This year’s edition of the National Scotties Tournament of Hearts will see a former Stingers athlete in Team Quebec’s lineup. Brittany O’Rourke and her team qualified to represent the province in the Canadian Women’s Curling Championship this month.
O’Rourke graduated Concordia University in Leisure Sciences this past December. Throughout her time at Concordia, the 23-year-old represented the Stingers in both soccer and rugby, most recently as a member of the women’s soccer team this past fall.
Despite being part of varsity teams over the last few years, O’Rourke always kept curling as a priority in her life. The Dorval, Quebec native first started to curl at age 10. In the early days of her curling career, she recalls her stepfather taking her regularly to the Lachine Curling Club. To O’Rourke, curling was always a fun activity, but her passion for the sports grew as the years went by.
“I was more excited to finish curling, get off the ice, and have our lunch and play cards with the people that were there,” she said referring to her early years playing the sport. “But as you grow up, you get more competitive. It’s my nature; I’m a very competitive person. It’s only natural that you get more intense about the sport until you just want to win everything.”
Winning everything is exactly what O’Rourke and her team accomplished at last month’s Quebec Scotties Tournament of Hearts held in Victoriaville. Under veteran skip Allison Ross, O’Rourke’s team went undefeated in the round-robin stage of the tournament, winning all seven games. In the finals, the team won easily, 11-4, and guaranteed their spot in the nationals. This will be O’Rourke’s first time representing Quebec at the national level.
“It was a little surprising [to win],” she said. “It showed how much more effort we put in compared to the other teams. We came in second last year, so [winning] wasn’t so farfetched. We just didn’t expect to go undefeated at all.”
O’Rourke and her team curl out of the Glenmore Curling Club, located in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. The team plays games every Tuesday night in the club’s own league and practices every weekend.
“We want to do well,” she said. “Looking at the teams going, there should be a lot of close games, but games that we should be able to win. We want to finish at least in top half (6th place or higher).”
At the Scotties, O’Rourke will be playing some of Canada’s top female curlers, including some past World Champions.
“I don’t want to be star-struck,” she said. “I’m not there to make friends, I’m there to compete. It’s going to be nice to talk to them after games, but before games, it’s going to be death eyes.”
Even though it will be her first time at the Canadian Championships, O’Rourke has made it to the national level before, but as a junior curler. O’Rourke is a three time Junior Quebec Champion and has been to the nationals in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
“That was a huge experience,” she recalled. “It’s going to be amplified at the Scotties.”
The 2013 Scotties Tournament of Hearts runs from February 16-24 at the K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario. O’Rourke and Team Quebec will face Team Nova Scotia in their opening game on Feb. 16. All the week’s action will be televised on TSN.