Two decorated Sask. curlers reflect on 2001 provincial final
Englot and Ridgway met in the 2001 Provincial Finals in Estevan.
ESTEVAN – A lot has changed in Saskatchewan curling since the Viterra Scotties Tournament of Hearts was last held in Estevan in 2001.
Back then it was called the SaskPower Scott Tournament of Hearts. The event took place at the Civic Auditorium and was an eight-team round robin followed by the playoffs.
This year it’s taking place at Affinity Place with a 12-team triple KO elimination draw followed by the playoffs.
What hasn’t changed, however, is the great play of Sherry Anderson and Michelle Englot.
Englot (curling then as Michelle Ridgway) won the 2001 provincial championships, defeating Anderson 5-4 in the final. Both curlers are competing this year, with Anderson being their team’s skip and Englot finishing second at Brooklyn Stevenson’s Rink.
Englot said at the time that she and Anderson have won many tournaments and she is amazed that they are still playing at a fairly high level.
“That’s curling. If you stick with it, you can play with it for quite a long time,” Englot said.
Englot has played in playdowns and other tournaments at Estevan several times since 2001 and mixed provincial tournaments at Power Dodge Curling Center in 2019.
“It’s always nice to come back to Estevan and play, but it’s really nice to play in the arena,” said Englot.
Anderson’s strongest memory of the tournament was beating Patty Hersikorn (then Patty Rocheleau) in the semifinals.
“We decided that whatever she was doing, we would play double [takeout] for the win. It took us two to win and she made a great shot. I said, ‘Guys, this double is skinny. I just have to style this top skirt.’”
Anderson thought she would flash the shot and lose, but the rock caught enough to draw the double and score two points to win.
After that, Anderson saw Jim Packet by Benson, a three-time men’s curling provincial champion. Packet told her it was a nice shot, and after Anderson said she wasn’t sold on double, he said, “You always play double. You always play doubles when you have a chance to win.”
Hersikorn is the third in Anderson’s team this year.
Englot never thought she would play at this level 22 years later.
“Curling was just such a big part of my life. I enjoyed the people and that’s why I played at a pretty high level afterwards [the 2001 tournament]’ Englot said.
She was ready to retire from the sport after completing her stint in Manitoba, but she was able to join Stevenson Rink.
Anderson, meanwhile, said curling has been a passion of hers since she started playing when she was eight.
“Thank God I can still do it physically without too much pain,” Anderson said.
Some teams burn out after a while, but not Anderson.
“I’m not in the gym four hours a day. I don’t throw 100 stones a day and I make it my job. This is my passion. It’s a sport. I always say that sport should be synonymous with fun.”
Englot won provincial championships as a skip in 2008 and 2012, and also made a couple of national championships while rolling out of Manitoba.
Anderson, meanwhile, won the provincials as a skip in 2002, 2004 and 2018. She was also part of Stephanie Lawton’s national team rink several times and represented Saskatchewan on the COVID-hit national teams in 2021.
And she has won numerous senior provincial and national titles.
Englot said it’s a really strong field at the provincials this year and there won’t be any easy games. She praised Affinity Place as perfect for hicks.
“The ice is amazing and the volunteers did a really great job putting together a really great event. There’s nothing quite like playing in an arena and it’s so meticulous and clean and it’s just amazing,” said Englot.
Anderson said it’s great to be back in Estevan. She believes this is the first time she has been back in Energy City since the 2001 tournament. She marveled at the venue, the fans and the efforts of the hosting committee.
“The committees always do an excellent job. They said… they had 190 volunteers… and that really shows the community spirit and volunteering that is alive and well in Saskatchewan. It’s just a lot of fun when you have a lot of people and not just a handful of people doing the work.”
Anderson won her first three games on Friday afternoon to advance to the A Finals against former teammate Nancy Martin.
Englot and Stevenson Rink, meanwhile, have been attempting to qualify for the playoffs via the B event.