2012 Ford World Women's Curling Championship continues in Lethbridge, Alberta
With 27 years of experience under her belt, Laine Peters continues to cast stones for Team Canada in this year's Ford World Women's Curling Championship in Lethbridge, Alta.
Playing lead for Heather Nedohin's team, Peters' hustle and judgment saved several close calls during the Scottie's Tournament of Hearts where they won Alberta's first championship in 14 years this past February.
She even managed to sweep teammate Jessica Mair out of the way after she slipped on the ice to keep a winning stone in play during the final shot in the 3vs4 playoff game against Marie-France Larouche's Quebec team.
But Peters' life-long passion for the sport started in a place where options for sporting activities were limited.
"I'm from a small town," said Peters, who currently lives in Calgary but grew up in Carrot River, Saskatchewan. "You either went to the hockey rink or the curling rink and my family curled."
Her curling career has taken her across Canada, where Peters was an alternate on the famous Colleen Jones team in Nova Scotia that won the Scottie's Tournament of Hearts four times in the early-to-mid 2000s, as well as the World Curling Championship in 2001.
In 2002, she was also part of Mark Dacey's winning team playing lead in the Canadian Mixed Curling Championships.
It's a social game
Her commitment to the sport is fueled by a combination of the strategy and mental challenge of the game as well as the social camaraderie formed between players.
"For me, when you join a team and you bond with that team, it's a very unique experience," Peters said. "And unlike any other team sport, there are only four of us so it's a really unique dynamic."
Peters added: "It's challenging, it's fun and there's a lot of interaction with a lot of different people. Once you get into the circle, you know a lot of people and it's not something you can give up easily."
These close connections formed during the season are what Amy Nixon, who is the alternate for Nedohin's team, has valued in her relationship with Peters.
"She's a really good friend both on and off the ice," said Nixon, a former Olympic bronze medalist in curling. "She's the main reason I got hooked into joining this adventure."
Peters' adventure as part of Nedohin's team was born out of her relationship with Beth Iskiw, whom she played with back in Nova Scotia and also with Nedohin in Edmonton.
Leading the way
When the lead for Nedohin's team went on maternity leave, Peters was an obvious choice since she had returned to Calgary after her stint out east.
"I love lead," Peters said. "So it was a good match."
The team is experiencing strong success in only their second season together. The magic behind the team's success at the Scottie's was the result of good chemistry amongst the team members.
"I think we played very consistently, and we all did that at the same time," Peters said. "As a team we just get along really well and have a great support team and it all just came together."
The team's harmony is noteworthy since its members are split between Calgary and Edmonton, with their coach, Daryl Horne, commuting from Salmon Arm, B.C.
Horne has seen the sport evolve considerably over his tenure.
"It used to be a very defensive game," he said. "Curling has become more skilled over the years. There's better understanding of technique and coaching. To be a champion you have to be able to play that higher, skilled game."
Peters trains five times a week and participates in bonspiels every other weekend to stay in top form.
"We like to play on the aggressive side," Peters said, describing her team's on-ice strategy. "But we certainly, through trial and error, come up with the strategy that works for us. "
- By Jessica Rafuse