By Andy Labdon
Their strategy never changed from the first win to the penultimate win giving Team Syrota gold in the women’s Canadian Masters Curling Championship at Guelph, Ontario.
“It was pretty remarkable, like a dream to win a national,” Delores Syrota said.
“Never been another feeling, very exciting, very elated,” said Sylvia Broad.
“Amazing, something I thought I would never achieve,” said Donna Liebrecht.
The result of the winning game may have sounded like it was a ‘walk-over’ but according to Sylvia Broad it wasn’t.
“The last game didn’t portray their skill level, we kept the same strategy, focus and execute,” said Broad.
“We knew there would be hiccups playing so many games; we always tried to get an early lead and dictate the game,” Syrota told the News. “In fact, the semifinal game was probably the best we had played all winter, we just started rolling.”
Then the score reached 5-0 in the final.
“We tried not to dwell on it, we got the lead, tried to still be aggressive and get the rocks in, and not play too defensively,” said Syrota.
“After the third end was stolen, if we keep it clean we should be okay. We must make it difficult for them by placing our rocks in the right position,” said Liebrecht.
“We were told that because the final was being televised, no team could concede, we had to play seven ends no matter what. By the fourth end, we felt in control,” Broad said.
Winning the gold wasn’t the only accolade the team received.
“Oh my goodness, you four women have just put on a curling clinic for the fans,” exclaimed the president of the Guelph Curling Club after their win.
In addition to the medals and plaque, the City of Guelph presented each member with a pair of red wooden earrings in the shape of a poppy made from the trees at Vimy Ridge on April 9, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of vimy.
“It was rather fitting for the date and occasion,” said Syrota. “We had been playing during the televised ceremonies for Vimy 100. It was so touching, something I will always remember, as it was in Guelph that Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D., was born and is the author of “In Flanders Fields.”
“The poppy earrings meant something really special to me because Dad was a war vet,” said Liebrecht.
All the team agreed that the whole experience is something they will never forget.
“They did an exceptional job of hosting, we had two excellent drivers that would take us anywhere,” said Broad.
“Oh, my gosh it was fantastic!” said Liebrecht.
“The hospitality was unbelievable, well planned. They celebrated Canada 150 at the Guelph Golf Club with a banquet and dance. With 26 teams, they went above and beyond,” Syrota said.
The whole experience of playing and winning at the nationals can be summed up by Syrota.
“It’s the people you meet, winning is just a bonus. It’s your own fault if you don’t have a good time with the people you meet, that is what curling is about.”
“We had to pick a team for the Sportsmanship Award and it took us two hours to pick who it would be, as the other teams were just really good,” said Liebrecht.
As for support, Syrota said Saskatchewan was well represented.
“It seemed like they were all from Saskatchewan as a lot of people from Ontario had connections with Saskatchewan and they said they were glad we had won as we had been the strongest team,” observed Syrota.
This is the first year that Team Syrota have played together in their present form. Bev Krasowski, Sylvia Broad and Delores Syrota have been playing together for 11 years. Just this year Donna Liebrecht joined them – not bad for your first year as a team to win the nationals.
All four have plans to take the trophy in person to Vancouver next year, but they all agreed the Provincials were tougher, “To get out of the province was the hardest thing!”