McCarville skipped her team to an Olympic trials berth

CON GRINOWSKI

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

Call it Thunder Bay: The Next Generation.

There's a sense of calmness about Krista McCarville when she talks about how much she's been able to accomplish this year.

McCarville was three months pregnant when she skipped her team from the Fort William Curling Club to a third Scotties appearance earlier this year.

Before making history by beaming up the first-ever team from Thunder Bay to an Olympic Trials berth, McCarville became a first-time mom to daughter Isabella.

She calls Isabella her "good luck charm" and would like their trip to the Roar of the Rings to be memorable.

"If we make it to the Olympics, she can look back to see what her mom did right after she was born," said McCarville, whose daughter will be a little over two months old when the team arrives in Edmonton.

McCarville nursed her daughter between draws at the pre-trials event in Prince George.

"Every day," McCarville said. "We had a pretty good schedule. She slept really well during the morning draws and got up just as we were getting off the ice."

Women's curling has recently been strongest in Western Canada and McCarville is skipping the only trials team based east of the Manitoba border.

"It's exciting because it only happens once every four years," said McCarville about the Olympics path. "No other Northern Ontario team has ever made it to the trials. Being from Thunder Bay, we don't get to travel much to spiels. We've worked hard, even though we couldn't get to as many spiels as we would have liked.

"At the same time, it's a pretty big thing for this town and we feel a lot of support."

Thunder Bay has kinda disappeared off the curling map since its previous generation of skips, Al Hackner and Heather Houston, brought back world titles many moons ago.

At 27, McCarville is the youngest player on a team that mind-melds a new generation to Thunder Bay's winning tradition.

Her supporting cast includes third Tara George, second Kari MacLean and lead Lorraine Lang.

Lang threw third rocks for Houston's 1989 world champion team, and her husband Rick, third on Hackner's 1982 and 1985 world championship team, coaches this team.

"There's a pretty big age difference between us, but she's meant a lot to our team," said McCarville. "She keeps us on our toes and, at the same time, helps us stay patient. We do have such a big age gap. If I say I'm friends with a 53-year-old, some people may not believe me. We have a really good friendship and a good relationship on and off the ice."

Although the core of the team has been together for five years, Rick Lang became coach at the start of this season to help the team get into the pre-trials.

"We wanted somebody to be our coach, not our friend," said McCarville.

"He's been really good for our team. He knows what it takes. He's strong and tough. We've all gelled pretty good as a team."

McCarville is currently on maternity leave from her job as a teacher and it's her mom Linda who had to ask for time off to watch her granddaughter during the trials run.

McCarville was back on the ice two weeks after her delivery, playing in the Thunder Bay men's Super League.

"They allowed us to play for one year because it was a trials year," said McCarville. "It's really helped us playing against the men because you always get up for them."

Since McCarville has come back to skip, the team has won three of four starts against the men.

"I took it slow with easy slides," said McCarville. "I had to take it slow to make sure I was in perfect shape for the pre-trials."

Mission accomplished. On to Edmonton.

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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