Newly-formed team to represent the Yukon in Scotties
For the first time ever,
For the first time ever, the Yukon will have it’s own representation in the main draw of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and this will be filled by a newly-formed team led by sisters Chelsea and Jenna Duncan.
The Duncan sisters used to play on Sarah Koltun’s team who made it to the Scotties three times.
At the first in 2014, the team won the playdown between the Yukon and Northwest Territories teams by upsetting Kerry Galusha and her team.
The team also qualified out of the Yukon in 2015 and most recently in 2017, but didn’t make it out of the pre-qualifying tournament.
For the 2018 tournament in Penticton, B.C., the pre-qualifying portion has been scrapped and the Yukon will have its own place in the 16-team main draw.
“It’s awesome to have equal representation throughout Canada and we’re honoured to be the first team for Yukon to represent and want to do our best,” team skip Chelsea Duncan said.
Duncan played third for Team Koltun, which disbanded earlier this year with Koltun joining Galusha on the Northwest Territories team also set to play at the Scotties.
Patty Wallingham, longtime second of the team, also left and so the Duncan sisters had to find new players to join their team.
And they formed a team with Kara Price at second and Jody Smallwood in the lead position.
Smallwood recently represented the territory at the mixed team championships on a team with Koltun.
Loralee Johnstone is the alternate for the team and longtime coach Gord Moffatt will join the team as well.
The team came together prepared for the Yukon Championships but they found out in mid-December they were the only team and acclaimed for the Yukon spot.
“We were actually quite surprised and actually a little disappointed. Being a new team we would have loved the extra competition and a chance to playdown with other teams to earn the title,” Duncan said. “We’re always for getting more competitive curlers out there.”
The newly-formed team is finding as much time as they can to train and prepare for the upcoming tournament while living in different parts of the country.
Chelsea is living in Victoria while her younger sister Jenna is going to school in Vancouver.
The other team members curl regularly together at the Whitehorse Curling Club.
The team has been able to curl together competitively a few times, Chelsea said, competing in two bonspiels as well as having a training camp back in Whitehorse over the holidays.
“In preparation for the Scotties, we’re all practicing every day, having team meetings, lots of communication between everybody,” she said.
Chelsea said the jump to skip has been an exciting challenge for her and has been supported by her teammates by the jump.
Jenna will join her on the backend as the third and they will be at the forefront of making the strategic decisions for the team. Chelsea, who has been a longtime third, said she is used to being part of making the strategic decisions but the new position is still a learning curve.
“It’s quite the change, but kind of a nice change. We’ve been with each other so many years,” Chelsea said. “It’s our first year on the backend together and it’s been great having her support and just working together.”
She said the team is excited for the tournament and the opportunity to represent the territory throughout the entirety of the event.
“I’m just looking forward to the experience and learning and growing. Last time was an amazing experience, they treat you amazing there,” she said.