Nedohin coming up roses at Hearts tourney
ST. CATHARINES — Holding Alberta’s broom at the Canadian women’s curling championship made Heather Nedohin realize how much she missed it.
The 41-year-old quit competitive curling two years ago after two decades and a pair of national titles.
But the emergency call-up by Shannon Kleibrink has been the busiest alternate player at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. Catharines. Nedohin skipped her second and third games for Alberta on Tuesday because of Kleibrink’s ailing back. Alberta’s record was 3-3 with Nedohin in the house for two of those wins.
“I have to be honest. I never thought I’d be back,” Nedohin said. “I’m going to get emotional. It feels really good to be back. For me, it’s harsh that’s Shannon’s back is not feeling well, but at the same sense, something was presented to me and I’m just going to roll with it.”
Alternates, or fifths, are insurance policies against injury and illness and don’t play much.
Anticipating they would need her, Nedohin played lead in Alberta’s second game so she could get a feel for the Meridian Centre ice.
She and Manitoba’s Michelle Englot locked horns Tuesday until the 10th end when Nedohin missed her attempt at a deuce to send the game into an extra end.
Englot prevailed, 9-5, to stay unbeaten and even with Ontario’s Rachel Homan, who was also 6-0 with a 7-4 win over Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories.
Quebec’s Eve Belisle got to 4-2, defending champion Chelsea Carey was at 4-1 and Northern Ontario’s Krista McCarville was 3-2 all with games to play in the evening.
Galusha lost to both Manitoba and Ontario to fall to 3-3 alongside Alberta. PEI’s Robyn MacPhee and Stacie Curtis of Newfoundland and Labrador were tied at 2-4.
Belisle downed Curtis 7-4 and MacPhee edged B.C.’s Marla Mallett 8-7, winless in six games.
The top four teams at the conclusion of the round robin Friday morning advance to the Page playoff. Ties for fourth are solved by tiebreaker games. The final is Sunday.
Nedohin won the Hearts for Alberta as a skip (2012) and as third (1998). Married to four-time Canadian and three-time world champion David Nedohin, she said in 2015 she wanted to spend more time with their daughters and on her job as manager of the Sherwood Park Curling Club.
But two days prior to this year’s Alberta championship, Nedohin got a phone call from Kleibrink, who had injured a disc in her back lifting weights and would Nedohin join them as their alternate?
Nedohin skipped two of their first three games in the Alberta championship, and they’ve continue playing as a fivesome into the Tournament of Hearts.
Kleibrink’s back hasn’t responded to massage therapy or physiotherapy as much as she’d hoped it would.
If Nedohin can get Alberta on a roll, Kleibrink may let her go the distance in St. Catharines.
Alberta’s Heather Nedohin reacts to a delivery as her team battled Saskatchewan on Tuesday.