Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 01/17/2009 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
She's hoping this winter the third time will be the charm.
"I'm looking for whatever it will take," Flett said at the Granite Curling Club Friday after pounding St. Vital's Marlene Lang 8-1 in the opening draw of the 85th MCA Women's Bonspiel. "It will come. I'm convinced of it."
The first time Flett made the news was two winters ago after her brother -- competitive junior curler Kyle Flett -- was killed in a horrifying snowmobile accident. The incident was big news in the Manitoba media generally and even bigger news in the tight-knit curling community, where the Fletts are well-known.
The next time Kerri Flett hit the papers, it was nowhere near as tragic but just as high-profile. It happened at last year's women's provincials when Flett was unwittingly involved in a controversial on-ice incident involving Manitoba curling powerhouse Jennifer Jones.
Flett still thinks about her brother all the time. "Every second of every day," says Flett, who now wears a pin depicting a curling rock with wings which she describes as the "angel on my shoulder."
And Flett's dreams at night are still, she says, invaded by images of the greatest shot of her young curling career -- an impossibly delicate angle raise to the button -- that, thanks to Jones's protests, never counted.
The incident, in which Jones accused the Flett team of burning a critical last rock and demanded an official intervene despite Flett's protests of innocence, ended with the befuddled official ruling in Jones's favour and the stunning sight of a Manitoba curling crowd lustily booing Jones over what was perceived as bad sportsmanship on her part.
In the end, the incident proved to be only a bump on the road for Jones, who went on last winter to win the province, the country and the world.
But it remains to this day a going concern for the 21-year-old Flett, who was a freshly graduated junior playing that night in front of the biggest crowd of her curling career and on home ice in Gimli.
"I still have dreams about it," she said Friday. "It still haunts me. I feel it wasn't true. I know I made that shot.
"The past is past, but I still look back on it."
But she also recognizes it is time to look forward and this winter -- with Jones not competing in the provincials because she already has her nationals berth as defending Canadian champion -- is a golden opportunity for Flett to finally make some good news.
Flett is playing with a talented young team this year, which includes Elisabeth Peters at third and Sarah Wazney at lead, both of whom won a Canadian junior title last winter with Kaitlyn Lawes. Tamara Bauknecht rounds out the squad at second.
The team won a Manitoba Curling Tour event this winter and finished runner-up in two others, an impressive performance for a team playing their first year in the women's game.
But after flopping in the zones, Flett knows she needs to win the final provincials berth up for grabs in this weekend's women's bonspiel -- just like she did last year -- or her season will, once again, be remembered for bad news.
Flett, who lost a couple of provincial junior semifinals over the years, says she has an ace up her sleeve this weekend. Or at least that angel on her shoulder, representing her brother, Kyle.
"He has better plans for me," Flett says. "Because I didn't win in junior, he's got something better in store for me."
What's going on? The 85th annual MCA Women's Bonspiel
What's at stake? The final berth into next month's provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts
Where? The event continues today and Sunday at the Granite, Pembina and Wildewood Curling Clubs.
Who to watch? Flett is one of a trio of promising young teams who are still looking for their provincial berths. Others to watch this weekend are three-time Manitoba junior champion Calleen Neufeld and former provincial junior runner-up Kaileigh Strath.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 17, 2009 D3
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