Skip Kerry Galusha has returned home from the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. Catherines, Ont., where she enjoyed the best national curling championship of her career.
Team NWT, which also consisted of lead Sharon Cormier, second Danielle Derry and third Megan Koehler, finished sixth with a record of 5-6 after winning a pre-qualifier tournament.
“It was a really long grind,” Galusha told Moose FM. “We had our ups and downs, we would’ve liked to play a little bit better for a couple games.
“We had a few close games that could’ve gone either way but I’m really proud of my team for trudging along.”
Including the pre-qualifier, Galusha and her rink played a total of 15 games in little over a week, winning eight of those games.
But in the end, the team’s record of 5-6 in the main draw wasn’t enough for them to advance to the playoffs.
Things could’ve turned out a lot different, Galusha says, had a couple games gone the other way.
“It was just a whirlwind of emotions and it just kept going and going all week,” she said.
Galusha says the team’s schedule wasn’t exactly nice over the course of the tournament. Team NWT went 0-4 during morning matches and also had a couple late draws.
But that didn’t stop the team from jumping out to a record of 3-1 early on.
“I’ve never been on the left side of the board when TSN shows the standings every game,” Galusha said with a laugh. “I’m usually on the right side on the bottom [of the standings].”
Team NWT would drop its next two games against Canada and Ontario though, and go 2-3 the rest of the way.
Fortunately, the Northwest Territories won’t have to compete in a pre-qualifier ahead of next year’s national curling championship.
Organizers have decided to drop the event for both the Scotties and Tim Hortons Brier (its male equivalent) from 2018 onward in favour of a 16-team format.
Prior to this year, the NWT had never advanced beyond the pre-qualifier in two tries.
Galusha called it a ‘cruel’ experience losing in the last two pre-qualifier finals on national television before emerging victorious this year.
‘We were like the second home team’
Galusha says teams from the Northwest Territories are often fan favourites during national competitions.
This year was no different after the team won the pre-qualifier, got off to a hot start and stayed in contention throughout the week.
“Traditionally, the NWT usually has a lot of fans just because we’re always an underdog story and people like that,” Galusha said.
“We were like the second home team in Ontario, everyone loved us. Northern fans have been amazing but we felt the love from all across Canada.”
Galusha says it will be amazing for all three territories to be represented at the 2018 Scotties.
Ontario went on to win this year’s national curling championship, with skip Rachel Homan securing her third Canadian title.
Team NWT has just left St. Catherine's! It's been 2 weeks of fun. Thank u to everyone involved with the event…it was fantastic! #byefornow
— Team Galusha (@TeamGalusha) February 25, 2017