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Kim Kelly said she didn’t have to think too much when offered another opportunity to attend the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
And Mayflower skip Jill Brothers wasn’t surprised by Kelly’s quick response to her offer to join the team as their fifth.
“I thought she may have considered we would approach her with the offer,” said the skip, who is preparing for her fourth national Scotties, being held in a bubble environment in Calgary. "It was nice that she had a decision in mind before we chatted."
Kelly is a veteran of 17 Scotties championships, 16 with the legendary Colleen Jones rink. She also served as a fifth for Brothers at the 2019 Scotties in Sydney and is familiar with her teammates.
She expects her role will include offering support away from the arena for the team of Brothers, Erin Carmody, Jenn Brine and Emma Logan when the championship begins on February 19th at Markin McPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park.
Kim brings so much insight on team dynamics. She’s done it all and has experienced so much through her career. We trust her opinions and she’s an inspiration to be around.
- Jill Brothers, Mayflower skip
“Jill knows my strengths,” said the retired pharmacist. “We have developed a relationship and I think she would agree a student-mentor thing. She certainly knows what she is doing, but I think it’s a comfortable relationship for us.
“My biggest interest is more on the how-to-compete side, I guess you could say sport psychology. I have no formal education in that field but certainly have been taught by experience and by Ken Bagnell, who was our sports psychologist–coach. He taught me so much and I kind of steal from him and there have been other sport psychologists we have worked with over the years.”
Brothers said Kelly’s experience and commitment acquired from winning five Canadian titles and two world championships are invaluable.
“Kim brings so much insight on team dynamics. She’s done it all and has experienced so much through her career. We trust her opinions and she’s an inspiration to be around.”
Kelly didn’t play at the 2019 Scotties and if all goes well doesn’t expect to in a few weeks.
“I would rather not play because that means the girls are working on all cylinders and everyone is healthy mentally and physically.”
However, she will be ready if called.
“I would be absolutely thrilled to play to tell you the truth,” said Kelly. “It would be fun. I can’t deny that. We haven’t talked about that because we have gone with the philosophy that we will cross that bridge when we get to it.”
“If Kim has to step up and hit the ice, I have no doubt she’ll be great," said Brothers. "She’s been on the ice nearly every day and knows how to shine on Scotties’ ice.”
Kelly has been an all-star at every position she has played at the national Scotties. She was Canada's best as a lead (1994), as second (1992) and in 2001 was a first-team all-star at third. In 2004 she was the second-team all-star at third.
The 58-year-old is still capable of playing at the top level and her versatility is a plus. Last year, the Jones rink played in the provincial Scotties final against eventual champion Mary-Anne Arsenault.
“The final wasn’t that close, too bad. We had an awesome provincial and played really well. That’s been fun because the last few years it’s been a different role me because I have been throwing last rock. Colleen is calling the game and basically the same set up. Colleen tells me what to do and I do it. We just switched who throws where. So now I have played every position.”
Kelly said Curling Canada has helped ease her mind with regards to COVID-19.
“We just had a call with the people at Curling Canada. They have put in so much work. I can’t imagine keeping all these balls in the air. They have done a fantastic job.
“They are currently calling every team and going through updates. They sent a document but it changes all of the time with the way things are going in Alberta. Alberta Health, like any health organization these days, they keep changing the ground rules.
It shows they are really all over it and will have a tight bubble. You only go arena to hotel. It’s tight.
“The only scary part is getting there. We have to go through Toronto and then it’s direct back home.”
The 14-day quarantine period will seem like a vacation, said Kelly.
“I’m retired, so not that big a deal. It’s just (husband) Mike and I living here at home. We're lucky because we have a family place just outside of Amherst and now we call it the quarantine house. A nice house in the country and it’s kind of like going on vacation. I don’t mind and will go right there when I get back.”
I love the event, it’s an awesome competition. The atmosphere brings back warm and fuzzy feelings. It’s like home, I’m comfortable. Just to go in and look at the arena set up, that old feeling comes back.
- Kim Kelly
SCOTTIES A SPECIAL PLACE
No matter the role, Kelly is thrilled to get another opportunity to attend the Scotties.
“It’s a special place,” said Kelly. “I love the event, it’s an awesome competition. The atmosphere brings back warm and fuzzy feelings. It’s like home, I’m comfortable. Just to go in and look at the arena set up, that old feeling comes back. It’s very addictive I’ve come to realize.”