Photo by Anil Mungal/Sportsnet
Briane Meilleur is a Canadian curler from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is a two-time Manitoba Junior Women’s Provincial Champion and 2011 Canadian Junior Women’s bronze medallist. She currently skips her own team with Rhonda Varnes, Janelle Vachon, and Sarah Neufeld. She is seeded fourth going into the 2017 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts starting January 25.
KK: What is one of your favourite shots you have been part of?
BM: That’s a hard one considering I have the worst memory. I would have to say a draw to the 8-foot to win my first junior provincial final in 2010 when I played with Breanne Meakin. It’s not the most extravagant shot, and I did the least work since I was standing in the house, but the meaning behind it makes it very memorable for me.
KK: How did you get into curling?
BM: From what my parents tell me, I wasn’t a fan of skating so hockey was out. They didn’t know what to put me in for a while. My mom has always curled and so when I was 11 years old they tried putting me in the junior program at the Heather Curling Club. I guess you could say I didn’t hate it.
KK: What do you do off the ice to stay in shape?
BM: I try to work out most days of the week at a gym close to my house. I follow a program that I had made specifically for curling so it works for me. Eating well isn’t my strong suit, so working out a little harder is what it has to be. I also know that’s not how it works but maybe I’ll break my bad habits one day.
KK: Your team has had a great season so far. What has your team done to become successful?
BM: Honestly it came down to lots and lots of practice. No one on our team had played together before so the time together, getting to know one another, and how we all play turned out to be key. We have the same drive and goals so that always makes it easier to build success.
KK: How do you feel being seeded fourth in the 2017 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts?
BM: It’s a little surreal. I’m proud of our team and how we played this year. It is a good feeling to be seeded up there as one of the top teams by your peers, but there are so many good teams in the mix this year. It should be a very interesting event.
KK: You’ve had a lot of junior success. How does that help you going into Grand Slam events and the provincials?
BM: I’m very grateful for the junior success I have had in the past. I feel it can make a huge difference when you get exposed to that kind of pressure and atmosphere at a young age. It definitely takes down the shock factor a bit when playing at a Slam or provincial event. I still get nervous, but I have always liked a little bit of nerves.
KK: You haven’t skipped since juniors. How do you feel skipping in the provincials this week?
BM: It’s a weird feeling. I’m both really excited and yet a little nervous at the same time. I’m confident in myself and our team, but it will be a first for me. I feel different than I have going into women’s provincials in previous years because it’s a new role I’m taking on. But I feel good and I can’t wait to get on the ice.
KK: What do you enjoy most about curling?
BM: That’s a good question. I’ve never really thought about that in depth. I do love competition and being challenged, but I think what I appreciate the most would be the friends I’ve made and the respect there is among competitors. The curling world is like a big family, and it’s so different from any other sport I’ve played.
KK: If you weren’t a curler, what do you think you’d be doing?
BM: Well I grew up playing softball and played competitively for years. I always had the dream of playing college softball in the U.S. so that was my plan for a long time. I think I decided to go for curling instead when I was around 16 or 17 years old. I still love baseball and that was my life for a long time, but I believe I made the right choice switching gears. I do wonder what it would of been like sometimes though.
KK: Name your top 5 snacks you eat between games.
BM: This is going to get me in big trouble, but I’ll be honest. Double Stuff Oreos, Doritos, Hickory Sticks, Fruit Source bars, and Chocolate Boost. I’m working on it, okay?
Follow Team Meilleur next week at the 2017 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts at http://www.curlmanitoba.org/eventdetails.php?txtEventID=4414#.WIZT4zKZMdU