The towns of Redvers and Maryfield may seem fairly far away form the major curling events of the season but there’s a significant Saskatchewan connection at these events.
Val Sweeting, the third on the Kerri Einarson rink, was born in Redvers and grew up in Maryfield.
“I’m super excited to be back in the area and I should have some family out,” Sweeting said Tuesday before the matches got underway. “Playing in Saskatchewan is always good and the fans are all really knowledgable and energetic. It’ll be a really good week.”
Sweeting isn’t sure how many of her friends and family will be out to see her but she said it was going to be cool to be on the ice and be able to see them in the stands.
“I think it’s pretty cool that it brings anyone together,” she said.
A lot of great curlers come from the province, she said.
“It seems like a lot of people have a connection to the province and curling’s always been really good here,” Sweeting said. “I’m proud to be from here.”
It’s a high level of curling to be going through the pressure cooker with a completely new team. Einarson made the Scotties final last spring and has a new group of curlers. Sweeting has a high level of experience, having made the 2014 and 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts final. The latter was held in Moose Jaw, and she lost to Jennifer Jones in the final.
This is a new Olympic cycle though.
“We’re looking forward to getting out there and playing,” Sweeting said.
The last time Matt Dunstone was on the Affinity Place curling ice, he and the Steve Laycock rink were carrying the SaskTel Tankard trophy off after defeating Colton Flasch. Dunstone threw skip stones on the Laycock rink last year but has a brand new squad for the season and the Olympic qualifying campaign.
“It’s pretty cool to come back in here and see where… my dream of going to the Brier came true,” said Dunstone, originally from Winnipeg. “Looking around there are some really good memories here and with that game winner, I just pictured my dad watching and picturing that moment together. It’s pretty cool.”
The goal going into the season was to make the Canada Cup. He was the last men’s rink to qualify and they are looking to sharpen their game here in Estevan this week.
“We’re pretty familiar with one another and we’ve grown as a team,” he said, referring to his all-Saskatchewan rink of third Braeden Moskowy, second Catlin Schnieder and lead Dustin Kidby. “We’re keeping our goals here pretty realistic as a team. With every new team there’s growing pains. In our minds, there’s no reason we can’t come out this week and give a good show.”