Sask. curlers feeling home ice advantage at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Team Silvernagle, representing Saskatchewan at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw is already feeling the home ice advantage.

Silvernagle and her team beat out Team New Brunswick, represented by Andrea Crawford, Jennifer Armstrong, Jillian Babin and Katie Forward, by a score of 6-4 in round one action, on Saturday. 

“Hearing the crowd… I got goosebumps,” Saskatchewan skip Robyn Silvernagle said after the team’s first game. “It’s awesome. We love it.”

Silvernagle said the team is using the home ice advantage to their benefit. 

She said they know everyone is there supporting them and they’re going to take any pressure they feel and use it to their advantage, rather than letting it weigh them down.

The 1998 Olympic team of Jan Betker, Joan McCusker and Marcia Gudereit throw the ceremonial rock to kick off the 2020 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, while Sandra Schmirler’s daughters hold the broom. Schmirler died of cancer in 2000. 0:32

At last year’s tournament they placed third overall, earning a bronze medal. 

When asked if the team is seeking gold at this year’s tournament, Silvernagle said the team is taking it one game at a time.

Getting their first win was “huge” and aided in helping the team back into the groove of things, according to Silvernagle. 

She said the team is relying a bit on the experience of alternate Stefanie Schmidt of Regina. 

Stephanie Schmidt (right) watched as Team Sask. defeated Team New Brunswick in their first draw at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Schmidt previously curled for Team Saskatchewan with Stefanie Lawton in the Scotties in the 2015 season. She said being back in Moose Jaw is incredible.

“Leaning into that [previous experience], and knowing how amazing the crowd is and having the girls experience that has been amazing already, even one game,” Schmidt said. 

As alternate, Schmidt said she has a busy role, even though it may appear on the surface to be boring. 

Team Saskatchewan is poised to take on Team Canada and Team Nunavut on Sunday. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Schmidt said she’ll be managing the rocks, watching paths and taking notes and ensuring information is readily available to her teammates when they need it.

She said knowing what it’s like to be a player in Moose Jaw helps her support her teammates, and understanding the pressure of being the home team helps with that.

“I want to see the girls on the podium at the end of the week and I am going to do whatever I can to help them,” Schmidt said.