A new curling season is upon us and the Team Bonot rink is more than ready to roll.
Comprised of Stratton-born siblings Trevor Bonot (skip) and Jackie McCormick (third), along with fellow Stratton native Angela Lee-Wiwcharyk (lead) and Mike McCarville of Thunder Bay (second), the squad is representing Northern Ontario at the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship in Winnipeg that begins this Sunday (Nov. 4) and runs through Nov. 10.
Team Bonot went 4-0 at the Brokerlink mixed provincials in Nipigon back in April to qualify for the national showdown.
“It is a tremendous honour to represent Northern Ontario on the national stage,” Bonot enthused.
"This is my third time getting to wear the moose and I am thrilled.
“It took me a long time to win my first provincial so when you are fortunate enough to win again, you definitely enjoy the ride,” he remarked.
“Three of us learned to curl in Stratton on a three-sheet rink, so it's kind of surreal being able to compete together wearing the green-and-gold.”
Bonot and McCormick, with Megan and Kory Carr of Thunder Bay as the front end, previously won the nationals back in 2016 in Yarmouth, N.S. before going on to represent Canada at the worlds in Champéry, Switzerland last fall—where they nabbed silver.
The siblings will be aiming to draw on that experience to help their new-look team this time around and book a return trip to the worlds.
“Having won the Canadians before, [it] makes you want it again, for sure, and last time we had the luxury of flying under the radar all week,” Bonot recalled.
"Even in the final, we weren't favoured to win.
“So this time going in, people know of us and people will want to knock us down a peg,” he predicted.
“But I kind of like that," Bonot added. ”We had that pressure at provincials, too, and it worked out great.
“We will take the same game-by-game approach at nationals.”
Since the stages of the event span two different curling seasons, Bonot conceded that preparing for it can be a challenge. But it's also something he and his sister are used to.
“We got together once in the summer as a team and have had two practice weekends as a full team this fall,” Bonot said.
“Of course it is difficult, with not all of us living in the same place, but Jackie commits to it and travels to Thunder Bay,” he noted.
“Our mindset going into Winnipeg is the same thing we try to take to all our events: stay as relaxed as possible and go one game at a time,” Bonot explained.
“I think the experience of winning taught us to remember it's a long week," he added. ”We have to take it one game at a time and try and work our way into the playoffs.
“The playoffs are sudden death, which we also experienced at worlds, so being ready for that will help if we can make it to the end of the week,” he reasoned.