THUNDER BAY – It’s a case of déjà vu for Trevor Bonot and his sister, Jaqueline McCormick.
The duo won the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship in 2017, alongside Kory and Megan Carr, and represented Northern Ontario in Winnipeg two years ago, joined by current teammate Mike McCarville and lead Angela Lee-Wiwcharyk.
They’re on the ice this week in Canmore, Alta., wearing the green and gold for a third time at the event, knowing as past champions there will be somewhat of a target on their backs – though there will be plenty of competition on hand, including former Brier winner Jean-Michel Menard of Quebec and Jamie Koe’s Nothwest Territories rink.
Bonot, whose 2021 team is rounded out by lead Amanda Gates of Sudbury, said it’s been a quick three weeks since they knocked off Dylan Johnston’s team at Port Arthur Curling Club to claim the Northern Ontario title.
It’s been a whirlwind ever since, he said.
“It’s been filled with trying to get in as many games and practices in as we can – and not all together as a team because we don’t all live (in Thunder Bay),” Bonot said.
“We’ve all been there together, but not as a team. This is our first time together, but I think what we’ve all learned is that having fun and staying relaxed is going to be our key, so there’s not so much pressure – being confident, but not too confident. All of those little things when they click, they click and we really hope that happens this week.”
It’s a bit of (sort of) post-pandemic fun, McCormick said – and not just about the curling.
It’s good for their mental health too.
“We’re not only excited for curling, but excited to have a little trip and do some travelling and feel like normal again. But I’m excited to get back there and redeem ourselves from a couple of years ago, where it didn’t go so well,” said McCormick, who also happens to be Bonot’s sister.
In 2019, Team Bonot finished 5-4 and did not make the playoff round. Because they’ve won in the past, McCormick says the team won’t get overlooked in Canmore.
“I know we’re never going to have that under-the-radar look that we had when we first won. We’ll never have that again, but it’s a tough field and there’s lots of people that have that mark on their back that people will say they’re one of the favourites. If we’re in that group, that’s great, but we’re still going to have to play well.”
Win or lose this week, Bonot says it’s always a privilege to represent Northern Ontario at a national championship.
“I’m really happy that we have this opportunity as past champions,” he said. “I know we’ll have to play well against everyone, because everyone knows they’re going to have to play well against us. I hope we can do that.”
They started off on the right foot, downing Alberta’s Craig MacAlpine 11-5 in Sunday’s opener and Nova Scotia 10-2 on Monday.