Storied Women’s Curling program defeats Waterloo to win their 10th provincial championship
The Golden Hawks Women’s Curling team is back on top of Ontario after heading into Kitchener this past weekend and defeating the Waterloo Warriors in a tightly contested final to win the 2022 OUA Championship. Laurier put forth an impressive performance at the Westmount Golf and Country club, having lost just once over seven games of competition, and capping off their near-perfect weekend with the program’s 10th OUA championship.
Led by Coach John Gabel and skip Isabelle Ladouceur, the Golden Hawks survived a thrilling gold-medal match against the cross-city rival Warriors – winning 5-4 with a single in the extra end. Lead, Emma McKenzie and second, Kelly Middaugh were both pivotal parts of the team’s title, being named first-team and second-team OUA all-stars respectively after the tournament.
In addition to being honoured as a first-team all-star, McKenzie was named both Laurier and OUA athlete of the week. The 2020 team MVP and Academic All-Canadian shined throughout the competition displaying her all-around skillset throughout the seven matches. The third-year, Elora, Ontario native showcased her sweeping and came through in the clutch, playing her best two games in the semi-final and final – shooting 84% in both contests.
The Golden Hawks began the three-day championship in dominant fashion on Friday, easily defeating Ontario Tech, Carleton and Algoma – outscoring their opponents 24-5. Laurier suffered their only loss of the tournament in their next contest on Saturday against Trent, finishing the round-robin with a 3-1 record and the fourth seed heading into the playoff rounds.
The Golden Hawks took care of the Ryerson Rams with a comfortable 8-2 victory in the quarter-final to set up a semi-final rematch with the Ravens on championship Sunday. McKenzie curled 84% against the Ravens, winning 4-1 as Laurier advanced to the final on Sunday afternoon where they squared off in the “Battle of Waterloo” – an exciting back-and-forth contest.
McKenzie and her team began the title game strong and led 4-2 heading into the seventh end before the Warriors scored a single in consecutive ends – including a steal of one in the eighth end – to tie the game at four and force a decisive extra end.
After missing the knockout in the eighth end, Ladouceur made no mistake with the hammer in the final frame as the skip curled the final rock to the button for a single, to give the Golden Hawks a 5-4 victory and a first-place finish – winning the first OUA championship in the 2022 calendar year.
After a third-place finish last season in 2020, the storied women’s curling team returned to their elite status and added to their impressive trophy case, having now won nine provincial championships in the past 14 seasons of competition.
While the Ontario title would normally qualify the Hawks for the national championship, USPORTS and Curling Canada made the difficult decision to cancel the Canadian championships this year. In addition to their ten total provincial championships, the women’s curling team have won four national titles.
Coach, John Gabel who led the women’s team to a bronze in 2020, won OUA coach of the year at this year’s championship after leading his talented team to a 6-1 record over three days.
With their tenth championship, the Golden Hawk curling programs, both men and women, continue to be seen as one of the most successful and consistent across all Laurier sports. The men’s OUA championship will commence in Guelph, in just over two weeks’ time, as Coach Matt Wilkinson and his squad will hope to win a second consecutive provincial championship and their 12th overall.