It’s not every day that you meet one of your heroes, but that’s exactly what happened for 17-year-old Cassidy MacDougall of Fort St. James at the 2022 World Women’s Curling Championships. in Prince George — where she had a surprise encounter with Canadian team captain Kerri Einarson.
MacDougall said the event was “phenomenal” and she became emotional when Kerri Einarson joined in for a group photo and presented her with a jersey.
“I was really excited and nervous. I ended up crying. Then she reached for the jersey and she just gave it to me. I tried to give it back, but she gave it back to me” , said MacDougall.
MacDougall began curling at age 12, but the following year they failed to gather enough children to form a junior curling team in Fort St. James. Since then, she has followed other sports like basketball, volleyball, and soccer.
She said Einarson inspired her because she came from a small community [Gimli, Manitoba] as well as.
“Knowing that you can come from a small community and still come this far. If you really have the passion to do it, it’s amazing,” MacDougall said. “Just to know that you are in the same room as the greatest curlers in the world. It’s pretty amazing and being there and watching them play is something quite in itself.
The family had previously purchased tickets for the 2020 championships which were canceled due to COVID-19.
After having the rug pulled out from under her in 2020, Einarson said she was grateful to be back in competition.
“It’s really special to have this opportunity again,” Einarson said.
Carrie’s mother, Melissa Howell, and a family friend, Toby Bruvold, were with her at the game and it was Toby who arranged the meeting.
“The look on Cassidy’s face when Karri waved her down was more gratifying than I could have ever asked for. That moment was very special,” Bruvold said.
Howell said she is proud of her daughter for all she has achieved and for continuing to pursue her dreams. “I’m proud through and through.”
Einarson won bronze after an extra set win over Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg. Howell said while the family won’t be able to follow the team to Sweden next year, they hope to attend the Scotties in Kamloops.
With files from Cassidy Dankochik/Quesnel Cariboo Observer