The first thing the curlers from the Yukon Territories noticed about Prince George was something a lot of other athletes at the Canada Winter Games have commented on.
“It’s nice in Prince George,” third Bayly Scoffin said.
Skip Alyssa Meger agreed.
“It’s a lot warmer here than at home.”
The two had just come off the ice at the Prince George Golf and Curling Club, losing a hard-fought 6-3 decision to the Northwest Territories team.
“The ice was good,” Alyssa said. “It was really quick ice.”
Alyssa and second Peyton L’Henaff are the experienced veterans on the team at the age of 14. Bayly is 12 and lead Karen Smallwood is 13. Alyssa says the team hasn’t been together too long.
“We’ve just been curling since the beginning of this season. Our lead (Karen) only started curling this year.”
Coach Rhonda Horte says the team knew in November they would be representing the Yukon at the Canada Winter Games.
“There weren’t any other teams in our age group,” Bayly says.
Since then, they’ve competed at a bonspiel in Calgary and play two nights a week in leagues in Whitehorse, as well as setting up a few other games when they can.
For both Alyssa and Bayly, curling is a family thing.
“My sister and both parents curl,” Alyssa says, “so I got into it too.”
The team got in to Prince George on Saturday, as did almost all the second-week athletes at the Games.
“Sunday,” Alyssa says, “we went to the (Pine Centre) mall and did some shopping.”
“And did some practicing,” Horte adds.
The team was back on the ice Monday afternoon against Nunavut, and will play in both draws Tuesday as well, facing B.C. at 10:05 a.m. and prince Edward Island at 4 p.m.
After the team finishes play at the Canada Winter Games later this week, Bayly will be watching the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier with a lot of interest, as her father, Wade, plays third on the Yukon team competing for the national men’s championship in Calgary, starting Saturday.