Guelph/Eramosa curlers qualify for Canadian championship

GUELPH/ERAMOSA – Riley Sandham and Brendan Craig are heading to Fredericton, New Brunswick next week, for the Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. 

The championship runs March 17 to 22, with games streamed online at

The winning team will go on to represent Canada in Ostersund, Sweden at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championships. 

It was a passion for curling that brought Sandham and Craig together. They met in high school, through mutual friends on their curling teams, and started dating during university. 

Now, the couple has been curling together for six years and is engaged to be married this fall. They live together in Guelph/Eramosa, just outside Guelph, and curl at the Guelph Curling Club.

Riley Sandham and Brendan Craig, now engaged to be married, met through mutual curling friends while they were in high school. Submitted photo


For Sandham, learning to curl was like learning to walk – she started so young she doesn’t remember it.

“My dad taught a youth program,” she told the Advertiser. “I was always at the curling club.”

The sport runs deep through her family history; her dad Ken Sandham is an accomplished coach and her grandmother and great aunts and uncles curled, too.  

Craig had a much later start to the game. He was a teenager when his mom saw an advertisement for curling in their local newspaper and decided to sign him up. 

Craig said the late start was challenging. 

“All of my friends were in the level above me, and I was just starting out fresh. That sucked – being with all the young kids.” 

But over time, Craig put in the practice and once he started making consistent shots, he said the wins became addictive. 

“Playing more events at a higher level is more fun, and feeds the fire,” he said.

This is the first time the team has qualified for a national championship, Sandham noted. 

“It’s the first year we’ve dedicated to trying to make it happen,” Craig added, and they put in significant work to get there. “A lot of grinding on weekends.” 

Curlers Riley Sandham and Brendan Craig worked hard to accomplish their goal of qualifying for the national championships that take place in New Brunswick this month. Submitted photo


They’re taking things one step at a time, and their initial goal in New Brunswick is to qualify for the playoff round. 

Of the 32 teams in the tournament, 12 will qualify for playoffs. 

“If we finish within the top 12, then we’ll go from there,” Craig said. 

“Especially with it being our first national championship, you never know what will happen,” Sandham said, and “we want to enjoy the experience, too.” 

They’ll be playing a maximum of two games per day while they are in Fredericton, leaving them some time to explore the city between games.

Sandham’s dad will be joining them as coach. 

Once the national championship is behind them, Sandham and Craig are setting their sites on the Canadian Olympic Trials, which take place in Liverpool, Nova Scotia from Dec. 30 to Jan. 4. 

The winning team at the trials  will go on to represent Canada at the 2026 Winter Olympics.  

Sandham and Craig’s team is ranked fifth in Canada’s Olympic Trials Ranking System, and 20th in World Curling’s Mixed Doubles ranking.