Canada’s Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney, skip Rachel Homan and Lisa Weagle, left to right, celebrate their victory over Switzerland in preliminary round in women’s curling at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Gangneung, South Korea, on February 18, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Members of Team Homan decide to continue curling together next season

After taking some time off following a disappointing performance at the Pyeongchang Games, the members of Team Homan recently got together at a Toronto hotel to discuss their future plans.

They decided they will continue to curl together as a foursome.

“We had a really good meeting and we’re feeling really optimistic for the future,” said lead Lisa Weagle.

Skip Rachel Homan, third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and Weagle were hoping for big things in South Korea after capping a dominant 2017 calendar year by winning the Olympic Trials in Ottawa.

They had also won the Scotties Tournament of Hearts for a third time and ran the table en route to their first world title last year.

However, they never really got on track in their first appearance at the Winter Games and settled for a sixth-place finish.

“After the Olympics, we all took some time to recover,” Weagle told The Canadian Press from Ottawa. “A few of us went away and just did our own thing so that we could recharge and come back excited about curling.

“It was definitely a very emotional experience being at the Olympics and we obviously didn’t get the result that we wanted. But I think we’re still driven to keep curling and to accomplish more.”

Several elite curling teams have announced lineup changes for the upcoming quadrennial ahead of the 2022 Beijing Games. Teams skipped by Jennifer Jones, Kevin Koe, Chelsea Carey and John Epping — to name just a few — will have new-look rosters next season.

Team Homan stayed quiet as other squads made their announcements. Homan, Miskew, Courtney and Weagle did casually chat about the future before eventually finalizing plans at their meeting.

“Obviously another Olympic run would be the ultimate goal but there’s a lot of Slams and Scotties and worlds in the leadup to that time,” Weagle said. “I think we want to just keep pushing the boundaries and keep pushing ourselves and win as much as we can.”

The Ottawa team won its first national crown in 2013 with Alison Kreviazuk at second. A successful title defence came the next year before Kreviazuk left.

She was replaced by Courtney, arguably the most powerful sweeper in the women’s game. The team won the Canada Cup in 2015 to secure the first available berth in the Olympic Trials.

Homan and her crew were in strong form at Canadian Tire Centre last December. The 29-year-old skip guided the team to victory over Carey in the final to secure the Olympic spot.

“We’ve been together with this lineup for four years and it’s been an amazing four years,” Weagle said. “We’ve had some really incredible accomplishments: going to the Olympics, winning the worlds, winning the Scotties and Grand Slams.

“We’re all really great friends on and off the ice and we definitely want to keep curling together, keep pushing the boundaries of curling and women’s curling and see what else we can accomplish.”

Canada struggled in both team events at the Games. Koe entered the men’s competition as a medal favourite but also missed the podium.

It was the first time since curling returned to the Winter Games in 1998 that Canadian teams were not on the podium in both the men’s and women’s events. Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes did win gold in the inaugural Olympic mixed doubles competition.

The Homan team struggled with draw weight and inconsistent shooting at the Gangneung Curling Centre.

The foursome opened the Olympics with one-point losses to South Korea and Sweden. Denmark then surprised Canada 9-8, but Homan bounced back with three straight victories to get back in the playoff mix.

However, she dropped under the .500 mark again by losing to China and a loss to Britain sealed her fate. Canada was one of four teams to finish round-robin play at 4-5.

“Our result was certainly disappointing, I do think we underperformed a little bit,” Weagle said. “I really don’t think we were that far off. We had a lot of very close games. Lots of them could have gone one way or the other with one more shot.

“I think everyone’s expectations of us were high and ours were as well. We’re certainly disappointed but we’re going to keep working at it.”

Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg won gold with an 8-3 victory over South Korea’s EunJung Kim. Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa defeated Britain’s Eve Muirhead 5-3 for the bronze.

Homan returned for the penultimate Grand Slam of the season last week at the Players’ Championship in Toronto but was held winless. The team will close out the season next week at the Champions Cup in Calgary.

Homan and Miskew have been curling together since they were 11. Weagle joined the team in 2010.

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