THUNDER BAY – Win the Brier or the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and within weeks you’re whisked away to the world championships, usually still in peak curling form.
Win the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship and the wait is a little longer.
Trevor Bonot’s foursome – consisting of his sister Jackie McCormick and the husband and wife team of Kory and Megan Carr – had to wait nearly 11 months before having a chance to play for a world championship, which get under way on Thursday in Switzerland.
With no ice available at local curling clubs, the team from Thunder Bay – and one, McCormick, from Stratton – spent the summer traveling near and far to keep the rust from building up, playing and practicing as far away as Calgary, Winnipeg and Minneapolis.
It wasn’t easy, but the team did what it had to do, said Bonot, who knocked off Manitoba’s Braden Calvert last November to give Northern Ontario its first mixed title since 1997.
“For us, it’s just making sure that we have our sea legs under us,” Bonot said last week before departing for Europe.
“We had to be a little strategic. We wanted to get an early start so back in August we went to Winnipeg to play in a cash spiel, a men’s event. We went 2-2, which was respectable for a mixed team. Then we’ve been practicing ever since.”
Make no mistake, Team Bonot is heading to Switzerland with the goal of bringing home the championship. But as they put the finishing touches on their game, they’re not letting the thought of winning it all overwhelm them.
“We’ve never said that it’s gold or bust. We’ve never taken that attitude with any event we’ve played. We’re kind of a team that takes it game by game and that’s worked the last two levels. We plan on making the best of our games and making the playoff round and we’ll go from there,” Bonot said.
For McCormick the logistics were even tougher, living near Fort Frances with her family, making full-team group practices a rarity.
Not that living in Thunder Bay would make a huge difference.
“I think we find that’s challenging even with the people who live here because the guys play on men’s teams and Megan’s a woman and they’re not always playing in the same league … That being said, I have a great support system,” she said.
“Trevor is my brother so he knows where we’re from and the challenges that ensues. We’ve made it work.”
A total of 38 teams will take part in the event, being staged in Champery, Switzerland. Canada is in a group with Australia, China, England, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Turkey.
Team Bonot’s first match is Thursday against Turkey.