If you had asked Québec’s team Noémie Gauthier, comprised of players from Kenogami, Etchemin, Lennoxville, and the Port-Alfred Curling Clubs, over the summer if her junior girls competitive team would be playing in these 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships, she probably would have said “no”.
Instead, she and her team of third Léandra Roberge, second Meaghan Rivett, lead Florence Boivin, alternate Anna Munroe and coach Michel Blais are wearing the fleur-de-lis and teal Québec colours, vying for a national championship.
They currently have a 3-1 record and are well in the hunt for a playoff spot.
When the team entered provincial play-downs, they assumed they wouldn’t have a chance to win the provincial championship and instead approached the competition with a little bit of zest. They joked that if they happened to win the Québec title, they’d all get team tattoos.
Days later and much to their surprise, they were crowned Québec champions and subsequently got inked.
“The tattoo is the letters GH in the shape of a curling stone,” said Gauthier. “It means ‘go hard or go home’ which is our team motto that we say to ourselves before every game.” said Gauthier.
Go hard they did, needing 11 ends to defeat Nunavut’s Sadie Pinksen (1-3; Iqaluit) by a score of 9-8 in Draw 8 action from the 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Championships hosted by the Township of Langley, British Columbia.
“There were a lot of missed shots on our end. We needed to regain momentum in the later part of the game just to keep pace,” said Gauthier. “We rallied and ended up with the win.”
This isn’t Gauthier’s first trip to the New Holland Canadian Junior Championships either. In 2018 after winning the Québec title as lead for Team Québec’s Laurie St-Georges, Gauthier suffered an injury before the event. Despite her best effort, she was unable to play.
“I fell rather badly on my back when I was skating. I displaced some of my vertebrae which made curling really unpleasant. I tried to play, but the pain was too much so I had to take myself out. Thankfully everything is OK today and I fully recovered.” said Gauthier.
The St.Georges team would go on to win a silver medal at that event and Gauthier never stopped contributing to her team.
“I wasn’t able to be on the ice, but I was there for them the entire way to the end,” said Gauthier. “I also haven’t been skating since that injury,” she added jokingly.
Gauthier isn’t the only one who had been plagued by an unfortunately timed injury. Second Meaghan Rivett suffered a broken kneecap and femur after a vehicular accident which cost her an entire season of curling.
“I was in the hospital for a good four days and needed surgery to repair the damage,” said Rivett.
The road to recovery for Rivett was difficult, as rehabbing the leg and knee back to curling condition was a slow and arduous process. With hard work, determination and many hours sweating in rehabilitation, she has returned to competition
“I wasn’t really myself until late last season. I wasn’t able to do a straight leg lift for a month and a half when I was in physiotherapy. It worked really hard to get back. It’s still not 100% but it’s good enough to be here and I’m doing my best.” said Rivett.
Regardless of the strife Team Québec has faced, they’re thrilled to be at these New Holland Canadian Junior Championships.
“It’s wonderful to be here. We’re taking it day by day – one at a time. We’re hoping to do the best we can and to properly represent Québec.” said Gauthier.
In other Draw 8 women’s action, Nova Scotia’s Taylour Stevens (3-1; Halifax) suffered their first loss at the hands of Manitoba’s Mackenzie Zacharias (4-0; Altona) 7-6. Alberta’s Abby Marks (3-1; Edmonton) downed Yukon’s Bayly Scoffin (0-4; Whitehorse) 14-3. Melodie Forsythe’s New Brunswick rink (2-2; Moncton) felled Prince Edward Island’s Lauren Ferguson (0-4; Cornwall) by a score of 9-7.
In men’s play, Saskatchewan’s Rylan Kleiter (3-1; Saskatoon) downed British Columbia 1’s Hayato Sato (3-1; New Westminster) 6-3. Newfoundland and Labrador’s Daniel Bruce (4-0; St. John’s) bested the Northwest Territories’ Sawer Kaeser (0-4; Fort Smith) by a score of 9-7. Prince Edward Island’s Tyler Smith (4-0; Montague) remained perfect defeating Northern Ontario’s Jacob Horgan (2-2; Sudbury) 6-5.
Next, Draw 9 action begins at the 2020 New Holland Canadian Junior Championships at 7 p.m. PST from the George Preston Recreation Centre in Langley, British Columbia.