Montrose’s four-time Scottish curling champion, Kelly Schafer, will get another shot at winning an elusive world gold by competing AGAINST her home country.
The 42-year-old was part of the Team Saskatchewan quartet that lifted Canada’s Mixed Curling title at the weekend.
Now a Canadian citizen, Kelly (formerly Wood), Shaun Meachem, and Chris and Teejay Haichert have earned a spot at the October 2024 World Mixed Curling Championship in Aberdeen on the back of that triumph.
They won their national title on home ice at Swift Current, where Schafer clinched a World women’s silver alongside Eve Muirhead back in 2010.
That was her last medal of a decorated career with Scotland and Great Britain, which also included a European gold and selection for three Winter Olympic Games.
Saskatchewan defeated Team Manitoba 5-4 in Sunday’s final, having gone on an unbeaten run after losing their opening game.
— Curling Canada (@CurlingCanada) November 11, 2023
“It’s just so special,” said Schafer. “I’ll be proud to represent Canada and that’ll be a new thing for me.
“It means everything to win at home.
“We have such a great club.
“All of us have been part of the host committee and we really wanted to put on a great event for the curlers because that’s what means the most to us, and I think we did that this week.”
This was the second time Schafer has attempted to claim a national title in her adopted home country.
Having married the Swift Current mayor over a decade ago and eventually securing citizenship, she joined Team Silvernagle who secured the Saskatchewan Provincials, progressing to the 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in British Columbia (Canada’s national championships).
She didn’t win that and therefore get the chance to become a Canadian World Champion in the women’s event but will now have a shot in the Mixed – just 40 miles up the road from her original Angus home town.
Team-mate Chris Haichert said the group had extra motivation to earn Schafer her homecoming.
She said: “We really wanted to win this one for Kelly who’s from Scotland and the winner gets a trip to Scotland.
“This meant a lot for all of us but it was especially nice to get her home.”
For one of Scotland’s most successful curlers of all time, there’s now 11 months to get used to wearing red and white colours rather than blue and white at a World Championship!