The 35-year-old Laycock—a 2006 commerce graduate who now works in the People and Resources division at the U of S—won his fourth provincial men’s curling title in five years on Feb. 4 in Estevan to earn the right to represent Saskatchewan again at the Tim Hortons Brier national championship, March 3-11 in Regina.
“It is an honour to represent our province at the Brier and it is also in a way representing the University of Saskatchewan,” said Laycock, who is joined on his Saskatoon Nutana Curling Club team by another U of S alumnus Kirk Muyres, a 2013 graduate of the Edwards School of Business. “Without the university’s unwavering commitment to allowing me to continue to pursue this dream, it just wouldn’t be possible. It is pretty special to work at a place that is so committed to both my professional and personal goals.”
Competing in provincial and national championships and on the World Curling Tour makes for a hectic travel schedule requiring plenty of time off during the curling season for Laycock, who serves as manager of compensation at the U of S. Laycock said the university has been extremely supportive and flexible with his work schedule to allow him to compete at the highest level.
This year is Laycock’s seventh trip to the national men’s curling championship, a remarkable record of success that also includes winning a world junior title and capturing a Canadian university title for the U of S.
“From first being a student-athlete who represented the U of S in winning the 2006 Canadian university curling championship and later representing Canada at the World Universiade Games in 2007, to now being an employee of the U of S and representing Saskatchewan at the Brier competing against the top teams in the world, it has been quite a journey,” said Laycock.
“When I first started developing an interest in curling, I dreamed one day of playing in the Brier. In my wildest dreams, I wouldn’t have guessed that I would get that opportunity seven times by the age of 35.”
Laycock is the latest in the university’s long line of championship curling connections which include Rick Folk playing for the old Huskies curling team in the 1970s and going on to become a two-time Canadian and world champion. Alumna Sandra Schmirler, who lost her battle with cancer in 2000, was a three-time national and world champion and won the first Olympic gold medal in the sport, while former U of S Chancellor Vera Pezer earned four Canadian women’s titles. Meanwhile, former provincial lieutenant-governor and renowned U of S medical researcher Sylvia Fedoruk, who passed away in 2012, was a three-time national champion.