Team Silvernagle’s Thevenot reflects on Scottie’s experience.

Photo by Curling Canada. Team Silvernagle poses for a photo wearing the Team Saskatchewan jacket at the 2023 Scottie’s Tournament of Hearts in Kamloops, BC. Pictured left to right, Robyn Silvernagle, Kelly Schafer, Sherry Just, Kara Thevenot.

The results didn’t favor Team Silvernagle at the 2023 Scottie’s Tournament of Hearts as they would finish the tournament with a record of 2-6, but the experience competing on the national stage was worthwhile.

Kara Thevenot is the lead on Team Silvernagle and currently calls Prince Albert home. It was the third time she had made a trip to the Scottie’s alongside her close friend in skip Robyn Silvernagle.

Thevenot says the results were not what they would have liked, but the team enjoyed the tournament as a whole.

“Robyn and I especially I’ve been here a couple times before and it puts it all in perspective, then you just try to also enjoy the whole Scottie’s experience. We’re disappointed with the result, but we had some games that were really close that you make a couple more shots and you’re probably winning those games. A couple of games that we just had one bad end and it’s hard to regroup from that. Not the results we wanted but if you look at it as a whole, and just be thankful that we can get to a national championship for a third time.”

Although Thevenot and Silvernagle were no strangers to the national stage at the Scottie’s Tournament of Hearts, it was a first-time experience for second Sherry Just and third Kelly Schafer.

Schafer is no stranger to competing on some of curling’s biggest stage having competed in three Olympic games representing Great Britain in 2006, 2010 and 2018.

Thevenot says she enjoyed seeing her teammates reactions to playing on the biggest stage in Canadian women’s curling.

“It was their first chance to be in there. Kelly has been to many of her own national and international competitions, so she’s got a lot of experience. But this is still the Scotties. This is the women’s big show. So, it was fun, just like seeing the reactions to everything and how things are going to go and to just enjoy the moment. And I think that’s something we really tried to do, and it was a lot of fun.”

Team Silvernagle didn’t get off to the best of starts at the Scottie’s dropping their opening match to Nova Scotia by a score of 12-7.

They would rebound taking a close 11-9 decision over Team Alberta in their second match of the tournament.

However, Team Silvernagle would drop their next four matches in a row against Quebec, Wild Card 1, Canada and British Columbia.

Thevenot says the games came down to the wire and teams were able to make some clutch shots when they needed them the most.

“At a high level, it’s literally one or two shots here or there. You could make one or two more stays and you don’t or teams and other skips make great shots against you. Sometimes the scoreboard isn’t indicative of how that game actually went. And we did struggle with ice conditions a little bit at the beginning of the week. It was frosty and kind of patchy and it got better as the week goes on. And there are a few things like we didn’t have as many reps out there as some of the other teams have played all year. Some of those little things do show up when you get into tough competition but that’s the way we chose to play our year. We went out there and just tried to have a lot of fun too, and just enjoy being with each other and enjoy the experience.”

Team Silvernagle would walk away from the Scottie’s in Kamloops with one of the best ends ever seen at the tournament. In their second to last game of the tournament, they would score 7 in the 8th end of their matchup against Nunavut, which caused their opponent to concede the game.

Thevenot says she didn’t even realize they could be making history as the end went on.

“To be honest, it kind of just happened and after I was like, ‘Oh, I think this is a draw for seven’. You don’t really think about it at the time. Yeah, it definitely has gone down in history as the second team to ever do that at the Scottie’s. That goes to show you what happens when you put eight good shots in one end together and the results come in. So, it is definitely something we’ll never forget.”

There was an extra special fan in the audience in Kamloops for Team Silvernagle at the Scottie’s. Robyn Silvernagle’s 17-month-old son Kolt was born with a detached esophagus and has undergone eight surgeries and has spent nearly 300 days in hospital, with a majority of that being in intensive care.

Thevenot says having Kolt in attendance made the tournament that much more special for Team Silvernagle.

“Robyn is one of my best friends and it was special to have him there and have basically all her family there to support as well. And he was able to get through a couple of games. My oldest was in the NICU for a few days after he was born too. So, it was very special to have him around, it just puts everything back in perspective. Just thankful that he’s healthy enough to come down the road and watch us curl. We can all hang out together and I’m just so happy to be there and help support her and her family as well. It was definitely special to have him there and we just enjoyed it all, that’s for sure.”