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Stephanie LeDrew hoping transition to broadcast is a smooth one


Stephanie LeDrew has seen accomplished curling greats like Russ Howard and Cheryl Bernard make the smooth transition from the ice to the broadcasting booth, so she’s hoping it will be no different for her.

Stephanie LeDrew will make her curling commentary debut this weekend when she joins Vic Rauter and Russ Howard in the booth as TSN carries the men’s and women’s semifinal and final games of the 2015 M & M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships from the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook. — Star photo by Geraldine Brophy

“I’m sort of just jumping in, hoping that it works out, to be totally honest,” LeDrew, a Corner Brook native who now lives in Sarnia, Ont. said Thursday afternoon at the Pepsi Centre while rocks were being thrown at the 2015 M & M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Curling Championships.

LeDrew was the fifth for the Ottawa-based Rachel Homan rink for the past two seasons, a whirlwind journey that saw the team win back-to-back Canadian women’s titles and captured medals on the world stage in both years.

 She will make her curling commentary debut this weekend when she joins Vic Rauter and Russ Howard in the booth as TSN carries the men’s and women’s semifinal and final games from the Pepsi Centre.

“It’s a pretty natural transition because curling analysis and commentary is really all about the strategy,” she said.

Explaining to the viewers what the players may be thinking and why they are calling a particular shot is a big part of her role in giving the television viewer a sense of what’s happening on the ice. She’s really comfortable with talking about strategy and credits her time spent with the Holman rink as a big help in increasing her knowledge of the game.

As the fifth, she spent most of her time on the bench. But, she sat next to coach Earl Morris and made the most of the time spent in his company.

“He’s just so brilliant and I just sat there and soaked up every word he said,” she said. “I think I learned more just sitting next to him during that time than I probably did in my entire curling career.”

The trio will be in the booth together, so LeDrew knows it won’t be all up to her and her fellow commentators have taken her under their wing. She also noted that the slow pace of curling will provide her with more time to think about what she’s going to say.

“There’s a level of comfort having them next to me guiding me along,” she said.

She’s thinking she’s going to be just fine. She even had her boyfriend, Levi Oliver, provide her with encouragement.

Apparently, last week LeDrew was watching Sportsnet coverage of the provincial Scotties with her boyfriend and was chatting up a storm about the on-ice action.

“He looked at me and said ‘you realize you’re going to be fine commenting because this is what you do ... you sit at home and do commentary to me, so now you just got to say it to the rest of Canada who is watching,” she said.

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