Alberta team ‘itching to get back’ after impressing curling world in Scotties debut: skip

Click to play video: 'Team Alberta hoping for hometown advantage at Scotties Tournament of Hearts'
Team Alberta hoping for hometown advantage at Scotties Tournament of Hearts
WATCH ABOVE: The 2024 Scotties Tournament of Hearts is one of curling’s steepest competitions, with the top eight curling teams in Canada. As Moses Woldu reports, it’s a chance for up and coming teams to leave their mark. – Feb 16, 2024

Just two days after her Alberta team was ousted in a playoff match at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Selena Sturmay described her first time curling at the event as “amazing” and a massive learning experience that will help her and her teammates going forward.

“We’re a first-year team together, so to make it to the Scotties was goal No. 1, and to make it into the playoffs just meant everything to us,” she told Global News on Monday. “(It was) everything and more that we could have wanted.

“Growing up, watching the Scotties, you always dream and think, ‘Hey, that could be me one day.'”

As the team’s skip, the 25-year-old led her team based out of Edmonton’s Saville Community Sports Centre to a remarkable run at the 2024 Tournament of Hearts at Calgary’s WinSport Event Centre.

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Along with teammates Danielle Schmiemann, Dezaray Hawes and Paige Papley, Sturmay impressed with her performance before eventually being knocked out by Kate Cameron’s Manitoba team in a 6-4 playoff game on Saturday.

At one point in the tournament, Schmiemann told The Canadian Press that her team’s skip “is fearless, honestly.”

“And I think they’re learning that about her quickly,” she said. “(Selena is) young and she may not have the Scotties experience, but she is a fantastic leader and she’s got nerves of steel — no fear.”

“I think we learned a lot as a team,” Sturmay said. “Just knowing that we belong there with the top teams.

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“It was just amazing to play under the big lights and have the hometown crowd in front of us, supporting us.”

Sturmay said the support of so many people at the WinSport facility and beyond is something she and her teammates were grateful for, and it helped to minimize the sting of being eliminated from the tournament.

“We definitely heard everybody cheering loud and proud and that just meant the world to us,” she beamed.

Sturmay also said she was grateful to have teammates who persevered and played hard, especially at times when she herself was not at her best.

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“(There were) unfortunate misses here and there, but my team played great through it,” she recounted. “There’s a couple of games we got down early but we just clawed our way back … We’re able to stay in those close games.”

Sturmay noted that the experience of competing at the Canadian women’s curling championship was not something she or her team took for granted.

“You never know when you’re going to get a chance to go back, so we definitely just soaked in the moment,” she explained, adding that curling at such a major event gives her team invaluable experience to be more prepared for what to expect next time.

Sturmay noted that curling in front of such large crowds and at a nationally televised tournament is something she can now say she has done.

“The nerves might be a little bit less (next time),” she said. “After every game there’s always a media scrum, and that just took up a lot more time than anticipated, but it was a great experience.

“We definitely learned a lot from it and we’re just itching to get back next year.”

Sturmay said her team’s curling season is winding down now and that she plans to go into the offseason with a goal of forging even closer bonds with her teammates while finding a good balance between getting rest and putting time into off-season training.

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“Our team had a great week,” she said of last week’s tournament in Calgary.

“I don’t think a lot of people had high expectations of us coming into this, just because we are a new team and we don’t have that experience. But I do think that moving forward this team has a lot of potential.”

–With files from Global News’ Slav Kornik and The Canadian Press

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