No sibling rivalry when Kreviazuk sisters clash on curling ice

Cheryl Kreviazuk (left) and older sister Lynn Kreviazuk (right) play for two of the top curling teams in Ontario. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP/Anil Mungal)

ELMIRA, Ont. — The younger sister was the victor in the latest “Clash of the Krevs.”

Cheryl Kreviazuk, who throws second for Team Hollie Duncan, upended older sibling Lynn, tossing second stones with Team Jacqueline Harrison, during round-robin action Wednesday at the Ontario Scotties provincial curling championships.

This game went to 11 with Team Duncan needing an extra end to escape with the 6-5 win.

The Ottawa sisters have played against (and sometimes with) each other throughout their curling careers from bantam to juniors and now at the elite level, however, the fact they both throw second and compete head-to-head doesn’t faze them.

“To be honest, I don’t find it that different,” the 26-year-old Cheryl said. “It’s a little bit more comforting actually having her on the ice at the same time. We can send jokes in-between shots, so it’s fun.”

It’s to the point now where Lynn, 27, is able to remain focused on the task at hand.

“I think that we’ve played each other enough to know that we just don’t treat each other like family on the ice, really,” Lynn said with a laugh. “She’s just a competitor like everybody else out there. I know we crack jokes at the fifth-end break together but it’s all business when we’re out there.”

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Flashback: Cheryl Kreviazuk made her Grand Slam of Curling debut with Team Crocker at the 2012 Masters. Eldest sister Alison won the event with Team Homan. Photo: Anil Mungal.

It wasn’t always the case back in the day such as the 2011 Ontario junior final where Lynn’s team beat Cheryl’s team to earn the right to represent the province at the Canadian junior curling championships.

“That was a tough one but I think we just got out-played and it happens. In curling, you win some and you lose some,” Cheryl said. “That one hurt for a bit but we’re sisters. We took a couple of days and then I called her back. We get along really well. She calls me almost every single night. We’re really close friends so it’s pretty fun to play against her.”

It’s their parents, Doug and Janice, that has Lynn more worried.

“I think we were really good on the ice but it was harder for the parents and I think that’s part of the reason why there’s no Mama and Papa Krev in the stands today,” Lynn said. “They’re driving down today and they’ll be here this evening. It’s hard for them to watch and cheer for us but we’re getting better at playing each other. We’re more used to it now.”

She added: “He cheers for good shots but my mom’s the nervous wreck.”

Being only a year apart meant they also had the opportunity to play together and actually beat eldest sister Alison when she was playing with Rachel Homan in a junior playdown.

“It was a really cool experience. We were the underdogs, I think we were still bantam age,” said Lynn, who also played with Alison on Team Homan at times. “Obviously, playing with my sister was a ton of fun. It’d be nice to reconnect sometime in the future but for now, we’re playing against each other in the top level. It’s tough but we go off the ice and we’re just the closest friends.”

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10-year challenge: Rachel Homan, Emma Miskew, Alison Kreviazuk and Lynn Kreviazuk made their Grand Slam of Curling debut at the 2009 Players’ Championship. Photo: Anil Mungal

The sisters had opposite reactions following that particular game, however.

“I thought it was pretty cool beating the older sister. At that time, I was kind of cocky I guess,” Cheryl said with a smile. “Lynn was a bit emotional. You want to win, of course, you want your team to do well but at the same time it’s sometimes a little bittersweet.”

The high moment for the family came last season during the 2017 Canadian Olympic curling trials. Cheryl served as the alternate for Team Homan, who she also won Canadian and world championships with earlier that year, while Lynn was playing with Team Allison Flaxey. Although Alison had moved to Sweden in 2014 to be closer to her boyfriend, Team Flaxey was able to add her as their fifth player. The fact the Roar of the Rings was held in their hometown at Canadian Tire Centre with all of their family and friends in attendance was just the icing on the cake.

“That was awesome and playing in front of a hometown crowd was a really cool experience,” Lynn said. “Having Alison with us was just a bonus. So having her fly overseas to come be with us and especially since we had a coach (Caleb Flaxey) that was in and out of the hospital that week, she was really filling in at the coach position as well. She was a really good mentor for us that week.”

“That was phenomenal,” Cheryl added. “I’m so thankful to Team Homan for bringing me along and I thought it was really sweet that Team Flaxey were able to bring Ali along. That was really special.”

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Team Flaxey, with Lynn playing second, added eldest Kreviazuk sister Alison as their alternate for the 2017 Roar of the Rings while Cheryl served as the fifth player for Team Homan, who won the event. Photo: Anil Mungal

The sisters are both thankful they were able to get their round-robin game here out of the way as they’re among each other’s biggest fans with Cheryl rooting for Lynn in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling and Lynn supporting Cheryl when she won last year’s Ontario title and went to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

“I cheer them on at every single Slam that they go to. It’s fun to follow them along,” Cheryl said. “This was actually I think the first time we’ve played them this season so it’s good that we both got to the provincials. Had this been a provincial qualifying event … we might not have had the same personality at the very end. At the same time, this was still halfway through the week, they’re a strong team and I’m hoping they can bounce back and get a couple wins too.”

“Once we were out of the playoff contention last year we were cheering for Team Duncan all the way and then, of course, having a good performance at the Scotties,” Lynn added. “Now it’s nice that we’re done playing (each other) so I can now cheer for her.”

Team Harrison had an opportunity to win Wednesday’s game in the eighth trailing by a point and with a shot to draw for the decisive deuce, however, their rock came up just an inch short following a measurement. That pushed it into OT but Duncan held the hammer and didn’t need to throw her last as Harrison’s final stone was unable to outcount the sitting shot rock.

“They’re not an easy team to beat and obviously it’s kind of bittersweet beating my sister but I thought my team really pulled it together,” Cheryl said. “We really struggled. The ice was a bit faster today and we just struggled with it. Thankfully, we were able to pull it out so I’m very happy.”

Duncan kept their unblemished record intact climbing to a 3-0 record while Harrison slipped to 1-2. Both teams still have four more round-robin games to go and there’s always a chance they could meet again in Saturday’s playoffs.

“Hopefully we can have a rematch,” Lynn said. “That was a really close game that could have gone either way.”

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