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LeDrew will be skip for new rink in return to competitive curling


When it’s in your blood, you find yourself doing whatever it takes to get back at it.

TC Media file photo

Stephanie LeDrew answers questions from a Western Star reporter about joining the broadcast team for TSN for the 2015 national junior curling championships held at the Corner Brook Civic Centre. LeDrew returned to the competitive curling scene on a full-time basis this season as skip for her own foursome hoping to qualify for the Ontario provincial women’s curling championship this winter.

That’s the way Corner Brook’s Stephanie LeDrew approached her desire to get back into the competitive curling scene this winter.

Throwing stones against the top female curlers in the country was put on the backburner for LeDrew for a couple of years because her career and personal life were at the top of her priority list.

LeDrew, who now calls Sarnia, Ont., home, couldn’t commit to the sport full-time, so she ended up playing the role of fifth for the Rachel Homan foursome for back-to-back Canadian women’s curling championships. She won a bronze and a silver on the world stage for those two journeys.

Being a fifth was fine when she was doing it, coaching curling was something she managed to do while playing a limited role and getting a chance to be a commentator for televised major events over the last couple of years was a lot of fun, she said.

But it paled in comparison to being on the ice in a competitive environment with the stakes high with national titles and world championship medals foremost on the mind of the elite on the Canadian curling scene.

This year, she’s back on the ice with her own Ontario team — playing the role of skip on a Team LeDrew foursome that includes a trio of women who curl out of the Sarnia Golf & Country Club. The foursome, with all hands living in Sarnia one of the key points she figured into the equation when forming a team for this year, includes her sister-in-law, Christine LeDrew, on board as third, while Sarnia’s Kaitlyn Poirier is the team’s second and Tiffany Anjema is lead.

“Every time I’m at a curling club I just want to be playing,” LeDrew said from Sarnia Monday afternoon. “Being a fifth is one thing, being a coach is another and being a fan is a whole other thing, but when it’s in your blood you just want to be out there playing all the time.”

The goal for this season is to qualify for the Ontario provincial women’s curling championship, and it’s a building year for the group, so the plan is to keep things light in terms of their schedule in the first year.

Traditionally, teams are formed in Ontario by somebody picking up the best available players and spending very little practice together because there is a lot of time spent travelling back and forth from their respective clubs to major tournaments throughout the season.

She preferred to get a local group who could reap the rewards of practicing and playing more as a group because they are all members of the same club and have the advantage of playing in a few leagues to get the team on the same page.

It’s the way it was when she got immersed in curling as a young woman when she was a member of the Shelly Nichols rink in St. John’s, so she likes the idea of becoming a close-knit group by spending more time throwing stones than driving to and from various bonspiels the teams will participate in this year.

She’s excited to be back in her comfort zone. Throwing stones for Team LeDrew is certainly something she’s going to embrace because she missed it dearly.

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