Canadians coaching curling teams from other countries is a common sight at tournaments, but Clancy Grandy recruited a Swedish heavyweight for the national women’s championships.
Six-time world and reigning Olympic men’s champion skip Niklas Edin is coaching the host B.C. team at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Kamloops.
“He’s the best at what he does in the game, in my opinion,” Grandy said Friday before opening the Hearts with a 10-6 win over Prince Edward Island.
“We were looking for some tactical help. Someone who could come out and provide that quick input.
“We also really think his personality meshes well with our team. He’s got that really calm demeanour and that’s something we thought would work really well with our group.”
Edin, 37, is pacing himself following knee surgery in November. He tore the meniscus in his knee in October.
While he returned to competition in January’s Canadian Open in Camrose, Alta., and reached the final, the injury afforded him the time to take on a coaching assignment.
“They just asked me and it was good timing for me to coach a little bit after my injury,” the Swede said.
“We’ve got our own (men’s) worlds in April, so it was good timing and felt like a good opportunity and a fun challenge.”
Grandy met Edin playing in Grand Slams and also knew him from international tournaments in which she coached the Dutch men.
She says she simply asked Edin if he was interested in coaching in this year’s Canadian women’s championship.
“I was very surprised, but as soon as I kind of heard Scotties, and that’s a fun group of people, I was like ‘yeah, it’s a no-brainer. I gotta go,’” Edin said.
“I don’t stress too often, so it’s a very good match. I feel like this team is very calm and collected and so am I.”
If Grandy wins the Hearts and the right to represent Canada at next month’s women’s world championship in Sandviken, Sweden, would Edin also wear the Maple Leaf there?
“That is a new decision that has to be made,” Edin said. “I’m not sure actually I would be allowed to coach, so we kind of basically said we would try and win this.
“If it happens, we deal with it then.”
Kerri Einarson opened defence of her Canadian title with an 11-8 win over Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges on Friday.
Einarson scored four points in the eighth end to take a commanding lead. Quebec shook hands after nine ends.
Einarson’s team is chasing a fourth straight national title.
Only the Colleen Jones foursome from 2001 to 2004 has won four consecutive women’s championships.
In other results in Friday evening’s opening draw, Nova Scotia’s Christina Black defeated Saskatchewan’s Robyn Silvernagle 12-7 and Kaitlyn Lawes’ wild-card team downed Alberta’s Kayla Skrlik 8-5.
Grandy, 32, moved from Ontario to B.C. in 2022 to join Kayla MacMillan, who skipped a team last season, and Lindsay Dubue and Sarah Loken.
“That’s exactly why I came out here, was specifically to play with this group of athletes and I’m really happy with my decision,” Grandy said.
Her Vancouver Curling Club lineup edged Corryn Brown’s Kamloops team 10-9 in an extra end in the B.C. women’s final.
Grandy was an alternate in the 2021 COVID-19 curling bubble in Calgary, but the four women are otherwise Hearts rookies.
Katie Witt is the team’s regular coach. She specializes in sports psychology and team dynamics.
“We did a lot of work off the ice in how we were going to trust each other and talk to each other and I think that’s what really has paid off at the start of this year,” Grandy said.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press