The NWT has missed the playoffs at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts many times before. No need to belabour that fact.
This year, though, it was meant to be different. Kerry Galusha and her rink of Sarah Koltun, Brittany Tran, Shona Barbour and Megan Koehler had travelled, played the World Curling Tour circuit,and even saw success by winning an event in Ontario.
Which is why missing out on the playoff round this year was a bitter pill for Galusha to swallow and she didn’t mince her words when describing it.
“This one stings,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been more disappointed to miss out.”
Galusha and company had their fate in their hands going into the final day of pool play late last month in Sydney, N.S. All they had to do was win just one of their games against either Prince Edward Island or Yukon and they were guaranteed at least a tiebreaker against Saskatchewan, a team they had defeated earlier in pool play.
It didn’t happen as Prince Edward Island and Yukon dealt heavy defeats on Galusha.
“(Yukon skip) Nicole (Baldwin) was making every single shot against us,” said Galusha. “It’s frustrating because we had it in our hands and we just didn’t play well on the last day when we needed to. I just didn’t make the bailout shots and that happens. We ran into two skips who were playing hot.”
Aside from the two losses to P.E.I. and Yukon, the losses to Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones and the wild card team of Casey Scheidigger of Alberta were close affairs which could have gone either way, she added.
“We could have won those games also,” she said. “It was still in our hands and we just couldn’t do it. It happened to other teams as well but it shows you can’t have any bad days. Under the old round-robin system, we would have been happy to have been at 3-and-4 at that point but the new system shows you can’t have an off-day.”
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.”
There may be a curtain call for the ladies to come as there’s the matter of the Humpty’s Champions Cup in late April, which sees the winners from the Grand Slam of Curling events, various international tournaments, the Scotties champions and the world champions invited to play. The invitations have been sent out and it’s all about the waiting game now for Galusha and company.
The Royal LePage Fall Women’s Classic is where Galusha won her event earlier this season and the winner of that event has played in the Champions Cup the last two years, she said, so it’s a definite possibility.
“We have to hope for teams to decline entries or hope for repeat winners from the worlds,” she said. “We’re on the bubble so it’s all about hoping for the best.”