A longtime Yellowknife-based curler says she's hoping for a good showing and a fun week at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts next month so that her team can go out on a high note.
Kerry Galusha, who's been competing at a national level for more than 30 years, is heading with her team to the tournament in Calgary after they went undefeated in the NWT Scotties in Hay River in mid-January.
The Scotties, which will be held in February, are Curling Canada's annual women's championship. The winner will represent Canada in March at the women's world curling championship, set to happen this year in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Galusha's team is celebrating its last year together after four years. However, Galusha has no plans to stop curling.
"That doesn't mean that I won't be curling next year — with maybe some local northern girls and maybe even my daughter or something."
"It's bittersweet," she said of her last Scottie's appearance with the team, because they've performed so well.
Being at Scotties is 'really big'
"We've been able to compete with the top teams in Canada," she said.
The team, comprised of Galusha, Margot Flemming, Sarah Koltun and Jo-Ann Rizzo, finished one game out of the playoffs in 2023.
"Just for … a team from the Northwest Territories to be part of that event is really big," Galusha said, "and our team has been really holding our own the last three or four years. We made the playoffs a couple years ago."
Living in the north makes it harder for teams to compete, she added, because of the amount of travel involved and the relative lack of competitors close to home.
Galusha is looking forward to competing in Calgary at the Scotties, she said, because family and friends will be coming out to watch. Which, she said, is "really special," particularly after several years of competing "in a bubble" due to COVID-related restrictions.
The Calgary tournament will be Galusha's 18th appearance at the Scotties.
Asked by CBC what keeps her going back, she laughed and replied, "I guess I love the game of curling. Because it's a lot of work. I use all my leave from work to go curl … It's exciting to go to the Scotties every year. I don't take it for granted."