BY KALISHA MENDONSA
A Lacombe-born curler has made a big impact on the Canadian curling community, recently representing our nation at the 2017 VoIP Defender World Junior Championships, where she and her team cinched a bronze medal.
Chantele Broderson joined her teammates and fellow Albertans, Kristen Strefifel, Kate Goodhelpsen and Breanna Bilassy in Gangneung, South Korea, earlier this month and placed third out of the 10 women’s teams who competed.
The young women may not have taken home a gold, but Brodersen said she was very proud of her team and what they had been able to accomplish.
She said they were all very pleased to take home a medal, regardless.
“From our very first game when we walked into that beautiful facility, we saw this arena we’d never played in before that was specifically made so people could enjoy curling. That in itself is a little crazy. The atmosphere in that bronze-medal game was insane, too,” Broderson said with excitement.
The Canadian women’s team faced off against the Korean women during the bronze-medal game, coming away with a 6-3 lead at the end of the final sheet.
“It was an overwhelming experience. There were lots of people there who might not have known lots about curling but who were just there to support the Korean team. They cheered for everyone. The crowds were cheering for Korea, but also for Canada and that was very cool to be a part of.”
Broderson said the excitement of their surroundings added a little bit of pressure, but all in all she and her teammates were very proud of their success overseas. “We really just wanted to take everything in during this trip because you never know when you’re going to get another opportunity like this again,” she said.
“We definitely did feel some pressure, because this was Canada’s shot at winning gold four years in a row. We took it in stride and decided to just play the best we could. Our fate was in our own hands. Nothing else could really help us, so we just went out to try and play the best we could.”
Broderson said the excitement truly built after the ladies defeated the United States to qualify for the play-offs.
She said it was a very cool experience, knowing she and her teammates awoke the final morning knowing they had secured a medal to take home.
She acknowledged the sadness of not securing a gold medal, but said she and her teammates were truly proud to have gotten as far as they did. “There is a picture where myself and my teammates were on side hugging in a little huddle, and that was just a really great moment. It’s cool for me to look at that picture, with my experience, because that was our team after winning bronze,” she said.
“We know it’s not a gold medal, and winning bronze was a small disappointment but it’s just ultimately a really cool thing to have a medal. That photo is special to me now, looking back at it, because it really expresses our emotions after that last game.”
She said the overall experience was one that she would treasure for a long time. However, the excitement for Broderson didn’t end in Korea.
“It was tough to get back into life and we didn’t have much of a turnaround. Myself and two other teammates are on the CIS team for the university, and last weekend we played in the CIS Westerns and won. On Friday (March 17th), we leave for Ontario to go to CIS Nationals for a week,” she said.
Broderson is a fifth on the University team, so she does have a little bit of breathing room, although she has still been training nearly every day for their upcoming national competition.
Broderson said this has been a tremendous year for her career as a curler, noting the 2016/2017 season had ignited a spark in her to work harder for her sport than ever before.
“I got a taste of the world stage and I want to go back,” she said with a laugh.
“I’m really very excited for next year. Hopefully, we will put together another great team, get through provincials, head back to Nationals and then back to Worlds again.”
She said she is hopeful about returning home with more good news after her time spent in Ontario, but is simply focusing on staying sharp and preparing to deliver a strong performance once again.