Melfort’s Thevenot reflects on her first Scotties appearance

CurlSask photo. Team Ackerman poses for a photo after winning provincial playdowns.

Nicole Goldsworthy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

A Melfort veterinary technician was one of the members of Team Saskatchewan at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. 

Ashley Thevenot, third, competed for the national women’s curling championship with lead Kaylin Skinner, second Taylor Stremick and skip Skylar Ackerman. The rookie team ended with a four and four record and almost made it to the playoffs. 

They started off with three impressive wins against PEI(DiCarlo), Manitoba (Lawes) and Northern Ontario (McCarville) before losing there next three to Quebec (St. Georges), Alberta (Sturmay), and Canada (Einarson).  Team Ackerman then beat Newfoundland and Labrador (Curtis) and then ultimately lost their final game against B.C. (Brown). 

This year, there were no tie breaking games played, and it was left up to head-to-head match-ups and the draw to the button shots, so the team just missed the playoffs. 

Thevenot spoke to and said they were overall happy with their play at the Scotties.  

“For a rookie team, we are very pleased with an even record on the big stage. The first three games of the event we are especially proud of because we had to work hard for those wins against great teams and it really proved that our work this season is paying off. We really leaned into the entire experience with the big crowds and the huge level of support felt from across Saskatchewan, which made it even more special.”

Thevenot said dropping the next three games was disappointing, but with only a handful more shots going our way I think those games might go a different way.

“Missing playoffs by one win or a better last stone draw goes to show we can compete there – its what leaves us wanting to practice on our weaknesses and come back better.” 

Thevenot said as far as the ice conditions go, they’re many more factors that come into play in an arena, meaning that you have to be able to adapt and catch on to changes quickly to keep up with the teams that play on arena ice regularly.  

“The crowd in general is on all sides of you as opposed to only behind the glass, so there are many more distractions. The rocks are also often touched up by the ice technicians to achieve the ideal amount of curl they want to see. Overall there are more challenges, but I wouldn’t miss any opportunity to play in front of a live crowd – it is absolutely electric to have fans cheering so close.” 

The third said the highlight of the week was “Definitely the overwhelming amount of support we have all experienced. From fans cheering in the stands, people watching on TSN at home, to the messages of encouragement we all received throughout the event and after. The recipe for success we identified before heading to the event was to just be ourselves, play our game and enjoy the experience, and in the process it sure feels as though we made Saskatchewan proud regardless of our result in the event.” 

Future plans for Team Ackerman are to take a couple weeks to catch up on other aspects of their life since prioritizing curling for the last few months. They have a meeting planned in a couple of weeks to debrief the season and discuss the upcoming one.