THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay's Krista McCarville will not represent Northwestern Ontario at the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary.
The 38-year-old skip and her teammates, Ashley Sippala, Sarah Potts and Sudbury's Kendra Lilly, made the collective decision to turn down an automatic berth at the national women's curling championship, offered when the Northern Ontario Curling Association decided not to hold play-downs for the 2021 event – originally scheduled to be played at Thunder Bay's Fort William Gardens.
“It was definitely a very difficult decision. It's one that we stewed over for a few weeks. It just boiled down to basically things happening in our lives,” McCarville said.
“A big part of my life is my job, being a teacher, and I have to think about my students and their families. It's something that's really important. I would be taking quite a bit of time off to go to the Scotties and travel there.”
Additionally, under current regulations in place at the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, McCarville would be forced to stay away from school properties for an additional two weeks, without pay.
The biggest reason was her family and their safety, she added.
“I have two young children and my husband, he's also a teacher, so thinking about coming back it would be a very big struggle for me.”
Potts is the mother of twins who have yet to reach their first birthdays. Sippala also has two young children.
“You just have to think about your family before you think about yourself,' McCarville said.
From a curling standpoint, it was one of the toughest decisions she's ever had to make.
McCarville has represented Ontario (four) and Northern Ontario (five) a total of nine times at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, winning bronze in 2010 and silver in 2016.
That ever elusive title has escaped her so far, a crown she desperately wants to claim.
“Every single season we jump on the ice at the beginning of the year our thought is we want to win the Scotties,” she said. “We don't think about making it to the pre-trials or the trials, or how many points can we gain this year.
“No. 1 is we want to go to the Scotties and we want to win the Scotties. To get an invite and the berth to the Scotties was such a big deal and it never happens and it's super exciting. But at the same time, you just have to put curling in perspective to your life and think about what you need to do as a person - and as a team as well.”
McCarville said she made her decision relatively quickly, but the other three curlers thought long and hard about whether or not they wanted to pick up the mantle, add a fourth player and accept an invite. In the end, the decision was made to stay home.
McCarville said she's already looking forward to the 2022 event, focusing on earning her way into the event, which is scheduled to be held in Thunder Bay.