There have been a lot of changes to curling teams this spring, and the Westman women’s scene wasn’t exempt from rotating rosters.
Janelle Schwindt has decided to leave the Brandon-based team skipped by Stacey Fordyce to form her own for next season. Schwindt threw second stones for the squad that included third Kelsey Russill, lead Roz Ripley and fifth Kristy Howard, although Schwindt moved up to third stones when Fordyce was absent, like at this year’s provincial Scotties.
While the team had some success, going 4-3 at the Scotties and just missing a tiebreaker, Schwindt decided she wants to be a skip again.
"I’ve always wanted to skip, so I’d like to get back into that position and that’s obviously not going to happen on this team," she said. "I just want to put more time in and a team that’s willing to put that time in too."
The 21-year-old Brandonite skipped for most of her junior career and has teamed up with her former third Kylee Calvert, who just aged out of the junior ranks. The pair are looking for two others to join them. Schwindt doesn’t want to play too much more next season as she’s still attending Brandon University, but she is looking at playing on the Manitoba and World Curling Tour circuits more often the following season.
She admits it’s a scary position right now to leave a squad to create her own that has only two members, but she’s looking forward to the adventure of finding two other players and guiding a team next winter. Schwindt is also grateful for her time with the Fordyce squad and feels that has prepared her to take this next step.
"I don’t even know if I would have had a ladies team without them," Schwindt said. "It’s a lot different from juniors, so it’s definitely helped me transition and get used to everything, and not at that skipping level so it’s a little bit easier to transition to."
As for the rest of Fordyce’s team, they haven’t reached a decision about their future. Fordyce, Russill and Ripley plan to meet in the next couple weeks to talk about their plans, but they haven’t been in talks with Howard.
Fordyce admitted she wasn’t surprised that Schwindt left the team as she knew her former second missed skipping, and she wishes her well.
"We weren’t surprised at all," Fordyce said. "She was doing something she wanted to do, so we’ll definitely wish her the best. She’s a great skip and she’ll do well."
Rob Fowler’s new team that will be skipped by Jeff Stoughton has CurlManitoba trying to figure out how two berths at next year’s men’s provincial championship in Brandon will be determined.
Normally the defending champion earns a spot as well as the top two teams from the previous year’s Canadian Team Ranking System as long as they’re in the top 30 in the country. However, Stoughton’s defending champions dispersed to open up that spot and Fowler’s Brandon-based team and former Brandonite William Lyburn’s teams have also broken up, sacrificing spots based on CTRS points.
Former Brandonite Mike McEwen and his Winnipeg-based team will claim one CTRS berths. Scott Ramsay, who’s from Brandon but skips a team out of Winnipeg, is fifth provincially on the CTRS rankings, but sits in 44th place in Canada so he’s not eligible for that spot. Winnipeg’s Matt Dunstone also has a spot after winning a berth bonspiel earlier this year.
CurlManitoba’s rules and competition committees are trying to figure out how those berths in the 32-team event will be awarded and hope to reach a decision by June.