Katherine Doerksen is returning to her hometown of Morden this week, curling with Team Peterson at the Morden Scotties Tournament of Hearts 2024.
She recalled where she got her start in the sport.
"I think, I actually first tried it at the Morden Curling Club in a Jam Can Bonspiel, and then really enjoyed it, and I signed up for Junior Curling twice a week after that, at the Morden Club. They had a really good program there, and from there, I just fell into a few opportunities with teams, and was able to go to Junior Provincials and just really decided it was something I wanted to be competitive at."
She realized curling is one of the few sports you can continue to do after high school and play at a competitive level.
"Straight from Morden, I went to university at U of M, and I was competitive in Juniors for a couple more years, and then transitioned into Women's."
She is happy to compete in Morden as Second for the team.
"It's really special to me, because obviously that's where I started curling, and I haven't had a lot of opportunities over the years to play competitively in Morden. It hasn't typically been a host-town for very many provincials or even zone events. I think there's been one in the last six years with my team in Morden. It's really special to me to be able to play a provincial championship in my hometown, and to be so close to family and that support system that's helped me over the years, and then to bring my team out to my hometown, it's really special."
She explained what spectators can expect from the team at this tournament.
"Our team has been together for six years, but we have a little bit of a different lineup this year. We went from a four-man format to a five-man team this year. So, we've had Kelsey Rocque join us. She's from Alberta. She's won a lot of stuff in her career. She's a two-time Junior Champion. She'll be playing the third position for us in Morden. I'm excited to get a provincial championship under my belt with her. She's got so much experience, and we've gotten along really well this year. So, that'll be great. And our original third, Jenna Loder, will be supporting us on the bench this year. So, it'll be a different lineup. I'm excited to see what a little bit of change brings for our team."
Doerksen highlighted some of the team's expectations going into this week.
"We don't go into any event not wanting to win it, and I think aspirationally, we would really like to see ourselves get into the final. We'll take it one day at a time, one shot at a time, but really, we would want to be playing on Sunday. To me, that would just mean so much to be playing in front of my hometown. Hopefully there's a good turn out to play in front of a crowd there."
She had a message for aspiring young people about the sport of curling.
"I would just obviously want to encourage all the kids in the Pembina Valley to try out the sport, because I think it's so important to get youth involved in it, and if they are able to realize that it's something they can take with them competitively past their high school years, I think they'll see. It has brought me so much in terms of friendships and real-life skills, teamwork and time management, and then, just competitive drive overall into everything I do in life."
She praised the clubs in Morden, Winkler, Miami, and Altona, and said they are on high alert for Team Hayward coming from Carman.
The Morden Scotties Tournament of Hearts begins Wednesday, January 24th and ends on Sunday January 28th. Find more information on the Morden Scotties Tournament of Hearts website.