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Katie Follett and her rinkmates are sure to face some big challenges at the Canadian girls U18 curling championship in Sherwood Park, Alta., this week.
However, Newfoundland and Labrador’s representatives have already overcome a huge obstacle without having to even throw a stone.
Follett, third Sarah Chaytor, second Felicity Snow and lead Rianna French begin play this afternoon with a game against Alberta. But just a couple of days ago, the St. John’s team was wondering if it would be on the ice for that opening contest.
According to the team’s Twitter account (@FollettTeam), the curlers and coach Roy Hodder found themselves stuck at Toronto’s Pearson Airport on Sunday not having made a connection to Edmonton, and had apparently been told they couldn’t be rebooked until after today’s start of the championship in Sherwood Park. They eventually got seats on a Sunday night flight to Alberta, but it was to Calgary, meaning they still had to find their way to Edmonton.
But up stepped Josephine “Jo” MacGillvary of Calgary, who had learned of the Newfoundlanders’ plight.
MacGillvary, a director of Curling Alberta, offered to pick up Follett and Co. in Calgary and drive them to Edmonton, a more than six-hour round trip. And that’s how it played out, with the Newfoundland curlers arriving at their destination 2 a.m. Monday morning.
“The biggest thank you goes out to @JoMacgillivary for driving us from Calgary to Edmonton in the middle of the night! You are a true lifesaver and we will never forget the kindness you showed us when we were in a tough spot!” Tweeted the Follett team after making it to their hotel.
The Follett rink, which also plays Quebec today, has six preliminary-round games on its schedule. The 14-team field is divided into two seven-team pools, with the top four finishers from each side advancing to the championship round. From there, four rinks move on to the playoffs.
The U18 girls event is being held in conjunction with the national U18 boys championship.In the latter, Newfoundland and Labrador is represented by a rink from Gander, skipped by Joel Krats and including Ethan Davidge, Jared Davidge and Aaron Feltham.
The N.L. boys team, which is coached by Scott Davidge, also plays twice today, against Alberta and Saskatchewan. The boys competition follows the same format as the girls.