THUNDER BAY – Krista McCarville has won four medals at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, but has yet to capture gold.
The Thunder Bay skip is hoping her latest move will finally help her capture that elusive national women’s curling championship.
McCarville on Monday made it official, announcing former Team New Brunswick skip Andrea Kelly will be joining the team and will play third, with Kendra Lilly, Ashley Sippala and Sarah Potts rotating in and out of the back end throughout the 2023-24 curling season.
It’s a big change, said McCarville, who finished third at this year’s Scotties, following up on a second-place finish at Fort William Gardens in 2022.
But it’s one that was necessary.
“It’s been eight years together and in eight years we’ve done really well, always making the playoffs. We’ve been second, we’ve been third, we’ve been fourth, never first. It’s getting to the point where you are proud of your performance, but it’s also super frustrating because it’s like when is it going to be our time,” McCarville said, reached by phone after making the news official on CBC’s The Curling Show.
After making some on-ice changes this past season and still coming up short at nationals, they started looking at outside options, allowed on import on the team while still qualifying for the Northern Ontario Scotties berth.
“There was a little bit of communication with Andrea. Her name was brought up and we thought, there’s no way,” McCarville said. “She’s with her team and very similar to us, they’re very good friends. But when we heard that she was actually making changes on her team, we thought this is the opportunity that we need.”
Kelly, who curled last season with Katie Forward, Jill Brothers and Sylvie Quillan, parted ways with the team, a year after winning Scotties bronze in Thunder Bay.
She said changes in the curling world usually happen fast and furious, and this decision was no different.
“Things just happened really fast for our team and I started having chats with Kendra and then Krista last week. It was really exciting. This wasn’t really on my radar,” the 37-year-old Kelly told The Curling Show’s Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones, who called McCarville the best skip yet not to win a Scotties title.
“But after the Scotties this year, and it wasn’t really a great week for our team, there was lots of things to think about and consider about how I wanted to see the next couple of years go at this point in my curling career.”
McCarville, who has skipped at 10 Scotties, reiterated the team will not travel to curl as much as other top-ranked teams in the country, given work and personal schedules, another reason Kelly, who has 11 Scotties appearances, fit the bill so perfectly.
She added it was a team decision and Lilly, Sippala and Potts were OK knowing there may be some weekends, when the team does play spiels in southern Ontario, that they might not play.
“When Sarah’s not able to play, Ashley will play lead and Kendra will continue to play second. When Sarah’s back, it’ll be Kendra or Ashley playing second. We don’t exactly know that part of it because we’ve never actually done this. It’s going to be a trial and we’ll see how things go.
“But everyone’s open to it, which is nice.”
Rick Lang will remain the team’s coach.