If Chelsea Carey wins the right to represent Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics, she will need to do something no other Canadian women's skip has ever done before -- win the Trials before winning her own province.
All four of the previous women's skips to represent Canada since curling became a full medal sport in 1998 had plenty of national experience before they won the Trials: Cheryl Bernard skipped three Alberta champions before she won the 2009 Trials; Shannon Kleibrink was a two-time Alberta champion before she won the 2005 Trials; Kelley Law had played in six national Scotties and even won a Canadian title the year before she won the 2001 Trials; and Sandra Schmirler was already a three-time world champion when she won the 1997 Trials in Brandon.
In contrast, Carey is probably best known for her heartbreaking losses in provincial women's finals in recent years, which have overshadowed some very strong play on the women's cash circuit.
Carey says she's hoping to prove at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings at the MTS Centre, Dec. 1-8, that a curling team is more than the sum of their provincial championships.
"Just because you haven't won provincials doesn't mean you haven't had success or big tests," says Carey. "There's a lot of other big bonspiels that test you. We've had to win some big events and have some success in those big Slam events to get to the Trials.
"I know everyone thinks that provincials is the only comparison, but I really don't agree with that. The Scotties isn't in any bigger arenas than the Slams -- probably smaller for the most part."
And Carey also thinks her team shares something else important with some previous underdog Trials winners, like Kleibrink and Bernard.
"Really, there have been very few favourites that have ever won the Trials," says Carey. "It has traditionally been a dark horse's bonspiel. The favourites have four years for the pressure to build, while the underdogs can come in and just be loose. That's really been the Trials thing."