Danielle is a Canadian curler from Toronto. This past year, she won the World Mixed Curling Championship title (1st ever for Canada). She is also a two-time national university champion and a silver medallist at the 2009 World Universiade. Danielle was also named as the alternate/coach for Team Ontario competing at the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. When she’s not on the ice, Danielle can be found working for Curling Canada as the Coordinator of Social Media & Web Content, coaching curlers of all ages and skill levels, or volunteering as the President of the Toronto Curling Association raising money via the Kurl for Kids charity event to support kids in crisis.
We had a chance to have a chat with Danielle to get to know her a little better.
What is your biggest sporting accomplishment?
Winning the World Mixed Championship this year is right up there for me! It was just an incredible moment, as our team has been working towards that for 8 years. Being able to win in front of a home Canadian crowd and in front of our friends and family is a memory I’ll never forget.
Do you have any words of advice to aspiring athletes?
Work hard and focus on your goals, but don’t forget to have fun along the way. Sport can take you to some incredible places and you can meet amazing people who become lifelong friends along the way. Make sure you take the time to appreciate those places you go and people you meet. Looking back on your athletic careers, you’ll of course remember the big wins (and most likely some big losses), but I promise you that your experiences off the ice/pitch/field/etc. will be some of your most memorable. Always remember to enjoy the journey and never lose sight of why you started playing the sport in the first place!
If you weren’t an athlete what would you be?
Honestly, I can’t picture not being an athlete. Growing up, I played almost every sport under the sun and many mornings, evenings, and weekends were spent being active. As I got older, I focused on my curling career. Sport is so much a part of me that I can’t imagine life without it quite truthfully.
Do you remember the moment you realized you were talented and going to make it?
Back in 2008, our team won the Ontario junior provincial championship over the team favoured to win it all and we went on to compete at the Canadian championship. It was my first time competing at the national level and it opened my eyes to the competition across the country. I’ve always been a naturally competitive person, so playing at that level fuelled my desire to continue winning. It wasn’t necessarily the moment when I knew I was “going to make it,” but it was the moment when I gained the confidence to know that I could make it and was truly good enough to compete at a high level. Oftentimes in sports you see that the person or team just needs one breakthrough moment that gives them the confidence and momentum to continue to rise in their sport, and that was mine.
Who was your sporting idol/someone you looked up to growing up?
I looked up to Sandra Schimirler’s team (Sandra Schmirler, Jan Betler, Joan McCusker and Marcia Gudereit) growing up. I admired the way they were able to play at the highest level of the sport (Olympic gold medallists, 3x Canadian and world champions) while still maintaining a life outside the sport with jobs and their families. It’s necessary in our sport for most athletes to have a job, as it’s an amateur sport and there’s not that much money in it compared to other sports. I don’t doubt how incredibly tough it must’ve been and I so admire how they were able to balance their personal and athletic careers. I also loved how the four women were all friends through it all. That’s something that I try to emulate on teams I play on now. I believe it’s very possible to be good friends and still play at a high level. You’ve got to enjoy the journey.