While this year’s Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts was far from ideal for Sandy Hook’s Rebecca Lamb and her team from the Stonewall Curling Club, it was a dream come true for their front end.
Brooke Friesen, the team’s lead, along with her younger sister Holly at second, made their debut appearances at the women’s provincial curling championship in Gimli from Jan. 23 to 27. The pair from Winkler did most of the sweeping for Lamb’s team who finished 1-6 at the event — their only win coming against Dauphin’s Lisa Hale 11-7 in Draw 10 on Jan. 25.
Despite the lack of success on the ice, Brooke liked the experience of a Manitoba Scotties.
“So far, so good,” she said after her team’s loss to Beth Peterson 6-4 on Jan. 24. “It’s a lot different than a junior provincials. It’s a lot of fun so far.”
“It’s a lot more competitive. You always know that going into it, but you don’t realize how competitive it is until you’re actually in it and curling in it,” she added.
Brooke started curling as a 10-year-old, with Holly taking to the sport two years later, and experienced success as a youth curler. In 2013, with Brooke as lead and Holly as fifth, their Garden Valley Zodiacs team won the MHSAA Provincial Girls High School Curling Championship. A year later, Brooke won gold for Team Central at the Manitoba Winter Games as well as for Team Manitoba at the Optimist U18 International Curling Championships in Surrey and Langley, B.C. Other alumnae at the Optimist Championships include former Scotties champions Kaitlyn Lawes, Chelsea Carey and Shannon Birchard.
At the 2018 Canola Junior Provincial Curling Championships, with Brooke at skip and Holly at second, their team finished with a 4-3 record. Because Brooke aged out of junior and the two had played together for five years, the sisters tried to find another team to play for until Lamb and third Janelle Vachon reached out.
“I’ve always wanted to curl with Rebecca because I’ve always been curling against her, so I figured why not just join forces?” Brooke explained. “Everyone’s jelling really well and everyone’s doing great.”
The foursome competed on the Manitoba Curling Tour this season, reaching the semifinals of both the MCT Classic last September and the MCT Championship in December. The highlight of their season was qualifying for the Manitoba Scotties in Winnipeg playdowns last December with wins over Joelle Brown 9-6 and Abby Ackland 8-3.
After punching their tickets to provincials, the Friesens received plenty of advice on what to expect.
“A little bit from Janelle and a little bit from Rebecca,” Holly said.
“Our coach Rob. He’s coached a lot of different teams at a lot of different levels. He knew what was to be expected and what we need to prepare for this week,” Brooke added.
She also believes that the scoreboard was not a proper reflection on how her team played.
“We’ve played from pretty good games in our opinion, but the scoreboard has been on the wrong side for us,” Brooke said.
“It’s still been a good experience. We’re still having fun even though it hasn’t gone how we’ve wanted it to,” Holly added.