2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings – Canadian Olympic Curling Trials
Presented by Monsanto

Lawton bids farewell to lazy days of summer

Stefanie Lawton is set to embark on a new competitive curling season – and with the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, presented by Monsanto, on the horizon – it holds the prospect of being her most memorable ever.

The 33-year-old skip, from Saskatoon’s Granite Curling Club, qualified for a third consecutive spot in the field for the Canadian Curling Trials with a victory at the 2012 Capital One Canada Cup, last December in Moose Jaw.

It marked her third championship in five years at the Canada Cup, an event that is obviously one of Lawton’s favourites. “I don’t know what it is, it’s just fun… you’re playing against the top teams in the country, just like we will be at the Roar of the Rings.”

In the past two outings at the Trials, Lawton finished round robin play both times in a tie for third place. After downing Sherry Middaugh in the 2005 tie-breaker, she lost in the semifinal to eventual champion Shannon Kleibrink.

Locked in a three-way tie at the 2009 Trials in Edmonton, Lawton was defeated by Krista McCarville in the first tie-breaker.

But the pride of Saskatoon has learned some valuable lessons in her first two brushes with Olympic curling history.

Stefanie Lawton calls the line at the 2010 Canada Cup in Medicine Hat (Photo Michael Burns)

“The first time, we really didn’t know what to expect… there was quite a bit of pressure, but we wound up playing pretty well,” said Lawton. “In 2009, we played decent, but just not as well as we could have. It’s so easy to set your expectations too high.”

“You obviously know what you’re playing for, but you can’t focus on that when you’re on the ice. It’s a high-pressure event, but you can’t put too much pressure on yourself. You have to approach each game like any other game during the season, and play it one shot at a time.”

The Saskatoon team – including Sherry Anderson, Sherri Singler and Lawton’s sister, Marliese Kasner – is determined to move beyond third place at this year’s Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, Dec. 1-8 at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre.

“We’ve been working hard this summer on both our physical and mental training,” said the skip. “We had the chance to get on the ice at the end of August, and that felt really good.”

“But, it’s also important to take some time out and enjoy the summer with family and friends. During the season, we’re really busy competing and you miss out on a lot of social events. You can’t just focus on curling for 12 months of the year.”

With the Trials taking place in Saskatchewan’s neighbouring province, Lawton expects to see a healthy sampling of green and white in the crowds at the MTS Centre. “We have a number of family and friends who will be there… and just meeting people in the streets of Saskatoon… so many of them say they’re going to be there.”

“We’re really excited that it’s going to be in Winnipeg,” said Lawton. “We play there every year on the curling tour (Manitoba Lotteries Women’s Curling Classic) and we just love it. Everyone’s always so helpful and friendly.”

At this stage, Lawton is the only Saskatchewan team in the field for the Roar of the Rings, but she’s pulling for Amber Holland and Steve Laycock, who will be competing in the 2013 Capital One Road to the Roar, presented by Monsanto, Nov. 5-10 in Kitchener, for two of the final four berths in the Trials.

“It would be really good if we could get more Saskatchewan teams into Winnipeg.”

“You Gotta Be There” when Stefanie Lawton joins 15 more of Canada’s elite teams in the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings. The best seats in the MTS Centre are available now just by clicking here.