With hopes of once again competing on the international stage, TRU’s team must first best other Canadians
TRU’s unofficial curling team hits the ice on Jan. 24 at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Corner Brook, N.L. to battle against teams representing each province and territory (with two teams from Ontario). The winning team will represent Canada at the World Junior Curling Championships in Tallin, Estonia in early March.
Team Brown is made up of four TRU students: skip Corryn Brown, third Erin Pincott, second Samantha Fisher and lead Sydney Fraser. The group has been curling together for nine years, and both Brown and coach Allison MacInnes said they are more than teammates, they are like sisters.
“It helps with understanding. It is a benefit and an advantage,” MacInnes said. “They know each other so well, even just knowing what to say to someone if a shot is missed. It’s hard to create that.”
Team Brown will be using every advantage it can to try for a win at nationals before moving on to compete in the world championships again.
“Obviously we didn’t have the best performance we wanted to when we went to worlds last time, so it’d be great to get a little redemption,” Brown said.
Team Brown placed ninth out of 10 teams at the 2013 world championships in Russia.
To see world championships again, Team Brown will have to best some strong teams at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships, starting with Team Alberta skipped by Kelsey Rocque, who, after taking the national title in 2014, went onto win gold in the World Junior Curling Championships in Switzerland. Rocque is the only member of that team to return to the national championships this year.
Another tough team to beat will be Team Nova Scotia, which has returned with the same four players who won bronze in the 2014 national championships.
But Team Brown will be bringing their own skillset to the table, which begins with their experience playing together. All four “sisters” have been competing together since childhood, even winning gold at the 2011 Canada Winter Games. Both Brown and Fisher’s fathers coached the women, which added even more of a family feel to the team.
This is the team’s first year under new coach MacInnes, something Brown said would be another advantage.
“Allison [MacInnes] has brought a whole new perspective on things. It has definitely made me re-think some of my strategy choices,” Brown said. “I think we have a pretty good chance at nationals. We’re definitely a lot more mature and a lot stronger than we were two years ago.”
MacInnes agreed the team will have a fighting chance to win the national championships, a goal they set in April.
“They’re very dedicated, not just to the sport of curling, but to their studies and to doing well in school and making education an important part of their lives,” MacInnes said.
Team Brown is curling this year under the TRU banner, although athletic director Ken Olynyk said athletics and recreation has not committed to curling as a sport.
“We endorse their participation in the play down and the championships,” Olynyk said. “I cannot commit to the next year as an official club team.”
Team Brown will play every day from Jan. 24 until the women’s finals on Jan. 31.