Dayna Demers competes in Grand Slam event

by Phil Ambroziak

Even if she never has the chance to do it again, Dayna Demers is satisfied.

The Meadow Lake resident recently joined 2011 Canadian women’s curling champion Amber Holland’s team for the 2012 Masters Grand Slam of Curling event held Nov. 14-18 in Brantford, ON. Demers (nee Demmans), who has been an avid curler since childhood, replaced second Brooklyn Lemon while other teammates included third Jolene Campbell and lead Dailene Siverston.

“Amber and I know each other – we usually hang out at the same bonspiels every weekend,” Demers said. “She called me up in September and asked me if I wanted to play for her team that weekend because her regular second couldn’t make it. It was pretty amazing to be able to take part. Some of the best teams in the world were there – a lot of European teams – it was a lot of fun.”

The Masters Grand Slam of Curling is an event on both the men’s and women’s World Curling Tour. It is the fourth Grand Slam event on the women’s tour and the first on the men’s tour. An amalgamation of the men’s World Cup of Curling and the women’s Sun Life Classic, this was the first incarnation of the event to feature both men and women.

“It featured a really weird draw setup,” Demers said. “There were 18 teams in pools of six and, on the other side of the draw, triple knockout rules were in effect. Normally, there is only one set format, so a lot of people weren’t too happy with it. Different teams ended up on different sides, and many of the bigger teams didn’t make the playoffs as a result.”

Holland’s rink was on the triple knockout side of the draw, but did not qualify for the playoffs. They were defeated three straight, losing to Heather Strong’s team (Newfoundland/Labrador) 9-5, Jill Thurston’s foursome (Manitoba) 8-2 and Mary-Anne Arsenault’s rink (Nova Scotia) 6-5.

“We had a few good breaks, but it wasn’t meant to be,” Demers said.

Demers, who regularly competes in World Tour events during the curling season, said this was her first time to be part of a Grand Slam.

“I’ve been to this bonspiel the past three years, but they were not Grand Slam events at that time,” she noted. “This year included another venue and more prize money – it was a lot bigger overall. Teams couldn’t just choose to compete – they were invited based on their World Tour points.”

As a substitute member, Demers said she isn’t allowing herself to become too excited about the possibility of playing on Holland’s team in the future.

“Who knows if that will happen?” she said. “I’m not getting my hopes up, but you never know. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but we did have an awesome time.”

At age 26, Demers said it is her goal to one day qualify for the Scott Tournament of Hearts or possibly represent Team Canada at the Olympics. In the meantime, she is looking forward to the remainder of this year’s curling season.

“I’ve done five bonspiels this year with two more to go – one in Lloydminster and one in Minnesota,” she said. “From September on, I’m not really in Meadow Lake too much. I’m either at a bonspiel or driving to a practice.”

When she is home, Demers works as a dental hygienist at Meadow Lake Dental.

“Curling has always been my passion,” she said. “I just want to continue to curl, to get better and to work at it.”

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