Self-proclaimed "curling addict" Laurie St-Georges is a little surprised with all the interview requests she's received at this year's Tournament of Hearts.
"I wasn't really prepared for that," St-Georges told TSN.ca Monday morning. "I wasn't expecting this many interviews, but it's really nice because I'm actually studying journalism. I feel comfortable doing it and I practice my English a little bit."
The 23-year-old Scotties rookie and her rink out of the Laval-sur-le-Lac and Glenmore curling clubs in Quebec, otherwise known as @CurlRockStars on Twitter, have quickly acquired a solid fan-base thanks to their strong play and positive attitudes inside the Calgary bubble at Canada Olympic Park.
Quebec holds a 3-1 record, highlighted by a shocking 8-6 comeback victory over veteran Suzanne Birt of Prince Edward Island on Sunday and then an 8-7 victory over the previously undefeated Wild Card rink skipped by two-time Canadian champion Chelsea Carey on Monday. In that game, St-Georges faced three opposing stones with her last in the 10th, but made a good enough draw to allow a steal of one and secure the win.
Team St-Georges are now tied with Wild Card and PEI for first in Pool B.
"My girls are playing so well," St-Georges said ahead of her game on Monday. "We actually don't need a crowd because we're so pumped on the ice. We're always smiling and having fun. We're making team shots. It's so nice to be out there and make some shots with my friends, my team and I actually consider them a family. So, it's just amazing to be here representing Quebec with my family."
And that can be taken literally since St-Georges' younger sister, 19-year-old Cynthia, plays lead on the team with their dad, Michel St-Georges, sitting behind the scoreboard as their coach.
The group is rounded out by Hailey Armstrong at third and Emily Riley at second.
St-George's boyfriend, Felix Asselin, is a curler too and the pair will join forces in the bubble at the Canadian Mixed Double Curling Championships next month.
"We have a table in our living room with mini [curling] rocks and two houses. And we just practice. We're just curing addicts. It's such a big part of our lives and we love it. Without curling, I'd have so much free time," said St-Georges.
Despite playing in their first Canadian championship, and having all the excitement and emotion that comes along with that experience, St-Georges says her squad has a strong mindset.
"We're a pretty intense team. But I think we have a good intensity. It's not stressful to be out there. We're pretty calm," she said.
The Laval native has plenty of experience on the big stage, however, as she's skipped the province at three Canadian junior championships, making it all the way to the final in 2018 before falling to Nova Scotia's Kaitlyn Jones.
Thanks to some promising results, including a Quebec final appearance last year, Team St-Georges were tapped by the province's curling association to enter the Scotties bubble after playdowns were axed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
"We're just enjoying the moment and we just want to soak it all in," said St. Georges.
Like most teams inside the curling bubble, practice time has been limited at best this season due to the pandemic.
"Honestly we didn't make a single team shot before the Scotties. It was all by ourselves," she explained.
Quebec did allow curlers to hit the ice in pairs as the St-Georges sisters were able to practice together on a daily basis in the lead-up to nationals. Their dad even froze the family pool and made it into a mini curling rink while Armstrong was able to throw rocks on her uncle's backyard rink in Ottawa.
As for a full-team get together, the best Team St-Georges could do were Zoom meetings.
"It's not ideal, but it's still pretty nice. With a glass of wine and just chatting. We really talked about communication, mental prep, physical prep and nutrition," said St-Georges. "So we were more prepared than we could have thought. Maybe not technical, but off-ice, we really worked hard on our strategy, mental toughness and everything."
St-Georges and the rest of Team Quebec are staying busy inside their hotel rooms as well as all four are full-time students.
"Everyone thinks we're not busy, but we're actually really busy because we are still in school," said the journalism student at Université du Québec à Montréal. "We're all in school so we have a lot of homework to do and we're missing classes so obviously we have to catch up."
With their record, Quebec is in a good position to qualify for the championship pool for the first time since its inception at the 2018 Scotties.
"We just have to play our game. Make some shots, keep it simple and maybe put some pressure on them [other team]," she said.