The Carstairs Fire Department has a new addition to its fire hall and while many would assume it's a new fire truck, they'd be wrong. The fire hall is now home to The Alberta Firefighters Curling Association provincial championship trophy, and it's thanks to one of the department's very own lieutenants, Josh Van Arnam.

The provincial championship was held last weekend by firefighters from the Hanna Fire Service and it was the association's 63rd year of hosting the tournament. And while the tournament has been in existence for well over six decades, for Van Arnam the experience was new, though he said he was been curling his whole life. 

Van Arnam who played the position of third with his curling team, which comprised of two other firefighters from Calgary said that the win hasn't really sunken in just yet, but his fellow firefighters from Carstairs are ecstatic about the win and even more excited about the fact that in March, Van Arnam will be representing Alberta in the national championships that will be hosted in Charlottetown/Montague Prince Edward Island. 

The win last weekend was quite spectacular, considering Van Arnam's team overthrew the reigning champions. He noted that in the past several years two teams have been consistently winning the provincial trophy, making this win all the sweeter. 

"We're still a month and a half away [from the March Championships], so I have a little bit of time to let the nerves really start running rampant. I think it'll really sink in when we start getting all of our Team Alberta swag; then suddenly it will be real - that for once in my life, I'm competing for my province."

When asked how it was that the Carstairs fire hall would become home to the trophy since there are multiple members on the team, Van Arnam explained that Carstairs was the best place to display (no humble brag meant of course) the trophy so competitors could view it and his teammates wholeheartedly agreed. 

"I think it's going to stay for most of its year out here in Carstairs, which is pretty cool. That trophy has all 63 champions on it [from previous years]," Arnam added.

Van Arnam said that while the competition between firefighters was definitely a big component of the tournament, everything was all in good fun and camaraderie. There was also time to chat about all things firefighter-related when they weren't on the ice.

"It's that ability to sit and talk about our situation and the issues that are going on at some halls It was such a good learning experience for me because all fire halls have similar and it's interesting to get different ideas to combat the problems and the issues that we have."

As Van Arnam gets ready for the curling tournament in P.E.I, whilst also performing his duties as a firefighter for the town, he said the chance to represent not only Alberta, but Carstairs is historic.

"This is the first time that this is going to happen in the Carstairs era."

The national championship tournament, also known as the Canadian Firefighters Muscular Dystrophy Curling Championships has historically seen Alberta teams win the most, with the province having 20 wins since 1960. Championships in 2020, 2021, and 2022 were previously cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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