Editor’s note: We are getting ready for the fourth of our match-ups in the Greatest Of All Time competition. This story takes a look back at Team Galusha circa 2018-2019 and one of the best seasons ever had by a rink from the North.
The 2018-2019 curling season for Kerry Galusha was one which saw her put together a new team and take a serious run at the World Curling Tour circuit.
It would turn out to be one of the best seasons ever seen by a rink from the NWT.
Galusha and company would begin their campaign that season in Edmonton at the Avonair Cash Spiel, where they ended up with a quarter-final finish and followed that up with another quarter-final finish at the StuSells Toronto Tankard the following weekend.
Galusha spoke with Yellowknifer after returning home from Toronto (“More quarter-final heartache for Kerry Galusha and co.”, Yellowknifer, Oct. 10, 2018) and said losing at this particular quarter-final stage was a bit of a shock.
“We felt like we were going to win it,” she said. “We were one down coming home with the hammer and sitting three (rocks) but Cathy (Auld) made an unbelievable shot. It was one of those shots you make one out of every 10 times and I just couldn’t get it out.”
But that quarter-final jinx Galusha and company were having came to an end in November 2018 as the foursome went on to win the Royal LePage Women’s Fall Classic in Kemptville, Ont., over Nova Scotia’s Mary-Anne Arsenault by a score of 5-3 in the final.
It was the first time a rink from the NWT had won an event on the World Curling Tour and the foursome picked up a cheque for $6,000 for the win.
She was still on cloud nine in the days following her triumph (“Team Galusha tops in Ontario”, Yellowknifer, Nov. 7, 2018).
“It’s so crazy,” she said. “You don’t know what a big deal it is until you win. We came through such a good field and each game was a grind, but we just plugged away and won the games we had to.”
Galusha went into the final with the hammer to start, but Arsenault was the one who drew first blood by stealing a single in the first end and another in the second. Galusha got on the board with a single in the third and stole one of her own in the fourth to tie the game at 2-2.
“Mary-Anne’s team wasn’t missing anything in the first half of the game,” said Galusha. “We missed a key shot in the first two ends, but Mary- Anne was on fire.”
Both teams ended up trading points in the fifth and sixth ends before Galusha stole in the seventh to take a 4-3 lead and stole another in the eighth and final end to claim arguably the biggest win of her career.
Galusha said the second half of the game was where the tide started to turn in her rink’s favour.
“We started getting the breaks and out-curled them,” she said. “Mary-Anne had a hit in seven for one and rolled out
and we got the steal. We played a great eighth end, she had no shot to win it or even to tie it and send it to an extra (end).”
Galusha and company would go to have near-misses at events in both Edmonton and Red Deer before they won the 2019 NWT Women’s Curling Championship and advance to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Sydney, N.S., that year.
It would be one of the toughest for Galusha as she missed out on the championship round by one game and she didn’t mince her words in the post-mortem interview (“This one stings” – Kerry Galusha, Yellowknifer, March 8, 2019).
“This one stings,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed to miss out.”
There were messages from people around the country, as there usually are whenever the Scotties comes to an end, but Galusha said the messages were different this time.
“Everyone was telling us how impressed they were with how we played,” she said. “Each year is different but we had a much different team this year. We travelled lots and we’re 30th in the Canadian Team Ranking System. I can’t remember ever being above 100. We had a really good season together and the wheels just fell off for us at the Scotties but we know what it takes to be successful.”