By Ian Croft
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
With the Alberta Scotties coming to a close on January 22, a dark horse emerged victorious with team Skrlik. Two prominent members of the team, Kayla Skrlik and Ashton Skrlik, have local roots tying them back to Taber as they are granddaughters of two local residents, Eve and Mas Nishima. After this victory, the Nishimas shared their excitement for their granddaughters winning the bonspiel, and moving on to national level competition.
“Well, they won eight straight (games) and from what I understand they didn’t have any losses,” said Mas. “They came out number one. That was great for them. I think they were kind of the dark horse that came through. I was surprised like anyone else We sure didn’t expect them to come through the way that they did, but that was a big surprise, and that was a good surprise too.”
Following this initial exuberance, Mas responded if he expected his granddaughters to win the provincial Scotties.
“No, we didn’t expect them to do as well — they’ve won a few bonspiels over the years they’ve curled, and they’ve curled since they were young kids because their dad got them involved in curling,” said Mas. “They curled since they were just little kids, and they like the sport so they kept going. They didn’t win anything big until they moved to Calgary and started curling with the big leagues, where they did very well.”
Eve then shared her viewpoint on the overall victory.
“Well, I think they did very, very well. They’ve practiced a lot, and they put a lot of effort into it,” said Eve. “This was something they’ve really worked for, and it’s always a happy surprise. You hope that they will do well, and they did exceptionally well in that bonspiel. It doesn’t always happen but we always look forward to their games, and some are good and some are not so good. This time it was good and I hope that they can perform well when they go to the Canadian (bonspiel). They don’t have the experience of a lot of the good teams in there so I just think it is a happy surprise they are there, and we wish they curl as well as they did when they were in Alberta.”
Following this, Mas took a moment to comment about all of the great coaching that his granddaughters received over the years.
“Over the years they’ve always had good coaches that help them, and I think winning this last bonspiel had a lot to do with good coaches,” said Mas. “I think it was a big plus for that team because they had good coaches over the years and I curled 60 years I could never be a coach that the girls had. I can’t sacrifice the time and the money that these people donated to the girls. It wasn’t just themselves, but I think it was the coaching that helped them a lot.”
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