The Everest Canadian Curling Club Championships are as it sounds: an event for the best club curlers in the country.
Stacey Stabel has been there more than once and she knows what she’ll be up against when she hits the ice in Ottawa for her opening game.
Stabel and her rink of Krista Wesley, Jill Andrews and Alison Davis are the NWT’s women’s representatives for this year’s national championships and they will be up against Ontario in their opening contest on Monday afternoon. The ladies left for Ottawa on Thursday.
This will be the third time Stabel will have played at this event, having won the right to go after winning the territorial playdown this past March, and she said there are no surprises.
“We’re going down to take it one game at a time,” she said. “You never know what can happen.”
A total of 14 teams from every province and territory will be in action next week and they’ve been split into two pools of seven for the round-robin. The top four from each pool will advance to a double-knockout playoff and from that, the last four teams left standing will play it out for the medals.
Stabel said she isn’t looking ahead to any one team in particular and won’t be trying to figure out who’s beatable.
“It can be a disappointment once you start doing that,” she said. “You could get bad ice, there could be issues with the rocks, you could just have a bad game, injuries — anything can happen out there.”
Being that this is a club championship, there won’t be any of the big guns i.e. the teams which chase the big money in Grand Slam events.
But that doesn’t mean the competition will be any less tough, said Stabel.
“There are usually some very competitive teams, especially from the bigger provinces,” she said. “Some teams either don’t or can’t make the commitment to go through the process of the Scotties (Tournament of Hearts) but they’re still very good.”
The ice will be a bit more manageable to deal with as it’s on club ice as opposed to arena ice, which any top-level player will tell you plays much more differently than club ice.
Stabel said that makes things more familiar.
“Club ice is more natural and it’s what we’re used to,” she said. “Arena ice is so much different — there’s more curl to it and you’re having to take more ice to make shots.”
And the overall goal for Stabel this time? Hopefully hit the win column.
“We’re going to hopefully have some fun and do well,” she said. “When we went in 2014, we weren’t expecting to do anything and we ended up making the playoffs.”