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Inside Junior Curling: Embarking for Estonia

They’re off! Our men’s and women’s junior national teams are on their way to Tallin, Estonia, to compete at the 2015 World Junior Curling Championships. For the first time in Canadian curling history, both skips are repeat national champs.

As these accomplished athletes get ready for their journey of a lifetime, I can’t help but reflect upon my experience in Sochi two years ago; after all it resulted in this incredible job as Inside Junior Curling columnist with the Canadian Curling Association. My position as fifth for the 2013 junior team at the world championships ( with British Columbia skip Corryn Brown, third Erin Pincott, second Samantha Fisher and lead Sydney Fraser) taught me so many things about curling, friendship and life in general.

I caught up with the woman’s alternate headed to Estonia: Kristen Streifel of Saskatchewan. Here is the team’s journey so far, in her words.

Kristen Streifel writes:

Today begins the journey of a lifetime, the journey that every curler dreams about. The feeling is surreal and the excitement is building as we begin to count down the days until our first game in Tallin, Estonia. The junior national teams are off to the World Championships, and this time I’m going with them.

(Photo K. Streifel)

(Photo K. Streifel)

First of all, I just have to say how honoured I am to have been asked by Team Alberta (skip Kelsey Rocque, third Danielle Schmiemann, second Holly Jamieson, lead Jessica Iles and coach Amanda-Dawn Coderre) to join them as their fifth player for this incredible experience.

I have had the pleasure of competing against all of these ladies at past international and national competitions over the years, but now to be joining their team and going to world’s is indescribable! As the saying goes: if you can’t beat ‘em, you might as well join ‘em, right?

I have always admired the way this team handles themselves both on and off the ice. Each girl is poised and determined, and each brings a unique dynamic to the team. They are the definition of hard-working athletes and role models. The team has put in countless hours at the gym and practicing on the ice, all while balancing their school work at the University of Alberta. It is not always easy being a student-athlete, but with a positive mindset and good time-management skills, this team of young ladies has proved that it is definitely possible.

This past weekend has been full of practicing, team bonding, and receiving our Canada gear, all in final preparation for the week ahead. We were invited to appear on CTV’s live morning show, and that same evening, the Saville Community Sports Centre hosted a send-off celebration party. If there is one thing I’ve learned already, it is that there is never a dull moment being part of the prestigious ‘red and white’ club!

Our goals for the next couple of days consist of surviving the 15-plus hours of travelling, adjusting to the nine-hour time change and taking some time to sight-see and explore our surroundings before the games begin. The 10-game round robin will begin on Saturday with some stiff competition. There is no doubt that if the girls play like they did at nationals, we are in for a very exciting week A live webcast will be featuring our first two games against Teams USA and Sweden. Make sure to tune in and help cheer the team on!

You can be sure that this team will play every game to their fullest potential, put it all on the line, and come off the ice each game with no regrets, knowing that we gave it our best effort. After all, the only way to predict the future is to create it.

Next stop: Estonia!

You can follow Kristen’s blog, here.

Kristen Streifel (CCA/Amanda Rumboldt Photo)

Kristen Streifel (CCA/Amanda Rumboldt Photo)