The daunting four-year process to represent Canada this February in Sochi will come to an emotional conclusion for 16 teams at the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, presented by Monsanto, Dec. 1-8 in Winnipeg’s MTS Centre.
But depending on the outcome of the Roar of the Rings, the emotions of the experience may extend far beyond comprehension for some of the competitors.
While the national Olympic team traditionally comes together as a family in the quest to reach the medal podium on the biggest stage in the sporting world, Canada’s men’s and women’s curling representatives could bring new meaning to the term ‘family ties’ this time around.
Out of the ‘sweet 16’ competing in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials, eight of those teams hold the potential for the country to send life-partners to the Olympics on both our men’s and women’s curling teams.
And if that were to transpire, it would mark a first in Canadian curling history.
On the Jennifer Jones team, hometown favourites in the field, both the skip and lead Dawn McEwen have the opportunity to spend the upcoming Valentine’s Day at the Olympics with the love of their life – either Brent Laing, second shooter for the Glenn Howard team or Mike McEwen who will skip one of the other three Winnipeg teams in the field.
“It’s pretty amazing that both Dawn and myself get to play at the biggest event with our significant others,” said Jones. “To cheer them on and have the opportunity to go to Sochi, to the Olympics, with the people you love most, is something you can’t even fathom… it would just be a dream come true.”
“Both my wife and I have an amazing opportunity,” said McEwen, who married Dawn during the past summer. “I’ve kind of hedged my bets… I’ve got two chances to get there, right?”
“It would be a dream come true if we could both go,” said Dave Nedohin – third for Kevin Martin’s Edmonton squad – whose wife Heather is skipping her own team at the Roar of the Rings. “And it could happen… we’re playing well and Heather’s playing as well as any of the other women’s teams.
“We won’t really see much of each other during the week at the Trials. We’ll pass in the halls, and maybe see a couple of each other’s games, but we’ll both be busy with our teams… hopefully we’ll be able to watch each other in the finals.”
Although the situation at hand is unique, Heather said it’s not uncommon for them to compete in the same championship events. “We’ve had opportunities before, usually Players’ Championships… but I think it works in our favour. We can talk about the ice and the rocks… it really does help.
“It would be like winning on a lottery ticket,” she said of the prospect of the two travelling together to Sochi as fellow Olympians. “But, there’s a lot of chips that will have to fall into place before that happens.”
Sherry Middaugh, who will skip her Ontario team in the MTS Centre while husband Wayne throws third stones for Glenn Howard, said it takes co-ordination at home for a husband and wife to compete at the highest level of any sport. But she finds it perfectly natural for spouses to share the same goals. “People always say opposites attract… I think it’s interesting to be able to sit down at the dinner table and talk about something we have in common.”
“You Gotta Be There” when the top 16 teams in Canada compete for the love of the game… and the opportunity to represent our country in Sochi. Get your tickets today for the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings by clicking here.