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No, it doesn’t involve brooms; it’s because neither Stacie Curtis or Heather Strong will be the winning skip at this year's event, beginning today at Bally Haly
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - For the first time since 2010, the skip representing Newfoundland and Labrador at the national women’s curling championship next month won’t be named Curtis or Strong.
For the past eight winters, it’s been either Heather Strong or Stacie (Devereaux) Curtis throwing last rocks for provincial teams at the Canadian Scotties Tournament of Hearts, but that’s going to change next month in Sydney, N.S., now that Strong has retired and Curtis has moved from the province.
But three-quarters of Curtis’s team which curled in the Scotties last year and 2017 are back, and it’s Erica Trickett throwing skip rocks in the provincial championship which opens today at Bally Haly Country Club in St. John’s.
Trickett curled lead on last year’s team which lost a tie-breaker 11-8 to Ontario to decide the last team to advance to the championship pool at the Scotties in Penticton, B.C.
Curtis and Co. won their first four robin games, including a victory over Ontario, and were on top of their eight-team pool, but then lost three in a row.
Erin Porter is back as vice-skip and Julie Devereaux has switched to lead. The newcomer to the foursome is young Brooke Godsland, who skipped teams to the 2016 and 2017 provincial junior championships.
Godsland will throw second stone for Trickett.
Trickett last skipped in 2012, when her team won the provincial juniors. She curled lead on Porter’s team in 2011 and Julie Deveraux’s squad in 2008, when both teams won all-Newfoundland junior titles.
“It’s taken some adjustment,” said Trickett, 28. “It was kind of trial and error before we felt comfortable deciding who would take it on.
“It’s been a while for me, but I very much enjoyed it in junior. I love the strategy of the game.”
As vice-skip for Curtis the past three years at nationals, it would seem the natural progression would be for Porter to slide into the skip position, especially after winning a pair of provincials throwing last rocks.
But Porter has relocated to Stephenville, and has only joined the team for a few bonspiels and weekend practice sessions.
Otherwise, Michelle Taylor was curling to Trickett’s team in Super League.
Stephenville is quite a distance from St. John’s, but it’s nothing compared to Miami, where Curtis and her husband have transferred with their jobs.
Since 2010, Curtis – the 2007 world junior silver medalist – has won five provincial championships (2011, ’13, ’16, ’17 and 2018). Strong won in 2012, ’14 and ’15.
In fact, other than 2010, when Shelley Nichols won the provincials Scotties, it’s been either Curtis, Strong, Cathy Cunningham or Laura Phillips to skip provincial championship teams since 1993.
Six teams are curling for the right to represent the province at nationals Feb. 16-24 at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S., and all are from the Re/Max Centre (St. John’s Curling Club). Joining Trickett on the Bally Haly ice, which was made only recently, are entries skipped by Mackenzie Glynn, Wendy Dunne, Sarah Hill, Kelli Turpin and Cathlia Ward.
Glynn’s team of Katie Follett, Sarah Chaytor and Camille Dunne Burt won the provincial juniors last season, and went 5-5 at the junior nationals in Shawinigan, Que.
Provincial champions the last quarter century
Newfoundland and Labrador women’s curling champions since 1994:
• 2018: Stacie Curtis (Erin Porter, Julie Devereaux, Erica Trickett)
• 2017: Stacie Curtis (Erin Porter, Julie Devereaux, Erica Trickett)
• 2016: Stacie Curtis (Erin Porter, Julie Devereaux, Carrie Vautour)
• 2015: Heather Strong (Stephanie Korab, Jessica Cunningham, Kathryn Cooper)
• 2014: Heather Strong (Laura Strong, Jessica Cunningham, Kathryn Cooper)
• 2013: Stacie Devereaux (Erin Porter, Lauren Wasylkiw, Heather Martin)
• 2012: Heather Strong (Laura Strong, Jenn Cunningham, Stephanie Korab)
• 2011: Stacie Devereaux (Stephanie Guzwell, Sarah Paul, Heather Martin)
• 2010: Shelley Nichols (Steph Ledrew, Rhonda Rogers, Collette Lemon)
• 2009: Heather Strong (Cathy Cunningham, Laura Strong, Peg Goss)
• 2008: Heather Strong (Cathy Cunningham, Laura Strong, Peg Goss)
• 2007: Heather Strong (Shelley Nichols, Laura Strong, Susan O’Leary)
• 2006: Heather Strong (Shelley Nichols, Laura Strong, Susan O’Leary)
• 2005: Heather Strong (Laura Strong, Beth Hamilton, Susan O’Leary)
• 2004: Cathy Cunningham (Peg Goss, Kathy Kerr, Heather Martin)
• 2003: Cathy Cunningham (Peg Goss, Kathy Kerr, Heather Martin)
• 2002: Cathy Cunningham (Peg Goss, Kathy Kerr, Heather Martin)
• 2001: Heather Strong (Laura Strong, Susan O’Leary, Michele Baker)
• 2000: Heather Strong (Kelli Sharpe, Susan Wright, Michele Renouf)
• 1999: Heather Strong (Kelli Sharpe, Susan Wright, Michele Renouf)
• 1998: Heather Strong (Kelli Sharpe, Michele Renouf, Karen Thomas)
• 1997: Laura Phillips (Cathy Cunningham, Kathy Kerr, Heather Martin)
• 1996: Laura Phillips (Cathy Cunningham, Kathy Kerr, Heather Martin)
• 1995: Laura Phillips (Cathy Cunningham, Kathy Kerr, Heather Martin)
• 1994: Laura Phillips (Cathy Cunningham, Kathy Kerr, Heather Martin)