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Scotties veteran Galusha says it’s going to be hard to quit after recent string of success

Kerry Galusha Northwest Territories Kerry Galusha - The Canadian Press

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - Kerry Galusha might be having too much fun to stop curling just yet. 

Galusha picked up a close 6-4 win over New Brunswick’s Team Andrea Kelly Saturday afternoon at Sandman Centre in what was the 45-year-old’s 150th career game at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. 

“That was a big win for us. We lost to Andrea last year in our first playoff game, so we really wanted to come out and play well,” Galusha told the media.  

The native of Yellowknife, who is ranked eighth all-time in Scotties games played, says last year’s run to the playoffs in Thunder Bay has inspired her team of fourth Jo-Ann Rizzo, third Margot Flemming and second Sarah Koltun to reach even higher levels of success. 

At the 2022 Tournament of Hearts, Team Galusha became the first team representing solely Northwest Territories to make the playoffs in the history of the national tournament. The only time the territory qualified for the playoffs previously was in 1983 when Shelly Bildfell led the joint Northwest Territories/Yukon team to an 8-2 record in the round robin before losing to Cathy Shaw and Team Alberta in the semifinals.

It won’t be easy to get back this year as Team Galusha is in a stacked Pool B, including Ontario’s Team Rachel Homan, Northern Ontario’s Team Krista McCarville and Manitoba’s Team Jennifer Jones. 

“Last year was a dream year. It was amazing. We want to build. I feel like this year, our pool is tougher. The whole field is tougher,” said Galusha. “It’s crazy. We’re excited to play and see what we can do. We know we’re underdogs still, but if we come out and make the right shots at the right time and stick together as a team, you never know what could happen.”

Kamloops marks Galusha’s 16th official appearance at the Tournament of Hearts, putting her in sole possession of third all-time behind Colleen Jones (21) and Jennifer Jones (17). Unofficially, Galusha has made 20 trips to nationals, including two appearances as an alternate in 1998 and 2002 and two appearances in the now defunct pre-qualifier tournament in 2015 and 2016. 

“That’s a lot games, but I’m also old,” Galusha said with a laugh after winning her 48th career game at the Scotties. 

Galusha’s first official appearance came in 2001 in Sudbury, Ont., and she’s represented the territory at the last seven Canadian championships. 

With so many games under her belt and a string of nagging injuries over recent years, it seems like every Scotties could be the last of Galusha’s career. 

Galusha, who works for the Government of Northwest Territories, thought she had a pretty good idea of what her curling future looked like going into this season, but that has now changed.  

“At the beginning of the year in September, I said it was [last year of curling],” explained Galusha. “Now I’m walking it back a bit. I don’t have an answer for you yet, but I’ll let you know.” 

You see, it’s not easy to hang them up when you’re having the most success in your two decade-plus career.  

“It’s hard to quit when I have a good strong team around me,” remarked the skip, who tosses lead stones. “We’re having fun, we’re winning games, it’s just really hard to quit when we’re actually able to compete as team from the North. We’re hanging in there.” 

And representing the North means far more to Galusha than just curling. 

Galusha is a member of the Gwichʼin Nation and has been more vocal about her Indigenous roots in recent years.

This week, Galusha’s rink are wearing hoodies designed to honour Indigenous people and the North. 

The black hoodies have a red hand to represent missing and murdered Indigenous women as well as a polar bear and a sun to represent living in the North. There’s also a phrase in the Gwichʼin language which translates to “One Land, Many Voices.” 

Galusha noted that it was especially important to represent the North and Indigenous people at this year’s Scotties in Kamloops since the B.C. city was one of the first places a lot of Canadians became aware of what happened at residential schools following the discovery of a burial site in May of 2021. 

“We just wanted to represent the North, especially with it [Scotties] being in Kamloops,” she said. “Kamloops is kind of the city where Canadians took notice of what happened with the residential schools. We just wanted to do something special coming to curl here.”