It’s not every day that you get to meet one of your heroes but that’s exactly what happened for 17-year-old Cassidy MacDougall of Fort St. James at the 2022 World Women’s Curling Championships in Prince George — where she had a surprise encounter with Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson.
MacDougall said the event was “phenomenal” and she got emotional when Kerri Einarson joined in for a group photo and gave her a jersey.
“I was really excited and nervous. I ended up crying. Then she reached down for the jersey and she just gave it to me. I did try to give it back but she gave it back to me,” MacDougall said.
MacDougall started curling when she was 12 but the next year they couldn’t get enough kids together for a junior curling team in Fort St. James. Since then she’s kept up with other sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer.
She said Einarson inspires her because she’s from a small community [Gimli, Manitoba] as well.
“To know that you can be from a small community and still make it that far. If you really have the passion to do it is amazing,” MacDougall said. “Just to know that you’re in the same room as the greatest curlers in the world. It’s pretty amazing and to actually be there and watch them play is something entirely in itself.”
The family had previously bought tickets to the the 2020 championships that were cancelled because of COVID-19.
After getting the rug pulled out from under her in 2020, Einarson said she was grateful to be back competing.
“It’s definitely pretty special to get this opportunity again,” Einarson said.
Cassidy’s mother Melissa Howell and family friend Toby Bruvold were with her at the game and it was Toby who set up the meeting.
“The look on Cassidy’s face when Karri waved her down was more rewarding than I could have ever asked for. That moment was very special to be a part of,” Bruvold said.
Howell said she’s proud of her daughter for everything she’s accomplished and for continuing to follow her dreams. “I’m proud through and through.”
Einarson won bronze after an extra-end win over Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg. Howell said while the family won’t be able to follow the team to Sweden next year they’re hoping to attend the Scotties in Kamloops.
With files from Cassidy Dankochik/Quesnel Cariboo Observer