Erin Carmody is well aware of a special opportunity she has earned.
The 30-year-old Summerside native is a member of the Jill Brothers rink that will represent Nova Scotia at the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S., from Feb. 16 to 24.
“I’m absolutely excited (for the Scotties),” Carmody told the Journal Pioneer in a phone interview from Halifax. “It feels somewhat surreal right now.
“I know the fans in Sydney are going to be fantastic. I’ve already had a couple of folks reach out to me letting me know how excited they are for us to be there. It’s an amazing experience to represent your province in your home province.”
MVP in 2010
This, however, will not be Carmody’s first appearance at the Canadian women’s curling championship. In 2010, Carmody was named the recipient of the Sandra Schmirler Award as most valuable player throwing skip rocks for the Kathy O’Rourke-skipped P.E.I. rink. O’Rourke threw second stones while Geri-Lynn Ramsay played third and Tricia MacGregor was lead. P.E.I. went 8-3 (won-lost) in the round robin and advanced to the final, where they dropped a heart-breaking 8-7 extra-end decision to Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones.
“This time around I will be able to draw on a lot of those previous experiences throughout the week,” said Carmody. “The second time around you will put everything in perspective, too, so you may not put as much pressure on yourself.
“I know Kathy was an absolutely amazing mentor at my last Scotties. She taught me so many lessons that time we were there, particularly playing in the moment is something key that Kathy taught us that I will take with me.”
“This time around I will be able to draw on a lot of those previous experiences throughout the week. The second time around you will put everything in perspective, too, so you may not put as much pressure on yourself.”
Carmody moved to Calgary for school in 2011, and is in her third year with the Brothers rink, which curls out of the Mayflower Curling Club in Halifax and also includes second stone Sarah Murphy and lead Jennifer Brine.
“We have great team chemistry,” said Carmody. “Sarah and Jill both have two little ones, and they are balancing so much.
“We are all really open minded about what we can commit, and when we do practise we are out there practising hard.”
Team Brothers has been knocking on the door in the Nova Scotia provincials the last few years, losing in the final to Mary Mattatall in 2017 and was eliminated in the 2018 semifinals.
“We have learned a lot from each other, and have had so much fun together, on and off the ice.”
This year, though, there would be no denying the Brothers rink, which stole a deuce in the 10th end to edge Mary-Anne Arsenault in Sunday’s provincial final. Although Carmody has been living away for a number of years, P.E.I. fans still follow her career closely. Proof of that is the number of congratulations and well-wishes she has received from her home province.
“Oh my goodness, the support has been absolutely amazing,” she added. “I can’t thank everyone enough for taking the time to reach out to me and wish our team luck.”
So, how did Carmody end up playing with Brothers?
“One of my teammates decided to retire from curling so she could start a family,” answered Brothers. “Facebook pops up and Erin Carmody had a post, ‘I can’t wait to start school at Mount Saint Vincent.’
“I’m like, ‘Erin is moving to Nova Scotia?’
“So we are like, ‘OK, let’s call Erin.’”
It’s been a perfect match.
“Erin is really supportive, and she has a really good sense for the game,” added Brothers. “She is very trustworthy, and someone I value her opinions in strategy.
“She has a ‘You can do it, Jill’ demeanour.
“I always feel she trusts I am going to make the shot. When you have a third who you feel doesn’t always trust your ability that doesn’t always feel the best when you are throwing the last rocks.”
Brothers said she and Carmody, who is working towards a master’s degree in nutrition, have similar philosophies in calling the game.
“We are both very defensive players, and she is even a little more defensive than I am,” commented Brothers. “Our second, Sarah, skipped for most of her career until we teamed up five years ago. She has more of an offensive sense of the game than the two of us, so she is a really a good one to balance the two of us out sometimes.
“I think sometimes maybe Erin and I get a little carried away at clearing rocks out, and maybe not jumping at an offensive opportunity when we should. If anything, Sarah levels out our cautiousness in the house.”
Carmody, who skipped early in her career – winning three consecutive P.E.I. junior titles from 2007 to 2009 while curling out of the Silver Fox in Summerside – has been playing third stone since 2011.
“I absolutely love third stone,” said Carmody. “I think it’s where I fit the best on the team. That being said, I’m open to playing any position.
“I’ve really, really grown to love third. You get to do a little bit of everything. You get to sweep, you get to hold the broom in the house and then you get to throw.”