After a five-year hiatus from competitive curling, Candice Chisholm has returned to the game en force. Chisholm played out of the Maryfield curling club and went three and four in the 2012 provincial championships, losing to Jill Shumay in a tiebreaker game.
Though Chisholm’s team didn’t win the bonspiel she did receive the Marj Mitchell award for sportsmanship and competitiveness. She was also picked up by Michelle Englot’s team and will be going to the 2012 Scott Tournament of Hearts in Red Deer as their fifth player.
“I’m feeling so excited and so lucky to have been asked to go with (team Englot),” said Chisholm.
Chisholm began curling competitively in Maryfield when she was 13, and her first experience in a provincial championship was the next year in juniors. Her first time at a women’s provincial championship was in 2001 with Terry Streifel, when she was 21.
“We didn’t have a lot of success... (but) after that I always wanted to get back,” said Chisholm.
Chisholm said she owes her career in the sport to Rick Thompson, “I wouldn’t even have curled if it wasn’t for him.” The same Rick Thompson who was named an SCA Legend of Curling, in the coach category this month. Thompson was a very successful men’s curler from Maryfield, and also coached other teams out of the village. Chisholm said Thompson was a huge help in getting her started curling competitively, “I don’t know what he saw in me and the girls my age, but he had so much faith that we could play this sport.”
Chisholm’s third in playdowns this year was Brooklyn Lemon, who was also finishing up her last season of juniors. The junior team Lemon skipped lost in the provincial finals but she has had a lot of success in previous years. She has played in multiple junior provincial championships, the Junior Women’s National Championships, and in the World University curling championships in Turkey.
Lemon began her curling career in Maryfield, where she still lives when she’s not in University. But she said by the time she began curling a lot of the programs had started to wind down in the community. “It was really hard to find curlers within Maryfield that I could curl with, so I actually had to go to different neighbouring towns to curl with different girls.”
But Lemon said there was always a lot of community support; whenever she has any success everyone knows how she’s doing. Lemon got started curling because her sisters were already into the game, but she was also inspired by the older women she saw curling out of the village and winning.
“There has been lots of success out of Maryfield, so it’s just kind of something to live up to. It’s awesome for me too, because I’ve admired these people in the past who’ve been there before me and I hope I can (inspire) the same kind of admiration for other future curlers coming up in Maryfield,” said Lemon.
Lemon has been trying to help the younger curlers in her community get into the game; in high school she worked with others to start a kids curl program for elementary school children.
Lemon’s sister Brittany curled with fellow Maryfield alum Kelsey Russill in Brandon, Mb., and went three and four in the Manitoba provincial championships this season. Russill, 26, said she was introduced to curling at an early age because her parents were curlers, “(they) are constantly encouraging competition and activity.”
Russill said a lot of great curlers come out of Maryfield because the village is big on curling. 2011 Scott Tournament of Hearts winner Amber Holland and her team made an appearance in Maryfield this past year as did accomplished curler Russ Howard while promoting his book. Russill said the community really tries to encourage curling with the youth.
“There are so many community members and family in Maryfield that right from an early age want their children to be active and participate in the community,” said Russill.
Valerie Sweeting agrees that the community in Maryfield helped with the beginning of her curling career. Sweeting, 24, grew up in Maryfield but lives in Vegreville, Alberta now. She has been curling competitively for years and played in the 2012 Alberta Scotties, but lost to Crystal Webster in a playoff game. In 2010 her team won provincials and went to the national championships in Sault St. Marie as team Alberta.
But playdowns are done for this year and Chisholm is looking to the future toward the national championships.
Chisholm’s husband and her two children will be going with her to the Scott Tournament of Hearts to form what is sure to be a sizeable Saskatchewan cheering section. Englot’s team out of Regina will be representing Saskatchewan and Amber Holland’s Team Canada is from Kroneau, Sk. But the cheering section will be even bigger at home as all of Maryfield watches what happens in Red Deer Feb. 18 – 26.