You couldn’t help but notice the huge smile on Ashley Howard’s face as she officially brought the female curling ceremonies to an end Saturday afternoon at the Saskatchewan Winter Games.
Not because she was glad the event was over, but with the calibre of play the spectators at the Northlands Power Centre were treated to all week long in at the North Battleford facility.
“It was a terrific week of curling for both the men’s and female sides,” Howard said, the executive director of CURLSASK. “What we saw here this week just shows everyone that the future of curling in Saskatchewan is pretty bright.”
Saturday’s gold medal final pitted Team Saskatoon against Team South West. Both teams finished with two wins in their three round robin games and won their respective semifinals to make it to the title draw.
As was the case on Wednesday in the men’s final between Saskatoon and Rivers West, the female gold medal game was just as competitive with early lead changes, however, Saskatoon scored three in the fourth end for a lead they would never relinquish. At the end, when South West offered the congratulatory handshake, the final was 7-4 for Team Saskatoon who was able to replicate the gold medal their male counterparts secured three days earlier.
“It’s all pretty surreal,” said Team Saskatoon skip Madison Kleiter after being awarded her gold medal. “It was a fantastic tournament and what a great way to wrap it up than with a great final against team South West.”
The 15-year-old Kleiter is joined by twin sisters Kelcee and Kya Kennedy and Rianna Kish on her championship rink and had nothing but praise for the North Battleford Sask Winter Games and everyone associated with it.
“It was a spectacular event,” she added. “The hospitality was excellent.”
Howard repeated the Kleiter’s glowing accolades for not only the athletes, coaches and host committee but for the staff at the Northlands Power Centre as well.
“North Battleford should be proud of the facility (Northland Power Centre) you have here,” Howard added. “This is championship ice conditions that probably are better than some Scotties or Brier that I’ve seen.”
She said that spectators, coaches and coaches have been raving about the quality of ice at the Northland Power Centre and CURLSASK hopes to be back in North Battleford very soon.
On Twitter: @RJWtheReporter
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