Canada's lead runs into a familiar face

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

VERNON, B.C. -- A funny thing happened to them on their way to the world forum.

Two former Canadian junior teammates qualified for the 2008 women's world championship and wound up playing against each other on Sunday.

Team Canada lead Dawn Askin found herself facing Melanie Robillard, who played second for Germany's Andrea Schoepp.

"It's weird that happens," Askin said after Canada's Jennifer Jones whipped the Germans 11-6. "We played for years together in Ottawa. We started in Little Rock together and it's kind of nice to see a familiar face. We're good friends and we're happy that we're both here."

Both also played for Ottawa's Jenn Hanna as juniors and Askin played for Robillard when she moved up to skip. But how did Robillard wind up playing for Germany?

"I have a German mother," said Robillard, who is studying law at the University of Brussels (she speaks both German and French). "I was doing a lot of curling camps in Canada in the summer. Andrea Schoepp knew that I was living in Europe so she contacted me. Then I got a German passport this year and now, I'm on the squad."

Robillard, 25, actually followed her parents to Brussels. Her dad is a former RCMP officer who now works for NATO there.

But did it feel strange to play against Canada in Canada?

"We played (Jones) in Berne and enjoyed playing with them," responded Robillard, who has kept in touch with Askin over the years. "Now, they're just another team.

'FIRST WORLDS'

"I do miss Canada. I was so glad this was here this year ... A world curling thing is unbelievable. It is the most amazing thing ever. My first worlds, I'll get it under control."

Robillard, you may recall, was included in the very first nude curling calendar that made waves throughout North America in 2006.

"Oh God, my dad said don't speak about the calendar," said Robillard, who is playing in front of both parents here. "It was a big, blown-out-of-proportion thing here in Canada. We didn't really get much media about it in Belgium."

But would she do it again?

"I don't think so, one time's good," she said.

Askin was taken aback when she discovered Robillard's photo that just partially covered a bare breast.

"I didn't find out until I opened the paper one day and went, 'Oh?'" Askin recalled. "If that's what she wants to do, that's great and whatever she wants to do, I'll be behind her."

But, would she pose for a nude curling calendar?

"Probably not, I'm a little too shy for that stuff," said Askin.

Meanwhile, Robillard plans to keep playing for Schoepp and, because she has a German passport, would be eligible to curl in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver should Germany qualify.

SIX POSERS: Robillard is just one of six curlers competing here that have posed for the nude curling calendar in either 2006 or 2007. The others are: German teammate Anna Hartelt, Deb McCormick and Nicole Joraanstad, both of the USA, Denmark lead Camilla Jensen and Italy third Giorgia Apollonio.


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