Featured Athlete: Johanne Daly

Québec’s Johanne Daly, who plays at both the provincial and national championship level, is one busy curler.

Johanne Daly, lead on Team Quebec at the 2011 Canadian Wheelchair Championship (CCA Photo)

Although she only began curling in the autumn of 2008, Johanne has already competed in three provincial wheelchair curling championships and made it to the national event three times, representing Québec. Her current team, which includes Sébastien Boisvert, Carl Marquis, and skip Benoit Lessard, finished with a 3-6 record at the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship in Edmonton last March. As well as training and competing at the provincial and national level, Johanne has played in the Cathy Kerr Memorial Bonspiel at the RA Club in Ottawa for three years, and she’s even ventured south of the border, to Utica, New York, for the Grand National Curling Club Bonspiel and, twice, to the Cape Cod Summerspiel in Massachusetts. Whew! Does this curler every stay home? Well, yes. In fact, she may be travelling far afield to compete at a high level in wheelchair curling, but she also plays as lead or second along with her able-bodied club mates in regular leagues at her home club in Boucherville. And like most curlers, she finds time to give back to her community. “As a volunteer, I’m helping Curling Québec with different clinics being held for disabled people who want to give wheelchair curling a try,” she explains. “The participants are from different rehabilitation centers, or specialized schools.” She also helps to educate kids about the challenges – and fun – of wheelchair curling.  “As students come to curl at the Boucherville Curling Club, I’m being asked occasionally to explain them how we play from a wheelchair.” And what is one of Johanne’s most memorable accomplishments outside of curling? “I was selected as one of three candidates, among 25 across Canada, to be a Torchbearer in Shanghai, May 2008, for the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay.” Birthplace:    Montréal, Québec Hometown:   Varennes, Québec Curling Club:   Boucherville, “and Magog with my provincial team” Current Team:  Team Lessard, Québec Position:  Lead, also second Delivery:  Right Nickname: “Daly Lamy (as in DALAÏ  LAMA!)” Quick Hits with Johanne Daly Do you have any superstitions? “I never had any so far! Not sure if this really works!” Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party. “Ma soeur, ma fille et ma petite fille.” If you could be a star in any other sport, what would it be, and why? “I used to play hockey and softball for almost 25 years. I would have loved to play hockey for the Olympic hockey team, or for the Olympic softball team.  Though I was also excellent in golf and skiing, having been in ski patrol.” If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why? “That the winner of the Canadian Wheelchair Championship be the Olympic representative team, OR that there be two teams (like able-bodied curlers):  a women’s team and a men’s team. There should be enough women to do so, now that curling is being played in many countries.” What music do you like to listen to before a game? “I love Latin music, especially Cuban music for their salsa. I love this group:  the Buena Vista Social Club, for their excellent music and also Celia Cruz as being an excellent singer.” Favourite: … Website?  “All about nature of things, science, sports, and paranormal phenomena. Never experienced any, but mainly curiosity for the unexplained.” … Order from Tim Hortons?  “J’adore le café cappuccino glacé, tellement délicieux!” … Vacation destination?     “Sun for relaxing, so a Caribbean Island  and snow for skiing. I would love to ski in Switzerland.” … Junk food?  “Only once in a while, chicken wings with nachos!  It happens when there is a sports final. Okay, which sport will be having finals soon??” Do you have any pet peeves? “A driver who won’t let you get into a line up, the one who will be accelerating so you don’t get any space in between two cars, even if your flasher was on for over 30 seconds, and first thing you know, you’re missing your exit!” Three things you always travel with? “My camera, computer, and cellphone, what else?!” First thing on your Bucket List? “To travel around the world, at least as many countries as possible.” Favourite pastime between draws at spiels?  “Looking at other teams play, analyzing the players and ice, and/or relaxing.” One thing most people don’t know about you? “That I have excellent intuition.  Usually when I say I’ll be a winner today at the lottery or whatever, I can feel it and it’s kind of rare that I’m wrong.” What is the biggest misconception about curlers? “That women are having a hard time with take outs.  A man came to me saying, ‘I heard that you can shoot men’s take out weight,’ to which I answered back ‘Yup, and I’m a woman!’ My best shot :  8.70 seconds!” Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal: “Throw a stone in between two tight centre guards and sit right on the button.”