Team Tippin turned to its past for its future.
Skip Julie Tippin added former teammate Megan Balsdon to play third for her Woodstock, Ont., squad next season. Second Rachelle Vink and lead Tess Bobbie return in their front-end roles.
Balsdon threw second stones on Team Tippin from 2011-14 before branching out to skip her own squad. After taking last season off, Balsdon decided to throw her name in the hat when she saw her old club was looking for a new back-end player.
“I’ve played against them and they’ve always seemed very solid,” Balsdon said during a phone interview Monday. “They always seem like they enjoy themselves, so that was part of it. I love curling and I’m a competitor but at the same time, I want to make sure that I enjoy the people I’m playing with. It’s a big factor for me. Whenever I played against them and talked to them off of the ice they always seemed like great people.
“Obviously, I’ve played with Julie before, we’ve always kept in touch and chatted off of the ice the last two years. They’re people that I thought I would enjoy curling with but also they had such a great year. I thought it was a little bit of a longshot because I did take last year off so I was like, well might be a longshot to reach out and say that I’m interested but I think because Julie knows me that I might have had a little bit of an upper hand.”
Although Team Tippin may have considered shuffling the lineup around, Balsdon said vice skip is her favourite position and where she feels the most comfortable.
“I think they might have been open if there was a skip that was the right fit like Julie might have been willing to play vice for somebody that had that depth of experience,” Balsdon said. “I’ve played vice most of my career. I’ve had three years of skip prior to last season and it just makes more sense for me to vice because she’s got way more skipping experience than I do.”
Team Tippin is ranked 23rd on the World Curling Tour’s year-to-date standings having won two titles this season at the KW Fall Classic and the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard and competed in a couple Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling tournaments. They also squeezed through the Road to the Roar pre-trials in order to secure a spot in Canadian Olympic curling trials.
Balsdon understands there will be an increased workload with Team Tippin this time around and she’s eager for the opportunity.
“I think it’ll be really awesome to be able to compete at that level,” she said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I don’t know if we’re for sure in some Slams, I don’t know exactly what next season holds, but I’m definitely up for it and would love to compete as much as possible. It’ll be cool if we could get into a bunch of those events.”
Balsdon recently worked as a spotter for CBC during the Olympic curling tournaments at the Pyeongchang Winter Games in South Korea and the experience is one she isn’t going to forget anytime soon.
“It was really just amazing being in that atmosphere,” she said. “I got to see a few events — bobsled, long track and a bit of the hockey — so that was cool. Just being there with all of the volunteers, all of the staff and everything that goes into a grand event like that, it’s so amazing to see how it all comes together and it was really well done. I loved it.”