 in Erzerum, Turkey.
It is with very mixed emotions that I leave the home of the Thunder Wolves after 14 years. What a great experience and what terrific people I have been mentored by, including the late Bill Charlebois. We really enjoyed some very interesting and exciting times. Without a doubt it was the athletes, their determination, their commitment and their dedication, not only to curling but also, to their academics, that kept me coming back. I will miss the interaction with them. They were and will continue to be an integral part of my life – a second family. I know that they are in very capable hands with team coaches Samantha Morris and Kurtis Byrd and program managers Nicole Westlund Stewart and Tyler Stewart. They will continue to receive the trusted support of the Athletic department from Club Coordinator – Laura Ferguson, and Executive Assistant – Lana Rizzuto and Director of Athletics – Tom Warden. Go Wolves Go. Enjoy the voyage and the tests you meet along the way.
A native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Nicole Westlund Stewart holds a masters degree and PhD in sport psychology from Western University and is an alumna of Lakehead University’s psychology program. She is a certified Competition Development Curling Coach and previously coached the Western University men’s curling team at the 2015 USport championships and to a silver medal at the 2015 OUA championships. As an athlete, Nicole competed at four USport curling championships (twice with Lakehead and twice with Western) and won the 2013 OUA curling championships with Western.
After working at the University of Waterloo for four years, Nicole returned to her hometown of Thunder Bay to work at Lakehead University in the Office of Research Services as the SSHRC/CIHR Research and Knowledge Mobilization Facilitator.
“Curling has such a strong tradition at Lakehead with many notable alumni having gone on to compete at provincial, national, and international championships. we look forward to working with team coaches Samantha Morris and Kurtis Byrd and building on the teams’ past successes at the OUA and USport championships” says Westlund Stewart.
A native of Timmins, Ontario, Tyler Stewart holds an honours bachelor of commerce degree in sports administration from Laurentian University. He is a Curling Competition Coach in training. As a member of Laurentian’s varsity curling team, Tyler competed at the 2008 USport curling championships and won a bronze medal at the 2010 OUA curling championships. Together with Nicole, Tyler competed at the 2018 Canadian Mixed Doubles Olympic Trials, won the 2017 Ontario Mixed Doubles Championships, and competed at the 2015 and 2017 Canadian Mixed Doubles championships.
“We have big shoes to fill replacing Dick Henderson after all the great things he’s contributed to curling at Lakehead and across Northwestern Ontario, but we look forward to the challenge,” says Stewart.
The Thunderwolves Curling teams look forward to hitting the ice for the 2021-2022 season, pending COVID-19 restrictions being lifted.