Backgrounder: Donna Butler answers questions at the Sobeys Slam

Going into the Sobeys Slam, Cornwall’s Donna Butler sat down to answers some questions asked by event chair Jim Nix.

1.   So Donna, unlike many of the teams here, you had to earn your way into the Slam. What was that like and did you find yourself doing a bunch of “scoreboard watching”?

” We spent a little more time watching the other game and the results of other pool that we would normally not pay a lot of attention to other pools until time for crossovers. “

2.   Although most everyone in PEI and the Atlantic region is familiar with Donna Butler, many of our visitors may not be quite so familiar with your team. Tell us a little about how long the team has been together and how it came to be?

” Marie (3rd) and I have played together since 2001 except for one year while I was off having a baby. Carolyn (Lead) played with us for five of those years. Melissa joined Marie and me in 2006 and then in 2007 Carolyn can back to join us again. Last year we were very pleased with our results and really felt that we need to get a coach to join us. “

3.     I have heard that Kathie Gallant is coaching you. Obviously, she is well known in the curling community and has a great deal of experience at many levels. What has it meant to you team to have someone like her coaching you?

” Lucky for us Kathie and Peter decided it was time for Peter to coach their son Brett Gallant, and we asked Kathie to join us. She is really helping us and pushing us to the next level. The coach really takes a lot of pressure off me preparing for practice times. The coach always gets away with saying more to the team then players can say to each other. “

4.    There are not a lot of events in Atlantic Canada for teams, especially women to play in and even less where you can actually make enough to pay for the weekend away. What does the Team Butler schedule look like for 2008-09?

” We have played in Moncton, Charlottetown and now the Sobeys Slam. Had we not made the pool we would have played in the Summerside Men’s spiel. We would prefer Ladies spiels but if that does not work we will play in the men’s. We will be playing in only one more spiel before our Scotties play downs. We also curl two nights per week in the Charlottetown Super League and our home club competitive league. “

5.    You played in the Rodd Curling Classic last weekend where you ultimately qualified for the Sobeys Slam. With only four qualifiers, it was tough and although you did miss qualifying, you had a not too shabby 3-2 record that included wins over a couple of reigning provincial champs Suzanne Birt from PEI and Sylvie Robichaud of NB, along with knocking off fellow Slam qualifier Nancy McConnery. That has to leave you feeling pretty good about how your team is playing heading into the Sobeys and also about how the year is going?

” I struggled a little in a few of the games where we had some chances. I know the whole team learned a few things and we now have two week to practice and prepare for the Sobeys. “

6.    Most of the teams that will be attending the Sobeys will be flying in. Your choices are the ferry or the bridge. What will it be?

” We are going to pre book to catch the ferry. And we are hoping that it is not windy. “

7.   You are aware of the field that will be attending the Sobeys. Have you had the opportunity to play against this level of teams before and if not, how do you think your team will respond? Further to that, I know many of our local teams have not played in an arena. It is definitely different but I think quite exciting as well. Have your girls had the chance to play in an arena before and do you expect much difference from playing in a curling club?

” I have an opportunity to through a few rocks as a fifth player at the Scott but this will be new for the remainder of the team. We are really looking forward to the fast ice that always makes for more interesting games and great shots. I really think we are all going to really enjoy the experience. “

8.   Curling has changed a lot over the last number of years. What do you think has had the biggest impact on the game since you have been playing?

” Well I have been playing since I was in grade 7 at a time where you pushed as hard as you could just to make the other end. The fast Ice and free guard zone makes our game so great with such exciting shots. “

9.   As a World Curling Tour event and part of the Grand Slam series, the Sobeys Slam will be playing 8 ends. Are most of the spiels in the region going to 8 ends or have they remained at 10 and what are your thoughts and preferences?

” All our events so far this year have been 8 ends and to me this is great. I really think it is the perfect length I think it shortens the start and middle of the game. Making the game get going a litter quicker. “

10.   Your first game is against Shannon Kleibrink, the number 1 ranked team in the country right now – are you looking forward to playing Shannon?

” Yes, this is great. It puts the pressure on for game one and personally, I am a little nervous about it but once the game starts, I will settle in and just play. “

11.   Any final comments?

” Just that as a team, we are so pleased that the host committee has allowed for the opportunity to have two spots filled with Atlantic Canadian teams through a qualifying process. We would also like to thank all of the volunteers that have made this event happen for the Atlantic Canada region. “

Comments are closed.