Nunavut’s Sadie Pinksen is no stranger to the bright lights of the big stage.
In fact, the Iqaluit born skip has represented Nunavut in 13 times in a multitude of Canadian championship events, ranging from the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in 2019 at Sydney, N.S. (Nunavut lead for skip Jennifer Blaney) to the 2013 New Holland Canadian Junior Championships in Fort McMurray, Alta. (as Nunavut skip) and everything in between.
Canadian Mixed? She’s done it twice (2019 at Winnipeg as Nunavut third for Ed MacDonald); (2018 at Swan River, Man. as Nunavut lead for Ed MacDonald). Canada Winter Games? You bet she has that event checked off her list as well (2015 at Prince George, B.C. as Nunavut skip).
And while Pinksen’s closest may be jammed full of Nunavut garb from her illustrious curling resume, these 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Championships hold special significance for the 20 year old University of Ottawa communications and sociology student.
“It’s our last year before we age out – we’ve been here eight times. It’s pretty incredible that we’ve gotten to this point. It never stops being important or special for us to be here,” said Pinksen.
Pinksen has not done it alone. She and her Iqaluit Curling Club squadron of third Christianne West, second Kaitlin MacDonald, lead Lena Chown, and coach Donalda Mattie have been through thick and thin together.
“This event means reflecting on how far we’ve come as a team,” said Christianne West, third for the Nunavut rink. “When you compare our results now to our first few years, it makes us really proud.”
While the Pinksen rink will not qualify for the championship pool at the 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships, they won’t go home winless. They defeated New Brunswick’s Melodie Forsythe (3-2; Moncton) in draw 4 and have played plenty of close contests.
Second Kaitlin MacDonald may be a newer addition to this Nunavut team, but she still boasts six years experience playing with Pinksen and company. “It really is incredible how far we’ve come since those first few years,” said MacDonald.
Leaps and bounds would be considered an understatement when reflecting upon Nunavut’s improvement over the years. This team features sound strategy and exceptional fundamentals in sweeping and delivery mechanics – a skilled team that belongs at these championships.
“Really great coaching and a lot of practice,” said West when asked about their how their improvements came to be. “When I was 13 years old, I met Lynn Kreviazuk (current second for team Megan Basldon of Ontario, 2014 Ontario Scotties Champion and 2010 Gold Medalist at the New Holland Canadian Juniors) and she was our coach for our first two years in 2013 and 2014. She inspired me to put the work in.”
There have been bumps in the road for this team at the 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Championships. Their lead, Lena Chow, is currently sidelined with a knee injury and is undergoing medical evaluation.
“We’re hoping to have her back as soon. She’s having some physiotherapy today and may be able to return to play. We have to look after her health first,” said coach Donalda Mattie.
Draw 10 may have seen Nunavut felled by Prince Edward Island’s Lauren Ferguson (1-4; Cornwall) by a score of 13-4, but their positivity, attitude and approach to curling cannot be defeated.
In other Draw 10 women’s action, the Northwest Territories’ Tyanna Bain (1-5; Inuvik) won the battle of the north over Yukon’s Bayly Scoffin (0-5; Whitehorse) 10-4. Nova Scotia’s Taylour Stevens (4-1; Halifax) won a close match versus Québec’s Noémie Gauthier (3-3; Kenogami) by a score of 5-4. Newfoundland and Labrador’s Mackenzie Mitchell (3-2; St. John’s) dealt Saskatchewans’s Ashley Thevenot (4-1; Saskatoon) their first loss by a score of 11-3.
On the men’s side, Nova Scotia’s Owen Purcell (4-2; Chester) defeated fellow maritimers Liam Marin of New Brunswick (0-6; Saint John) 11-3. Saskatchewan’s Rylan Kleiter felled the Northwest Territories’ Sawer Kaeser (0-5; Fort Smith) 9-3. Manitoba 2’s Jacques Gauthier (4-1; Winnipeg) won a key matchup versus Northern Ontario’s Jacob Horgan (2-3; Sudbury) by a score of 7-5.