Crawford to represent New Brunswick at Scotties

Team Andrea Crawford (Photo: Curling NB) have been selected to represent New Brunswick at the 2022 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay.

By: Cameron Sallaj

On Monday January 11, Curling New Brunswick officially announced that Team Andrea Crawford out of the Capital Winter Club in Fredericton will represent the province at the upcoming Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The news comes following the cancellation of the provincial playdown on December 29, 2021.

Per the CTRS rankings, Team Crawford ranked high above the rest of the New Brunswick pool and were therefore chosen as provincial representatives.

Team Crawford, which consists of Andrea Crawford, third Sylvie Quillian, second Jillian Babin, lead Katie Forward and coach Daryell Nowlan, have had a superb season on the tour thus far, with an impressive 24-5 win/loss record to date.

The team out of Fredericton has played in five events this season and has qualified in every one of them. They have also reached the final in four of their five events, proving their domination on the Atlantic tour.

Team Crawford began their season at The Curling Store Cashspiel where they lost in the event final to Team Christina Black, who will also be at the Scotties representing Nova Scotia. They then played in the Steele Cup Cash where they once again made it to the final, but lost to the Melodie Forsythe rink.

The team captured their first event title at the Dave Jones Stanhope Simpson Insurance Mayflower Cashspiel, defeating Team Jill Brothers in the final. They then won their second straight event at the Superstore Lady Monctonian, getting revenge on the Christina Black rink in the final. In the round robin, they also beat Nunavut's Scotties representatives Team Brigitte MacPhail.

In their most recent event, the Stu Sells 1824 Halifax Classic, Team Crawford made it to the semifinal where they lost to Switzerland's Corrie Huerlimann. With all of their successes from the start of the season, the team currently ranks twenty-second on the CTRS standings with the next closest New Brunswick rink, Erica Cluff, in seventy-first.

Team Crawford returns to the national championship for the first time since the 2020 edition. The team was initially selected to represent New Brunswick in the bubble in 2021, but was forced to decline due to work and family obligations. The province was instead represented by Team Melissa Adams, who finished the event with a 3-5 record.

This will be skip Andrea Crawford's tenth appearance at the Tournament of Hearts. It is her sixth trip with second Jill Babin and third appearance with lead Katie Forward. Sylvie Quillian, who was formerly Sylvie Robichaud, joined the team after the 2019-20 season and will compete with the Crawford rink at the national championship for the first time.

Quillian, who plays out of Moncton, previously skipped New Brunswick at four Scotties and has defeated the likes of Tracy Fleury, Rachel Homan and Suzanne Birt at the event. Following the departure of Jennifer Armstrong from the team, Quillian slotted into the Crawford lineup as their new third. Armstrong now plays lead for the Chelsea Carey team out of Saskatchewan and will also be at this years Tournament of Hearts representing Wild Card #2 with the Carey rink.

When asked about her team's upcoming return to the national stage, skip Andrea Crawford said that she was "Thrilled to be representing NB this year. We've desperately missed competing at the Scotties and representing NB, being able to build on previous success and this year we feel, despite COVID impacts of still an abnormal competitive season, we are ready to play our best performance. Bring it on!"

Crawford's previous best placement at the Scotties was a 6-5 fifth place finish in 2014. In 2020, her team lost in a tiebreaker to Saskatchewan's Robyn Silvernagle to earn their way into the Championship Pool. Also in 2020, the team scored a seven-ender against eventual national champions Kerri Einarson en route to a huge 13-7 victory over the Manitoba squad.

While talking to Team Crawford's coach Daryell Nowlan, he exclaimed that "I am happy that the team is able to go this year. Last year we couldn't accept the nomination to go because of the 14 day quarantine requirement in NB. It was just too difficult with work and families. I think that makes the team hungrier and more excited to get out there and play. They've trained hard and had a strong season so far. We're going to keep it rolling in Thunder Bay."

As of the current rankings, Team Crawford enters this years Scotties ranked thirteenth in the field, however, the team has not travelled outside of New Brunswick or Nova Scotia to compete. The Fredericton based squad hopes to continue their momentum from their successful season into the Scotties as they prepare to take on some of Canada's most elite and dominant women's teams.

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