When the biggest moment of Keely Brown’s young sporting life arrived it was met with stunned silence for a few moments.
While Brown, at third, and her skip, Kelsey Rocque, were contemplating what to do with their final rock, South Korean skip Kim Kyeong-ae missed on her final attempt. It meant Canada’s junior women’s curling champs wouldn’t have to throw again and had won the 2014 World Juniors title with a 6-4 win in Flims, Switzerland.
“All of us kind of stood there and were in kind of shock – was it actually over and did we actually win?” she recalls. “There was probably 30 seconds where nobody did anything. We just stood around until we finally realized we could shake hands and celebrate.”
That win brought a world curling title to the Airdrie Curling Club, where Brown proudly tells people she learned to play the game, first visiting as a child to watch her mom Ronda and dad Joe curl on Sunday mornings.
Now 22, Brown aged-out of the junior curling ranks after that season and returned to her nursing studies at the University of Edmonton, which took a back seat during Brown’s Edmonton-based team’s amazing run to an Alberta title, then Canadian championship and finally a world crown. She anticipates graduating in either late 2016 or spring 2017 and because she’s got her nose back in the books seriously, Brown is taking a break from competitive curling in 2015-16.
In December 2014, the City of Airdrie named Brown an Elite Airdrie Athlete and on May 7, 2015, unveiled a plaque at Genesis Place celebrating the honour.
“Every time I walk by it I have a look at myself on the wall and it’s really cool,” she says.
The award was not only for Brown’s curling achievements but also her efforts in the city as a volunteer. Despite her age, she already has an impressive volunteer resumé, largely from her high school days: Airdrie Food Bank, Airdrie Festival of Lights, helping the Calgary Youth Curling Association and coaching at a summer junior curling camp in Leduc.
The inspiration for getting involved was Joe, who was always on the ice helping out when his daughter was first starting out in the sport, which occurred at the age of five.
“I know it was volunteers who taught me how to curl so I wanted to give back to the sport and help out kids, because I know that’s how I started,” Brown says.