REGINA -- Curling, much like other parts of life, has been turned upside-down by COVID-19. The challenge was no match for Saskatchewan’s Team Dunstone, who met the new requirements head-on and wasted little time getting down to work.

“At this point in the season we’ve usually got 60 to 70 games under our belt and this year we have 10 or 11,” Team Saskatchewan’s Braeden Moskowy explained.

When the foursome from Regina found out they’d be representing Saskatchewan at the 2021 Brier – a decision made by CurlSask – they weren’t allowed to practice as a group.

“Once we got approval from the government to start practicing because we’re going to the Brier we started looking for options,” Moskowy said.

In November, most curling rinks closed due to enhanced restrictions in Saskatchewan. The Highland Curling Club, where Team Dunstone has trained since 2018, was one of them.

“You think you’ve seen it all in the game of curling and then something like this happens,” Matt Dunstone said.

The team’s skip said they were trying to find solutions to training when the Wadena RE/MAX Curling Club reached out to them.

“We jumped on the opportunity, we had to go through some logistics, obviously and get some approvals,” Dunstone said.

With their front end Kirk Muyres and Dustin Kidby, the team re-located to Wadena. The curling club offered to make them curling ice and give them exclusive use of the rink.

“The ice maker would get it ready then he would leave the rink and lock the doors and we had a key to the rink,” Moskowy explained. “We would show up, we would practice, we’d be the only ones there and then we’d go right back to our house.”

The teammates became roomates, living together at a house five minutes from the rink in the weeks leading up to their departure for the Brier in Calgary.

“When you think about curling in Saskatchewan, you think about the 300 small town rinks throughout Saskatchewan,” Muyres said. “You go from bonspiel to bonspiel to be able to prepare in small town Saskatchewan to hopefully win the Brier. “I don’t think it gets much more Saskatchewan or curling than that.”

The team is grateful for the sacrifices and efforts the ice makers, Wadena residents Scott Comfort and Dustin Mikush.

“With how good our ice conditions have been here in Wadena, it’s been middle 12, 15 seconds, exactly what we’re going to see at the Brier,” Dunstone said.

The team had 13 practices in two weeks. They had groceries delivered to their house, but when some locals heard the team was training while self-isolating in Wadena, they pitched in.

“Some home cooked meals dropped off on our front porch the odd night, which was unbelievable,” Moskowy said.

The team also watched every draw of the Scotties before and after training sessions.

“I mean as far as I’m concerned there’s no better way to prep than what we just did for two weeks,” Moskowy laughed.

In return, Wadena gets recognition as Team Saskatchewan’s home club at the Canadian Men’s Curling Championships, starting Friday in Calgary.

“We’re going to be proud wearing the town’s name on our sleeve in the Brier,” Dunstone said.

Saskatchewan hasn’t won a Brier since Rick Folk’s rink claimed the Tankard in 1980.

“If things go well we can throw one heck of a party in the streets of Wadena at some point this summer,” Moskowy said.