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Sports Talk: Maybe I’m being selfish, but I’d like Team Galusha to come back

Another season has come and gone for Team Galusha, another busy campaign with bonspiels all over the place, and a near-repeat of the 2022 Scotties Tournament of Hearts playoff performance.
Kerry Galusha, centre, played her 150th game at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Kamloops, B.C., in February. It ended up being a 6-4 win over New Brunswick. Joining Galusha are, from left, Shona Barbour, Jo-Ann Rizzo, Margot Flemming and Sarah Koltun. Missing is Megan Koehler. Could this be the last time we see them together? Only they know for sure. Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver photo

Another season has come and gone for Team Galusha, another busy campaign with bonspiels all over the place, and a near-repeat of the 2022 Scotties Tournament of Hearts playoff performance.

Once again, we were glued to the TV or the interwebs to see and read about how things were proceeding, be it the PointsBet Invitational in New Brunswick, deep runs at World Curling Tour stops in Ontario, the Grand Slam circuit — you name it. Oh, and Kerry Galusha played in her 150th game at the Scotties, only the eighth player to do that.

Plenty of good things to talk about this past season, but there was that lingering question: would this be the last time we saw Galusha and this present line-up of Jo-Ann Rizzo, Margot Flemming, Sarah Koltun, Megan Koehler and coach Shona Barbour?

That seemed to be the going story at the Scotties in Kamloops, B.C. What we have since learned is that there is no decision as of now, as Galusha mentioned in Wednesday’s Yellowknifer. She’s going to talk to the team and see what the plans are.

If I’m a betting man — and sometimes I do fancy a flutter from time to time — Galusha won’t want to start new. She likes what she has with her line-up right now and, from past conversations with some of her teammates, they like the set-up as well. They’re friends and they’ve meshed so well together as a unit. But good things can’t last forever and situations do change.

As the headline suggests, I’m a bit selfish and want this current line-up to return to the ice. I would wager I’m not alone. This team is one of the most popular rinks out there with a fan base that spreads across the country, even internationally, I would dare say. It’s been a lot of fun covering the trips and the results over the past three years.

When it comes to being a competitive curler, I’m reminded of the words spoken by Ray Turnbull, the late, great TSN curling analyst, on what it takes: a very supportive family and a very understanding employer. It isn’t simply just get up and go — the schedule needs to be planned and a lot of curlers take vacation time simply to go out and do what they love to do. It’s no different in this situation, though I’m sure there would be an uprising if Galusha or Rizzo or Barbour or anyone else were to be told, “Sorry, you can’t go to the Scotties because you only have four days of vacation left.”

This is, without question, the most successful iteration of Team Galusha there’s been. The playoffs in 2022 would be good enough to back that up, but let’s not forget the Winter Olympic qualification run last season, plenty of cashes at tour stops, etc. As I’ve said multiple times before, the Canadian curling world found out that the NWT is no longer the also-rans when it comes to women’s curling.

I wrote this back in 2021 and it bears repeating now: Any group of people can become a team, but you have to be willing to work with each other in order to make it successful. Rizzo herself has said that Galusha is one of the most committed skips she’s ever worked with. Galusha has called Rizzo and Koltun amazing teammates. Flemming’s joining the team in 2019 was seamless, it would appear, Koehler is there if the situation calls for it and Barbour has made a rather good transition from player to coach.

If this is the last hurrah, it was a great one. I’ve had the chance to report on the heartbreak, the close calls, the happiness, the success. It’s been a blast, but maybe there’s one more good year, eh?

About the Author: James McCarthy

I'm the managing editor with NNSL Media and have been so since 2022.
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