Behind the Hawk: Danielle Inglis

On the heels of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Wilfrid Laurier women’s curling skip Danielle Inglis has been fielding several questions.

“I find that the interest [in curling] has really been building since the Olympics. Everyone likes it when you win a gold medal and I think the sport has definitely grown in popularity,” said Inglis.

The curious curling community has come to the right person.

The fourth-year sociology major has been a crucial part of the Golden Hawks for two consecutive Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championships, and this past weekend skipped her team to a third place finish in Canada.

Inglis’ roots grow deep in the sport; as she started throwing rocks and sweeping stones at the ripe age of seven.

“I started because of my parents. They were curlers as well and they brought us to the curling club and got us involved in a program right from when we were younger,” said the Kleinburg native.

Like any successful athlete, the foundation at home was pivotal to get her to where she is today.

“My parents have been really involved with [me and my brother]. They come out and support us through all the tournaments and help pay the entry fees. They’re my greatest supporters.”

Success has followed Inglis wherever she has gone throughout her career, and the air miles have significantly racked up. Not only has the skip played for Laurier, but she has represented Ontario, and even Canada, on the world stage in Japan. In February 2009 she claimed silver for Canada at the 24th Winter Universiade (the university equivalent of the Olympics) in China.

Inglis seems like a natural fit for the skip position, a crucial part of the team who often throws the rock, gets the publicity and becomes the poster-girl for the team.

“I like pressure. I really thrive on it,” stated Inglis. “I enjoy the leadership aspect of the position and I love public speaking and speaking to people in general.”

However, Inglis is quick to recognize that curling is still a team sport.

“The skip does get more notoriety, but you know how important each position is and how significant each member is to winning,” she said.

Inglis recognizes she has accomplished much in her time as a curler, but knows she hasn’t done everything she has set out to do just yet.

“I’m definitely going to be pursuing [the Olympics],” said Inglis. “There’s lots of curling beyond university out there.”

As is the selfless Canadian tradition, Inglis doesn’t hesitate to point out all the important people in her curling career who have helped her make it this far.

“I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great coaches over my experiences … and I’ve had such great teammates along the way. They’ve all had a different impact on me and have been able to help me reach my goals and I’m still friends with a lot of them today.”

Inglis says that her perseverance and positivity has helped her throughout her life, along with her fiery, competitive nature.

“I don’t like giving up,” she said. “I’ve dedicated a lot of my life to [curling] and you have to make sacrifices for it and once you win, those sacrifices make it worth it.”

Inglis cites Olympic gold-medalists Kevin Martin and Sandra Schmirler as inspirations, and is especially grateful to Laurier.

“I’m just really thankful for all the support Laurier has given our team,” said Inglis. “We were definitely the best supported team out there [last weekend at nationals] and that was amazing to see.”

Inglis hopes to join Laurier-graduated Olympic curler John Morris as a Golden Hawk-turned-Canadian Olympian, and with the way she has been playing, her goal may be reached sooner than she thinks.