Adams, Lee to curl for home clubs

Rainy River native and former world champ Diane Adams still remembers her first bonspiel win.
It was 1977. She was in grade seven and helped her rink take top honours at a junior bonspiel at the Rainy River Curling Club.
“That was years ago,” recalled Adams (nee Wolanicki), 36, from her Thunder Bay home. “[But] you always remember your first win.”
And that’s the reason why Adams, who played second on Heather Houston’s world championship rink in 1989, still relishes picking up the banner for her old club.
As such, she’s skipping her own young squad as Rainy River reps at the three-rink ladies’ zone playdowns this weekend at the Eagles’ Landing Curling Club in Dryden.
“I think it’s great to still recognize the smaller clubs. It’s nice to say that’s where we represent,” said Adams, who is a lifetime member of the Rainy River club even though her teammates are from Thunder Bay—Marla Sobush (third), Angie Delpino (second), and Cindy Orr (lead).
Meanwhile, Angela Lee is in a similar position. The former provincial junior champ, who now lives in Thunder Bay while attending Confederation College, will be curling in the zone playdowns as the Stratton rep even though the rest of her team isn’t from there.
Third Kelli Smith and lead Amy Staciw both hail from Thunder Bay while second Rachelle Neilson is from Ottawa.
However, each player paid their membership dues to the Stratton club and have its blessing to play under their name.
“It’s definitely a thrill to skip [for Stratton] again,” said Lee, 21, who also led her Rainy River Owls rink to the provincial girls’ title in 1999.
“I knew I had to move eventually. But it’s where I started,” she noted. “They’ve given such tremendous support. It’s very nice to still be able to curl for them.”
But Lee admitted she’s also had a blast curling in Thunder Bay. For the past three months, she has competed in the women’s major league against veteran rinks like Adams and Houston.
“Curling against skips like Houston and Adams on a regular basis is definitely a huge learning experience,” said Lee.
Dawn Sauve (Dryden) is the other rink competing in the zone playdowns, a double-knockout affair that gets underway Friday evening and wraps up Sunday afternoon.
The top two rinks will advance to the districts (Northwesterns) in Terrace Bay next month, where a trip to the Ontario Scott Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay will be on the line.
Perennial zone favourite Kathie Jackson, of the Fort Frances Curling Club, opted to take the year off to devote more time to her family and career.
Jackson and her rink of Kim Beaudry (third), Kelly Wagar (second), and Stacy Beacham (lead) had reached the provincial showdown the last four years.
This year, she’s acting as the club’s zone rep.
On the men’s side, local rinks have until Dec. 15 to declare their eligibility to play in the Men’s West Area playdowns Jan. 4-6 in Balmertown.
Interested curlers should contact zone rep Rob Sinclair at 274-4440 for more information.