| Jul 03, 2019

“I think we have a legitimate shot at first or second,” said Karl Hammer Monday at the Stock Sports demonstration in Harrowsmith’s Centennial Park as part of the Canada Day celebrations. “Brazil is a powerhouse but we’ve put in a lot of time.”

Many will know Hammer as coach of Sydenham High School’s football team, but in this particular case, he’s talking about Stock Sports, a curling variant that can be played on tennis courts or any other smooth surface. The granite rocks of curling are replaced by stocks (which can be and are played on ice) with plastic or Teflon bases. The game is very similar to curling with some differences.

“There’s a perfect Venn Diagram of similarities,” Hammer said.

There is a world championship organization for the sport, which will be holding its championship in Asuncion, Paraguay July 9-11 and Hammer, along with teammates Mike Osborne, Tyler McComish and Karl Hammer Sr. will be representing Canada in the four-nation event, which is called the America Cup of Stock Sport. Tammy Lambert will also be going as a member of the women’s team.

Worldwide, South America is a perhaps the most enthusiastic about this sport, Hammer said.

“The origins of the sport are Austrian-Bavarian,” he said. “There was a large emigration to South America from those areas and they brought the sport with them.”

Canada hosted the championship in Angus, ON in 2015 but this will be Hammer’s first championship.

“Our other members were there,” he said. “Including Tyler, who came seventh out of 15 in the target competition.

“He was the first person to ever compete in the world championships who has an exceptionality.”

He said McComish has become something of a celebrity in the sport.

“Some people were worried about him competing but it’s turned out he’s bolstered the sport’s reputation,” Hammer said.

Obviously, Hammer and squad want to do well but there’s also an underlying reason they’d like to put in a good showing.

“We’d like to host the 2021 championships in Sydenham,” he said. “We’re making a push for a playing area specific to the sport.

“It would be nice to have level asphalt without any pressure cracks.”

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