Keffer to replace McCarville
Although she already knew who she would be playing for in the Thunder Bay women’s curling ranks next season, Fort Frances native and former Muskie skip Tirzah Keffer had to wait until last Wednesday before she could reveal it was one of the top rinks in the province.
“I actually found out a couple of weeks ago but I couldn’t say anything to anyone until we announced it,” noted Keffer, who currently is attending Lakehead University.
The 21-year-old Keffer will replace long-time skip Krista McCarville on her Fort William Curling Club squad as the four-time Ontario champ is stepping away from competitive curling to spend time with her family and to concentrate on her teaching career.
“I’m really honoured that they asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Keffer said.
“I was looking for a women’s team to play on next year but I didn’t think that this team would be the one that I would end up on,” she admitted.
The chance to join the top women’s rink in the Lakehead came about last month while Keffer was representing Northern Ontario at the Canadian junior women’s championship.
“It all happened pretty quickly,” she recalled.
“We had come back from the nationals when we found out that Krista was leaving, and my junior coach [Peter Hinz] sent their coach [Rick Lang] an e-mail about it,” Keffer explained.
“A week later, I sent an e-mail to Krista about the opening and she sent it to the rest of the girls on the team.
“They gave me a phone call later that night to let me know that I would be joining them for next season, and things just went from there.”
Keffer will be joining up with some familiar faces in Ashley Miharija, Kari Lavoie, and Sarah Lang for the upcoming season.
She played against all three in the Thunder Bay league this past winter, and also took on Miharija and Lang during her first couple of years of junior curling.
“Having faced them before, we seem to be similar in terms of our strategy and how we play the game,” Keffer noted.
“We’re all quite similar when it comes to how we call weight and things like that, so I think the transition should go well and I will be able to make the adjustment of moving up to the women’s game,” she added.
While the squad already has practised together a few times, they will be having a full discussion with coach Rick Lang later this week about their upcoming season, including the exact lineup of the new-look rink.
“We’re waiting until Rick comes back from Edmonton [where he was involved at the Tim Hortons Brier] so we can talk in person,” said Keffer.
“But I think that we will be trying everyone in each spot next year to see how our team dynamics work, and where our skills are best suited.
“It could be anyone that could end up skipping or playing third as we really don’t care what the actual order is and who plays where,” she remarked.
“We’re all willing to play any position as we want to do whatever we can to help the team succeed.”
While their World Curling Tour schedule is expected to be somewhat light compared to previous seasons, the immediate goal for the rink is to once again compete at the Ontario Scotties, though their eyes also are set on future seasons.
“We expect next year to be a building year for us as we get used to everything and make adjustments,” Keffer explained.
“But with there being a full-fledged Northern Ontario team competing at the Scotties starting in 2015, we definitely have our eyes set on that.”