Rachel Homan is all business, even off the ice.
The 25-year-old skip and her rink from Canada's capital will begin their mission for a third consecutive Scotties title on Valentine's Day in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Listening to Homan over the phone, you'd never guess she was on the verge of making curling history.
"You don't really think about it when you're playing. It would obviously be a great accomplishment and something that anybody would love to do," the tranquil Homan told TSN.ca this week. "The goal is always to win the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Everybody knows how tough the nationals are to win. There are just so many good teams. It's tough to make it out of your province, let alone win it and to be able to win something like that three times would be amazing and something that we're definitely striving for."
Never getting too excited, or too disappointed for that matter, is probably one of the main reasons for the young team's success.
"I think there's a lot that goes into having the success that we've had. There are so many factors that go into it, the amazing coaching that we've had and definitely the dedication that my team brings to the game," explained the native of Ottawa. "There's just so much that goes on behind the scenes that nobody really knows about, that you just have to do to continue to have success on Tour and as well as nationals."
The only rinks who've won three straight Canadian championships are Vera Pezer of Saskatchewan (1971-73) and Jennifer Jones of Manitoba (2008-2010) when both skips were in their 30's. Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones won four in a row from 2001-2004 when she was in her 40's.
Homan is already the youngest skip to win back-to-back Scotties and, with her rink having an average age of just 26, a curling dynasty could be in the works. The full-time curler, who graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2011 after taking human kinetics, knows they can't afford to stop improving, though.
"We never play 100 per cent out there and that's obviously the goal for every game, but it never happens and so we always look at our games and our wins and losses to look at where we can improve," she said.
Despite failing to win an event on the World Curling Tour this year, losing in four finals including the Canada Cup to Val Sweeting and the Autumn Gold Curling Classic to Jones, the foursome sits third on the money list with $65,608 in prize money and were victorious at the TSN Skins Game and Continental Cup as part of Team Canada.
A championship in 2015 will definitely have a different feel to it as Homan, third Emma Miskew and lead Lisa Weagle have a new teammate and coach this season. Homan's longtime second of 11 years, Alison Kreviazuk, moved to Sweden over the summer to live with her boyfriend. The group went out and acquired the services of 25-year-old Joanne Courtney, formerly of Sweeting's Alberta squad, to fill the void in the two-hole.
Courtney, who's considered as one of the top sweepers in the game, was Homan's first choice.
"We were looking for a second and we were looking for someone who was dedicated and who brings a lot to the game. She takes everything really seriously in her roles and responsibilities on the team," explained Homan. "We thought it would be a great fit."
Team Homan also brought in Richard Hart, the vice for Glenn Howard, as a coach for the Scotties.
Team Sweeting lost to Homan in the finals of the 2014 Scotties in Montreal and will be in Moose Jaw after going perfect at provincials. One could see there being ruffled feathers after a player leaves for a rival team, but Homan says the Edmonton rink hasn't missed a beat all season.
"I really respect them. They're great competitors and I think just like any team, losing a teammate it's never enjoyable," said Homan. "I mean you enjoy the people you play with and you want to have success together, but I think their change has also brought them a lot of success and they've had a really great year."
You can catch all the action live throughout the week on TSN and you can follow the latest news on TSN.ca. Draw 1 starts Valentine's Day at 3pm et/Noon pt on TSN.