‘Small-town girls’ heading for world senior curling championship

Lyle Carter
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It’s been quite a phenomenal journey for Team Pinkney.

Curling out of Truro, the squad won the 2009 senior women’s provincial championship. Becoming Team Nova Scotia, they went on to win the Canadian championship in Summerside in March 2009. Now, as Team Canada, the next stop for Pinkney and her four teammates will be representing Canada at the World Senior Women’s Curling Championship in Chelyabinsk, Russia April 17 to 24.

“There’s a lot of pride involved, it’s a dream come true,” Pinkney commented regarding representing Canada. “It was like the stars were aligned when we won the Canadian championship in Summerside. Everything went so well, sometimes there’s no explanation.”

Pinkney began curling in 1982 at the Truro Curling Club. She began curling competitively in 1988 on a team skipped by Judy Burgess while Mary Baird was the third.

Last season was Pinkney’s career year as she skipped her team to the Canadian senior women’s title. After being named all-Canadian skip, someone described Pinkney “as being on fire.”

 

Wendy Currie, a Dartmouth native, began curling in high school during 1973 at the Dartmouth Curling Club. Attending several national events, Currie curled for rinks skipped by both Colleen Jones and Nancy McConnery. At the 2009 Canadian senior championship Currie was named all-star mate.

“A wealth of experience, determination and friendship are taking us to Russia and this world championship,” Currie said. “We consider ourselves small-town girls and here we are going to a world event. We are all good friends and this has been important.”

 

Second Karen Hennigar, from Halifax, began curling in 1967 at the Mayflower Curling Club. Moving to competitive curling in 1976 while living in New Glasgow, Hennigar has amazingly played in 25 provincial championships while attending two national events.

“This is certainly special to us as a team,” Hennigar said. “Going to Russia to play in the world championship is hitting us in different ways. At different times during the year we stopped to consider how many other teams would enjoy such a venture. Yes, it’s special, we feel very fortunate. And, as a team, we understand the importance of representing Canada at a world event. Because of our varied experience over the years it’s nice that we can enjoy the journey together.”

 

Lead Susan Creelman, a native of Stewiacke, began curling in 1980 at the Sydney Curling Club.

“I probably look at this upcoming event a little different than my teammates,” she said. “The first national championship that I participated in was 2009, so now to be going to the worlds in Russia, I guess, it’s a bit overwhelming. I’ll draw on my teammates and their experience.”

When the name Judy Burgess comes up Sports scene followers immediately think curling.

Judy, her husband Jim, Jim’s parents Bob and Phyllis, Jim and Judy’s sons Peter and Craig and other family members have been tremendous ambassadors for curling for many years. And the name Burgess remains a fixture locally, provincially, and nationally.

In 1981, in Newfoundland, when the Canadian women’s top curling championship was known as the MacDonald Lassie,  Burgess was a member of the Beth Smith skipped rink which also included Yvonne Cox and Mary Bentley. With other national experience on her resume, Judy Burgess now serves as coach and fifth with Team Canada.

“There’s definitely pressure attached because everyone expects Canada to do well at the world level,” said the Musquodoboit native. “It’s a long trip to arrive there. We leave on April 12, but don’t touch down until into the 14th. Then we’re going to have to rest some and we’ll have to get our bearings to be ready for when competition begins.”

 

With last word being allotted to Colleen Pinkney, the enthusiastic skip said: “Can we say thanks to our team sponsors? We really appreciate the involvement of Murphy’s Fish and Chips, Stella-Jones Inc., MEG Freight and Kingston Aluminum.”

 

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Front and centre we salute Truro Bearcats and Brookfield Elks.  The two junior hockey clubs both thrilled local hockey supporters with spirited play and exiting action throughout the 2009-10 hockey season as well as during the recent

playoffs.

Although Shawn Evans’ Bearcats made no excuses they definitely ran into a hot goaltender in Justin Collier. After falling behind early in the series this guy just may have spun the momentum in his club’s direction.

A personal observation: I’d loved to have seen a healthy Evan Watts been able to return to the Bearcats’ lineup. The early series injury to Watts, a tremendous defenceman whose deadly shot can light up a power play, certainly hurt Truro’s chances to move on and meet

Woodstock.

As for the opposition, the Pictou County Weeks Crushers rose to the occasion, they noticeably stepped up their game offensively and defensively. They checked like there was no tomorrow. The Crushers are definitely very worthy Bent Division champions.  To the team president, Colchester County native Wade Taylor, and another local lad, hustling, hard-checking forward Robbie Little best of luck in the league finals.

Josh Boulton’s Brookfield Elks faced many tests this season including the tragedy of losing their assistant coach Tony Carlisle in a car accident. The team battled back hard and after getting by Sackville Blazers in a six-game opening round of the playoff, the club was finally eliminated by Bay Ducks by virtue of a 4-3 overtime verdict in Brookfield Tuesday night.

This was the second straight game the Elks went to overtime before losing. Like they say, “they gave it the old college try.” What more could you ask for?

 

Lyle Carter is a Brookfield resident and former NHL hockey player

Organizations: Team Canada, World Senior Women, Truro Curling Club Dartmouth Curling Club Mayflower Curling Club Sydney Curling Club Stella-Jones Inc. NHL

Geographic location: Canada, Russia, Summerside Chelyabinsk Dartmouth Halifax New Glasgow Stewiacke Newfoundland Musquodoboit Brookfield Pictou County Colchester County

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