Ottawa Rookies Pumped to curl with Hanna Sisters
By Joe Pavia, Post Media
They just want it to start.
Karen Sagle and Brit O’Neill (at lead and vice respectively) for Team Ontario can’t wait to start curling in Grande Prairie this Saturday in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. “All the fun and the parties has been a blast since we won but I am just looking forward to getting on the ice,” said Sagle. “We have never been before and we don’t know if we will get back again. It’s something that all of us have dreamed about doing since we were little kids,” she continued.
At 29 years of age each the two share a committed relationship in life as well as curling. Sagle is a professional development manager for the Canadian Bar Association and on the side operates a wedding and event planning business. O’Neill is in her last year as a dental hygiene student who graduates in April.
They do have national experience. The third has competed with Sagle in the Canadian mixed while the lead has mixed and two junior Canadians in her resume. “It has given us a bit of preview of what a national event is like. There’s so much more to the Scotties though. There’s more media at the Scotties. There’s the Ford Hot Shots didn’t exist there. I don’t know if anything can get prepare you for the Scotties.” explained O’Neill.
It helps that the Hanna sisters will be at their second Scotties. Both women are ecstatic that they are playing with Jenn and Steff. “It lets them go into it with more confidence. They know about the big show. They will be able to ground us too.” said Sagle. Both feel good that coach Bob Hanna and alternate Pascale Letendre will be there as well. The lead observed, “Both have been there as well. Bob is very good at keeping us level headed and keeping us grounded and not letting us thinking to far ahead. Pascale will help to keep us organized and level headed.”
The duo also think their provincial win has also re-invigorated their teammates. O’Neill explained that the Hanna’s last win was eleven years ago. “But they are re-excited. Things have changed. Curling has grown. It’s a whole new ball game for them also. They are excited about it.”
The two don’t want a repeat of their recent mixed national. They both feel their mixed team wasn’t themselves. “We went in with too high of expectations. Having the Ontario crest on your back it weights heavy. We weren’t ourselves, we weren’t joking and it threw us off. We want to try not be so consumed with the pressure of winning a game.” the third said. She continued, “We don’t look at the big picture right away. That’s what we did at provincials. So when we lost another one and it put our backs against the wall (Sagle interjected here ‘But that’s how Jenn loves to do it”) so we just take it one game at a time.”
While the duo agrees that they shouldn’t look too far in advance both agree that they want to take everything in. The Scotties begins this Saturday with Ontario playing Quebec at 3:30 our time.
BROOMGATE: On Wednesday Curling Canada banned hair brooms of any kind at the upcoming Scotties and Brier. Sort of. Athletes can use them to slide with throughout a game. And can use them in practice until the last rock. And thirds and skips can use them but only for behind the tee-line sweeping. The new CEO, Katherine Henderson, announced Tuesday, is going to have her hands full on this file.
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