For the first time, a girls’ curling team will represent the Columbia Valley at the upcoming B.C. Winter Games.
The Wells team (skipped by Abby Wells) will head off to the February 25th to 28th Games in Penticton despite having only competed for two seasons.
“We just decided to start a team for girls through the Invermere Curling Club,” said team coach Holly Jones. “There hadn’t been one before and we thought it would be a good opportunity.”
Aside from Abby, the team includes Lily Flamand, Kaitlyn Hessel, Anna Stevens and Alexa Von Niessen. The girls range in age from 11 to 16 years old. Jack Keshen is the assistant coach.
“The girls were all really excited to learn that they’d qualified for the Games, and it’s been really motivating them to practice hard. They really want to represent the community well,” said Ms. Jones. “It’s great for the curling club, too, since it’s the first time we’ve sent a team of girls to this event. It will be a good opportunity for them to be able to meet and play with female curlers from other parts of the province. We’ve played a number of tournaments since the team formed, but mostly in places not too far away, such as Airdrie, Kimberley and Cranbrook. It’s fun, but it really is a small group of teenage female curlers in the East Kootenay and nearby, and the Games will give them a chance to go up against some new teams.”
The girls practise as much as they can and have been playing in the Monday night recreational curling league to squeeze in a bit of extra experience in advance of the Games.
“It’s been going really well. The girls are all keen to learn as much as they can. They have been putting in a lot of time as a team to learn strategies, and curling can be complex, so there’s a lot to learn,” said Ms. Jones.
At the B.C. Games, the girls will play in a round-robin tournaments against seven other teams from different regions of the province, after which the winner will be determined through knock-out style matchup, leading up to the final game.