Provincial curling competition a family affair for Ottawa father-daughter duo

Curling is one of the biggest sports in the country, and one Ottawa family is carrying the love across the next generation.

Releasing the rock is the moment Jenny Madden has been waiting for.

It’s her first time on the provincial stage, competing with her curling team, Team Madden, at the U18 Provincial Championships.

“I’m really excited,” she says. “I’ve just always wanted to make it to provincials.”

Team Madden will have fierce competition at the games in Kingston, which run until Saturday.

Girls and boys from across the province are competing for the top spots, to represent Ontario at the upcoming national games in May.

The 18-year-old skip is with the Manotick Curling Club, and has her dad as her coach leading the way.

“He’s actually the reason I wanted to start curling,” she explains.

Paul Madden has been a competitive curler for 30 years, even going to the Briar Cup in 1999. He’ll also represent Ontario later this year at the Canadian Seniors.

Jenny says her dad inspired her when she was nine years old.

“He inspires me,” she says. “I just wanted to try it and once I tried it. I just fell in love with it.”

Paul Madden says it’s about fostering the competitive spirit in her, but also the love of the game.

“It’s good that she’s obviously doing well at it, but she keeps everything in perspective I think,” he says, “in terms of winning and losing.”

These games are a chance to push further after she qualified for the provincials two years ago, which were cancelled because of the pandemic.

“A few years down the road, some of these competitors could be in the Briar, the Scotties, or in the worlds, or the next Olympics,” explains Deb Wilken with the Royal Kingston Curling Club. “That’s the level of competition we’re looking at. They’re pretty darn good.”

Paul Madden feels curling has done a lot to promote girls in sports.

“She certainly has a love of the game. It’s good to see the top players in the country show us how it’s done.”

With dreams of sliding into her dad’s footsteps, Jenny Madden is hoping this will be the first competition of many.

“I think it’s honestly just really special to be able to do this with him and share this with him,” she says. 

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