© Times-Herald photo by Nathan Liewicki
Left to right, lead Connie Fritzler, second Shelly Urquhart and third Donda Lee Deis sit at a head table in the Great Western Lounge at the Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre, as skip Lorraine Arguin addresses a crowd of supporters Wednesday evening. The quartet of curlers recieved a send-off party from the local curling community before heading to Yellowknife to compete in the 2014 Canadian Senior Curling Championships from March 22-29.
Curling community holds send-off party for Sask. champs
Lorraine Arguin and her husband planned on vacationing in Phoenix next week. Instead, they’re off to Yellowknife.
“I had booked my time for holidays at work and my husband and I said we are going somewhere,” said Arguin. “So I said, ‘the day after I lose in Unity we’ll book our flights to Phoenix. If we win, we’re going up there and you’re booking a flight to Yellowknife.’”
Winning the Saskatchewan Senior Women’s Curling Championship in Unity on Feb. 23 meant Arguin and her husband would have to put off that trip to Phoenix.
She didn’t seem to mind.
“We’ve always been close to the hunt, but it’s nice to finally come out victorious and get your own green jacket,” said Arguin.
It will be the first appearance at nationals for Arguin, third Donda Lee Deis and second Shelly Urquhart.
Lead Connie Fritzler previously made an appearance at Dominion Nationals.
Despite the team’s relative inexperience on the national stage, they expect to do well and will try to figure out a way to be in the hunt in Yellowknife.
“We want to win, but we want to go and have a good time,” said Fritzler.
The Canadian Senior Curling Championships begin Saturday and last until March 29.
Arguin has never been to Yellowknife, so she knows there will be a learning curve when it comes to reading the ice.
That learning curve will be enhanced knowing the competition will be held at two different locations in Yellowknife.
“They are playing the games in two different spaces. There are five sheets on the arena ice and three sheets on the curling club ice. So that presents challenges in itself because you are adjusting from one place to the other with different weights, different curls and different rocks,” Arguin said.
“That’s going to be an extra headache, but that’s why we are bringing (Connie’s) husband Gord along as our coach. He’s going to help with the mapping of the sheets and reminding us of things that we maybe don’t always catch on to. Eight sheets are a lot of sheets of ice to keep tabs on.”
However, with their minds focusing in on Yellowknife, a send-off party for Arguin, Deis, Urquhart and Fritzler was held at the Moose Jaw Ford Curling Centre’s Great Western Lounge Wednesday evening.
“It’s very, very special. It’s quite an honour for them to do that for us,” Arguin said. “You don’t expect that, but it’s a very nice touch. It makes you feel part of the curling community.”
Approximately 50 people came out to wish the Saskatchewan representatives well in Yellowknife, including, friends, family members, fellow competitors and Moose Jaw Mayor Deb Higgins.
It was also a light atmosphere with a few jokes tossed around by Arguin at her fellow teammates.
Urquhart was the target of one such jab.
“A few years ago she talked about quitting curling as her knees and elbows were sore. I basically said, ‘take some drugs and no more talking nonsense,’” said Arguin, as the crowd burst into laughter.
Saskatchewan will play its first game versus British Columbia at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks