Team Canada’s Nixon caps Scotties career with bronze

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. – Amy Nixon said goodbye to competitive curling Sunday, moments after Team Canada won the bronze medal at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. “I think I am one of the luckiest curlers and athletes that I know because I’ve known for a while my time is short and I’ve had these great experiences,” said an emotional Nixon, following her team’s 7-4 victory over Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville on Sunday at the Meridian Centre. “Most people don’t get a chance at the end of their curling careers to experience the privileges that I have. I’m just really grateful for that.” Nixon said she wasn’t prepared to devote the time needed to stay at the top of her game. Priorities have changed, given her job as the senior advisor to the president of Mount Royal University and her family. “I just can’t throw rocks every day anymore and commit to what it takes. I have spent over a decade easily of my life, mostly, completely dedicated to the goal. I just find I don’t have the fire in me anymore to be going to rink. “I’d rather go skiing with my family and make cookies and I have a job I really enjoy and that is taking off in a really productive way. I still love to compete and I love those girls, but I don’t like the grind anymore. I don’t like the everyday . . . there are other things now that call my time.”

Team Canada vice-skip Amy Nixon busts a move with Slider during the bronze-medal game. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Nixon said she is leaving without regrets. “I am one of the luckiest curlers you will meet. I’ve had some tough losses in really tough moments but have I ever had great opportunities and privileges. “I’ve gone to six Scotties, I have gone to two worlds, I’ve gone to the Olympics, I have won two Canada Cups. I’ve played with some of the people and the best players in the game. There is nothing I am leaving on the table.” Nixon hadn’t told her teammates — skip Chelsea Carey, second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Laine Peters, alternate Susan O’Connor and coach Charley Thomas — of her decision before telling members of the media. “I am not sure if Chelsea (Carey) is fully aware,” Nixon said. “I think in their hearts they all know. But we haven’t really talked about it yet.” Carey, who noted the importance of finishing on the podium, said Nixon would be hard to replace. “Amy is a special player for sure. She’s played so much third and does it so well,” said Carey. “She knows what it takes from a shooting perspective and obviously more than that from a team management perspective and managing skips isn’t always the easiest thing. She’s very very good at it. It’s been easy with her and I. With the suddenness of the announcement, Carey said the team hasn’t discussed the future without Nixon. “We haven’t talked about that yet to be honest. She’s mentioned it, but she hadn’t formally told me that, so I don’t know. I haven’t thought about that yet.” In addition to the medal, the Carey team won $21,900 and earned 36.741 Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) points. The points won’t do Carey much good as she is too far back in the rankings to earn one of the points-based berths into the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials. The team will have to come through a pre-qualifying competition to keep its hopes alive for a trip to the 2018 Winter Olympics. McCarville and her team of vice-skip Kendra Lilly, second Ashley Sippala, lead Sarah Potts, alternate Oye-Sem Won Briand and coach Lorraine Lang received $16,900 and 25.935 CTRS points. She has her sights on the pre-trials now. “We knew coming in that every game we win gets us more points towards the pre-trials. Making it to the Scotties and to the playoffs was big.” The sixth end was the difference in the bronze-medal game, with the Calgary-based Team Canada nailing McCarville for a three-ender. Carey had two socked into the four-foot and got the third point on a short in-off.

Northern Ontario vice-skip Kendra Lilly calls instructions to her teammates during the bronze-medal game. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

The three-ender put Carey up 4-2. A steal of two in the seventh end pretty much salted the game away, although McCarville did get two in the eighth to stay in striking distance. Carey, who also won the bronze medal in 2014 as the skip of the Manitoba team, counted one in the ninth end to take a three-point lead in the 10th end. McCarville enjoyed this year’s Scotties. “It was definitely a really good event. Overall I think we had a really good year. We were successful in a lot of our tournaments and we were excited to be here and to make the playoffs.” The final between Manitoba’s Michelle Englot and Ontario’s Rachel Homan will be played at 7:30 p.m. ET. TSN/RDS2, the official broadcaster of Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, is providing extensive coverage of the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

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