First national, first win!
Rookie skip Joelle Brown steadfast in leading Manitoba ladies at 2023 Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championships
Taking to the ice wearing a provincial or territorial crest on your back for the first time can be enough to put butterflies in the stomach of even the coolest curler, but rookie skip Joelle Brown is taking that challenge head on as she shepherds Team Manitoba at the 2023 Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championships from the Vernon Curling Club, in British Columbia.
And even though it’s her first time competing at a national championship, she’s handling the situational pressures like a seasoned veteran.
Brown rallied her Manitoba rink late on Monday afternoon, earning a 6-5 over Prince Edward Island’s Susan McInnis, giving the Manitobans their first win of the 2023 Everest Canadian seniors.
The late rally proved to be necessary since the Charleswood Curling Club rink from Winnipeg surrendered four points in the seventh end against P.E.I., setting up a 5-5 tie entering the eighth and final end.
It’s easy to be flustered when a lead evaporates so quickly, but Brown took the setback in stride. Like any good skip, Brown came up clutch in the eighth and did so with a tricky double tap-back to sit shot stone in what was a mess of a house. The islanders would attempt an angle-slash to better the Manitoban’s stone, but it would end up over-curling, securing the win for the buffalo.
“Yes, we always want to give up four in the seventh,” joked Brown after the win. “However, I didn’t have to throw my last rock so that is always the way you want it to end up.”
It’s a welcome bounce-back after Team Manitoba was felled 6-3 by Nova Scotia’s Andrea Saulnier (1-1; Kentville) in its opening draw.
“We really weren’t sharp yesterday, so today was a much better game,” Brown said. “We had that little brain cramp in seven there, but I don’t expect we’ll go through a game without giving the opposition something at some point in time. Never like it to be a four”
Despite being a rookie, Brown has been trying to earn that buffalo crest for many years. It’s a satisfying feeling to finally sport Manitoba colours at a national championship.
“It’s amazing. It’s a surreal feeling, still,” said Brown. “When we won in March, it’s just a thing in the back of your head but when you’re here and you have your jacket on and you’re on the ice and you’re Team Manitoba, it’s an amazing feeling.”
She’s not alone for the ride either, as she’s flanked by vice-skip Maureen Bonar, second Allyson Bell, lead Natalie Claude and alternate Deb McCreanor, who have ample national level experience to draw from.
In fact, Bonar was the 2014 Canadian senior women’s champion alongside skip Lois Fowler, who unfortunately lost her battle with ovarian cancer in the fall of 2023. For those who didn’t know Fowler, she was a force to be reckoned with, earning the monikers “Feisty Fowler” as well as “Fearless Fowler”.
Being former teammates of Fowler’s, Brown’s Manitoba rink keeps Fowler top of mind when playing, wearing small wing charms in honour of her memory.
“We’ve got her right here on our wrist. That’s for Lois,” said Bonar. “That’s our token to remind us that Lois is watching, and when she’s watching we’d better play and be tenacious out there, just like she would.”
Action from the 2023 Everest Canadian Senior Curling Championships resumes Monday evening at 6 p.m. (all times Pacific).