Stephanie LeDrew had to hand over her Scotties ring, but that’s just fine with her.
LeDrew, a Corner Brook native, won her second-straight Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian women’s curling championship as the alternate for the Rachel Homan rink out of Ottawa last weekend in Montreal.
“It feels pretty strange without it on,” LeDrew said of her championship ring from last year’s tournament.
Teams repeating as Canadian women’s champions don’t get another diamond ring with the Scotties logo. Instead they hand back the rings they already have and the diamond is a half-carat bigger when it’s returned.
She’ll live with waiting for the larger diamond, especially knowing she will join Homan and her teammates at the 2014 world women’s curling championship, March 15-23 in Saint John, N.B.
The foursome hopes to improve on the colour of medal brought home from the world event in Latvia one year ago when Homan settled for bronze.
LeDrew plays with the Holly Nichol rink out of the Donaldo Club in Toronto. When that foursome finished in the middle of the pack at the Ontario provincial playdowns earlier this year, Homan came calling once again to see if LeDrew wanted to join the mix.
Knowing Homan had the luxury of picking any curler to fill the role, LeDrew was excited when she was asked to go back as the alternate for the second year in a row.
“It’s pretty flattering,” she said. “I mean, last year it was a really big surprise because I didn’t really know them very well, and they kind of saw something in my personality that they wanted to have with them.”
“They called me up and said, ‘We don’t want to change a thing, we want you back,’ so it makes me feel good,” she added. “It makes me feel like I did a good job last year.”
LeDrew believes the team had a higher comfort level heading into this year’s Scotties, having already won a title.
“The girls were just kind of on auto pilot,” she said. “It wasn’t as nerve-wracking as last year, to be honest. It just sort of felt like, ‘Yeah we’re just going to win.’
“It was really a matter of fact, you know?”
LeDrew managed to qualify for all the hardware that comes with being a Scotties champ, including a gold medal and a small keeper trophy. She played in parts of three games during a championship run that saw Homan rack up 13 straight wins and culminated with an 8-6 victory Sunday night over Alberta’s Val Sweeting.
With a 13-0 record, Homan was the first Scotties champion to go undefeated since Linda Moore’s rink accomplished the feat in 1985.
LeDrew was impressed with how the team rose to the occasion with a big target on their backs as defending champions. She said the team was much better this time around, with three of four members breaking records for shooting percentage in their respective positions. The team as a whole broke the Scotties record for shooting percentage.
Last year, LeDrew came home with a bronze medal from Latvia. This year her expectations are even greater.
“This year, gold for sure,” she said. “I was amazed it didn’t happen last year. It came down to one shot that we missed in the semifinal to lose us the game.”
The quest for a world gold medal will unfold in New Brunswick, and that’s something LeDrew is excited about — it’s a tad closer than going overseas.
“I’m almost home, but not quite,” she said. “I might be able to convince some of the family to come out.
“Last year the worlds were overseas in Latvia, which is hardly a hop, skip and a jump away, so I wasn’t really expecting anybody to come out and just watch me sit on the bench for half of the week,” she added.
“But, this one is a little closer. I am working on mom (Diane Roberts) now. We’ll see.”