Airdrie curler set to take on the world
By: Lucas Punkari
| Posted: Thursday, Feb 27, 2014 10:53 am
Just before she flew off to Flims, Switzerland on Feb. 22, it finally hit home for Airdrie resident Keely Brown that she would be going to represent her country at the World Junior Curling Championships from Feb. 26 to March 5.
“Our team had a send-off party at our home curling club in Edmonton (the Saville Sports Centre) last Thursday (Feb. 20), and to hear everyone call us Team Canada and to be surrounded by red and white just made me excited,” Brown said prior to her flight to Switzerland.
“Plus, seeing both Jennifer Jones and Brad Jacobs win gold for Canada at the Winter Olympics in Sochi has pushed us to do the same as them,” she added.
The 20-year-old nursing student at the University of Alberta, who is the third on Kelsey Rocque’s team, qualified for the world championships after winning the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Women’s Curling Championships in Liverpool, N.S. on Jan. 25 in a 7-6 win over Kalia Van Osch of British Columbia.
Since its win at the national championships, the team, which also consists of second Taylor McDonald and lead Claire Tully has been getting ready for its trip to the World Championships by taking to the ice on a regular basis.
In fact, the rink competed for the University of Alberta at the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Western Canadian Curling Championships in Edmonton on Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, where they earned a qualifying spot for the CIS National Championships in Regina on March 19 to 23.
“We were still pretty tired after playing at the Canadian Juniors the weekend before that, but we were able to work through it,” Brown said.
“We were pretty solid in how we played during that weekend, and we achieved our goal of qualifying for the CIS national tournament in Regina.”
At the World Junior Curling Championships, which is taking place at the Waldhaus Arena in Flims, Brown and her team will be in a similar situation to the entire field, as every rink will be competing on the international stage for the first time.
“It’s pretty rare that every team is a new one at this event, as there are teams in Europe who usually are there for a second time,” Brown said.
“It will be a fresh field, and I think that’s going to make things very interesting.”
Team Canada opened up its schedule at the World Championships on Feb. 26 with a pair of games, as it took on the Czech Republic and Italy. Full details of those games were unknown as of press time.
The nine-game round-robin schedule for the team will wrap up on March 2, with the top four teams advancing to the semi-finals on March 4.
The championship game will take place on March 5.
As her rink tries to become the first Canadian team to win the Women’s World Junior Curling Championship since Marliese Miller of Saskatoon, Sask. accomplished that feat in 2003, Brown believes that the squad will have to keep up the same approach it did during the national championships.
“We just have to take it one game at a time and not look far ahead,” she said.
“If we lose a game early, it’s not the end of the world, as we lost a game early on at the nationals and we worked through it. We just have to go and do our own thing.”