Carleton student debuts at prestigious Canadian curling tournament

Emma Miskew, who plays third, was part of Team Homan who competed at the national Scott Tournament of Hearts in P.E.I. Team Homan placed fourth overall. (James Park Photo)

While some university students soaked up the sun over reading week, Carleton student Emma Miskew basked in the sound of curling fans cheering her on at the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

The Ottawa native plays third on Team Homan, who represented Ontario at the national-level tournament in Charlottetown, P.E.I. last month. Miskew said her and her teammates, skip Rachel Homan, second Alison Kreviazuk, and lead Lisa Weagle, were thrilled to represent Ontario at the tournament.

“We’re very competitive. We want to do well and represent Ontario well,” said Miskew in telephone interview with Carleton Now from P.E.I. mid-way through the tourney. “It feels really good, we worked hard all season.”

The Homan Team made it into the Scotties Tournament of Hearts after a surprising sweep for gold at the Ontario version in January. The rink, fresh out of the junior ranks, was prepared to make a strong impression in their rookie appearance at the senior level. And make an impression they did – placing fourth overall.

“It definitely shows that juniors aren’t that much less of a competition … and that juniors are able to come here and perform,” said Miskew.

Team Homan, which curls out of the Ottawa Curling Club, was the youngest to ever represent the province at the national-level tourney, with all team members in their early to mid-twenties. Miskew said the team felt slightly nervous, they did not their young age affect their game.

“I think we’re just playing our game and staying relaxed out there,” said the 22-year-old industrial design student. “The key to our success is just not getting worked up over the fact that we’re young.”

The team rocked the house, winning their first five games. But Saskatchewan, led by experienced skip Amber Holland, proved to be a challenging rink for Team Homan, who lost 8-5.

But even after the loss, Miskew remained upbeat. She said the team came into the tournament aiming to qualify for the playoff round, but they were focused on enjoying the overall experience.

“I think what we’re trying to do is just go out there and have fun,” said Miskew, who is doing a winter internship as part of her studies in Carleton’s Industrial Design program. “We’re just trying to play our game.”

Team Homan’s fans, including their families, helped them do just that as they loudly cheered from their seats in the Charlottetown Civic Centre. Miskew said their families are great support systems and she could hear them cheering from the ice.

“They keep cheering hard and they’re here for the week, win or lose.”

Emma’s father, Art, said his family was realistic about the team’s tournament goals and tried not to add to the existing pressure the women are under. He experienced a mix of emotions watching his daughter play against some of the best curlers in Canada.

“It’s a lot of fun but it’s tough to watch them play obviously because you want them to win every game and you want them to make every shot and it doesn’t always work out that way.”

The team has had a breakthrough year at the senior level and their performance in Charlottetown was no exception. The end of the tournament marks the end of the season for them but Team Homan will start training for next year immediately and, according to Miskew, has their sights set on the Olympics in the near future.

Meanwhile, Miskew can check off one of the items on her bucket list – getting to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

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