The chance to compete for your province on home ice is something that curlers dream of doing.
Prince Albert’s Kara Thevenot got to accomplish that goal this past week in Moose Jaw as she was the lead for Robyn Silvernagle’s Saskatchewan rink at the 2020 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw.
“You never know if you’ll get that opportunity again so we just made sure to enjoy every moment and take the time to be with the fans who came out to cheer us on, especially the little kids who look up to us,” Thevenot said.
“It was so exciting to look up and see our family and friends wearing green in the stands (at Mosaic Place), in addition to having so many people from around the province cheering us on.”
While Thevenot, Silvernagle and second Jessie Hunkin had only had one previous Scotties experience (a third place result last year in Sydney, N.S.) under their belts, third Stefanie Lawton had previously competed for Saskatchewan on home ice as she was the skip for the fourth-place squad in Moose Jaw back in 2015.
“We got some great advice from her on what to expect and we also had those Grand Slam of Curling events last year from North Battleford and Saskatoon to help us prepare for everything,” Thevenot said.
“We did a lot of work ahead of time to get ready for the crowds at the Scotties, but you never really know what it’s going to be like until you get there. By the middle part of the week, we were kind of used to what was happening so we kind of expected the crowd to react when we made a good shot.”
Although the North Battleford based rink reached the championship pool for the second straight year, they were unable to qualify for the playoffs as their 6-5 record left them in fifth place overall.
“We had a couple of games where we didn’t take advantage of some opportunities, but we’re still very happy with how we played,” Thevenot said.
“All eight teams in the championship pool this year were very good, so to finish fifth in Canada is a major accomplishment.”
The most dramatic moment of the tournament for Saskatchewan came on Thursday morning as they picked up a 9-7 extra end over New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford to earn a spot in the championship pool.
“We didn’t have the result we wanted on Wednesday night (where they lost in an extra-end to Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville in their final round-robin game), but if you told us that we still had another chance to reach the championship pool the following morning, we’d always take it,” Thevenot said.
“It was a pretty exciting game. We had beaten New Brunswick the last two years at the Scotties so we knew we had a chance to win if we played well. You can’t worry about what happened the day before or what was ahead of us if we won. We just approached things one shot at a time and took everything as it came to us.”
When it comes to the rest of the season, the Silvernagle rink is not expecting to earn invites to the final two Grand Slam of Curling events of the season, which will be held in Toronto in April and Olds, Alta. in May.
The team will be welcoming two new members this summer as Thevenot will be welcoming a second child to her family in August and Hunkin is expecting a baby in July.
“Right now we’re planning to get some rest after the long grind of the season before talking with our families about next year,” Thevenot said.
“We’re probably going to have a team meeting here next month and then we’ll go from there.”