New last name, new rink, has former Victoria junior star ready for run at the Scotties

Life has a way of creeping up on you.

A lot has changed since Dailene Sivertson of Victoria was one of Canada’s best junior women’s curlers. For starters, she is now Dailene Pewarchuk following her marriage last summer to husband Dustin Pewarchuk.

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The 2007 Canadian junior bronze medallist, 2010 Canadian junior silver medallist and 2011 world junior silver medallist also finished off her CPA studies in accounting as part of her catching-up-on-life sabbatical away from curling last year.

Skip Dailene Pewarchuk returned in September at 26 to continue her career on ice, with a new rink, but the same passion she always brought to the game.

A key signpost along the way is the B.C. women’s open event beginning Friday in Vernon. The top three will advance to the Sportsnet-televised B.C. Scotties championship taking place Jan. 17-22 at the Glen Harper Curling Centre in Duncan. The provincial champion will advance to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian championship Feb. 18-26 in St. Catharines, Ont., which is also the first step in the points process of selecting the Canadian women’s representative for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

There is a lot of mixing and matching now between clubs and communities in high-level curling. Pewarchuk’s new Victoria Curling Centre rink consists of third Patti Knezevic of Prince George, second Adina Tasaka of Vancouver and lead Rachelle Kallechy of Victoria.

“We are on the road so much anyways at this level in competitions, that it really doesn’t matter where your teammates are from,” said Pewarchuk, who played in the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts nationals in Red Deer as second on the silver-medallist Kelly Scott rink.

Elite rinks spend as much time on the road playing as they do getting together at a common club to practice.

“It’s the way the sport is moving. It’s more about finding the right mix that works together [rather than all having to be from the same city or club],” said Pewarchuk.

“It’s been a building and learning process. Our team dynamic is getting to where we are building consistency for the long term. This group is a good fit for every one of us and we are all working well together.”

The most important connection must be between skip and third. Pewarchuk and Knezevic knew each other from past tournaments. Knezevic was runner-up in B.C. to Kelley Law in 2007 and Kelly Scott in 2013 before winning the B.C. title in 2015 and advancing to the Scotties nationals. When Pewarchuk and Knezevic discussed forming this new rink, they hit it off immediately, rendering the distance between their respective homes on the Island and Prince George largely irrelevant.

“It all came together seamlessly, from personality mix to talent mix, for us,” said Pewarchuk.

Meanwhile, the Van Osch sisters from Nanaimo, who have had success at the junior and senior national levels, are set to make their statements for 2016-17 beginning Friday in the open qualifier in Vernon. The Nanaimo/Richmond rink of Kesa Van Osch, Kalia Van Osch, Shawna Jensen and Amy Gibson will certainly bear watching on the road to the B.C. Scotties championships in Duncan.

Kesa Van Osch’s rink was 2012 Canadian junior bronze medallist before winning the 2014 B.C. women’s championship and placing fifth nationally at the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

“It’s been a great and fun rivalry and we have battled each other for years,” said Pewarchuk, of the fellow-Islander Van Osch sisters.

“They are on a roll and are having a great season.”

Also taking part in Vernon this weekend is the Lindsay Hudyma rink from Vancouver/Victoria which includes Holly Donaldson, Stephanie Jackson-Baier and Carly Sandwith; and Sarah Wark from Victoria, who now heads a Vancouver rink.

The others in Vernon will be the Gushulak rink from Royal City/Vancouver, Russert rink from Kamloops, Shimizu rink from Richmond, Slattery rink from Vernon, Mallett rink from Golden Ears and Gyles rink from Cloverdale.

There is also a second-chance open qualifier, which takes place later this month in Abbotsford.

IN THE HACK: Island curlers had success at last weekend’s Coastal Playdowns at the Comox Valley Curlinig Club. Kyle Habkirk’s Victoria Curling Centre rink punched its ticket to the B.C. junior championship by winning the B side in Comox. Habkirk’s rink includes Victoria products third Duncan Silversides, second Ryan Cassidy and lead Alex Hovarth. On the women’s side, Victoria’s Mariah Coulombe skipped her rink of Taylor Reese-Hansen (Kitimat), Jordan Koster (Courtenay) and Kirsten Zucchet (Chilliwack) to one of three provincial berths. The B.C. championships take place Dec. 27 to Jan. 1 at Royal City Curling Club in New Westminster.

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