'Just feels amazing': Nova Scotia curling team going to world juniors
Nova Scotia's men's team went undefeated at qualifying tournament in Saskatoon
The skip of a Nova Scotia curling team says he's thrilled that when he heads to the world junior championship in Sweden this March, he'll be going with his dad, who is the coach of his team.
"Being able to wear the Maple Leaf with him is just going to be amazing," said Owen Purcell.
The other members of Purcell's team are lead Scott Weagle, second Adam McEachren and third Joel Krats. The team is coached by Purcell's dad, Anthony Purcell.
The Nova Scotia team went 7-0 at a qualifying event held this week in Saskatoon. Purcell's team defeated Newfoundland and Labrador 10-9 in Saturday's championship game.
"It's just crazy to think about spending pretty much my whole life just playing curling and working hard to be able to get to where I'm at and it just feels amazing," said Owen Purcell.
The match wasn't as close as the score would indicate. Nova Scotia was up 7-1 after three ends and took a conservative approach to limit their opponent's scoring opportunities.
"We did it," said coach Anthony Purcell. "We're going to worlds. It's pretty incredible."
As Owen Purcell threw his last rock to seal the win, his dad thought about the hard work and sacrifices that were made to get there.
"It's just everybody stepping up to the table so that we can play and relax and have that support to put us in the best position to succeed," said Anthony Purcell.
He cited everything from financial support from sponsors to people helping with household chores when the team members travelled, such as feeding pets.
On average, the team is on the ice six days a rink, whether it's practising or playing matches.
'An amazing run,' says coach
Saturday's win marks the culmination of a year that saw the team go 44-4.
"It's been just an amazing run and to go into this event with Canada's best teams and go 7-0, it's pretty crazy," said the coach.
The 2022 World Junior Curling Championships will be held March 5-12 in Jönköping, Sweden.
Another Nova Scotia connection
On the women's side, the winning junior team has a Nova Scotia connection. Northern Ontario skip Isabelle Ladouceur is from Bedford, but attends university in Ontario. Her team beat Alberta 7-6 in the final.
Up three going into the final end, Ladouceur said she was focused on just executing last rock. It wasn't until after she had shaken hands with the other team and organized the rocks that she had a realization.
"That's kind of when it hit me that my team and I, we became Team Canada," she said.
Ladouceur said she's been "euphoric," since then, adding that representing Team Canada has always been a dream for her.
The junior qualifying event fixed a problem created by the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the cancellation of the Canadian juniors in 2020.
A competition scheduled to begin March 25, 2022, in Stratford, Ont., will determine the Canadian junior teams for the world championships in 2023.
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