They may be known as Team Canada these days, but the girls in Corryn Brown's rink are still Kamloops' sweethearts.
The Kamloops Curling Club held a sold-out sendoff Thursday for Team Canada, which is off to Sochi, Russia, to play in the world junior championship starting Thursday. Brown, third Erin Pincott, second Sam Fisher, lead Sydney Fraser and coaches Ken Brown and Brian Fisher won the Canadian junior women's championship in Fort McMurray on Feb. 10.
They'll leave Saturday morning for Sochi.
More than 200 fans came out Thursday to offer their support - and other things - to Team Canada.
"It's really humbling, to be honest," said Corryn Brown after the speeches wrapped up. "It just makes us feel like we're doing something right, and that we're doing something that people care about and want to learn about."
It was a hectic night for the curlers, but the four 17-year-olds handled everything thrown their way with class and graciousness.
And they were popular, that's for sure.
When they weren't listening to speeches praising their work, they were hobnobbing with guests and signing autographs.
There were well-wishes from Mayor Peter Milobar and speeches from local former provincial champions Brian Windsor and Allison MacInnes, the latter of whom presented the girls with their off-ice Team Canada jackets.
Vernon's Jim Cotter, a Kamloops native who has three provincial men's titles to go along with a pair of provincial junior crowns, also spoke, while host Karla Thompson shared some emails she received from former national champions Jennifer Jones, Cheryl Bernard and Heather Nedohin.
Thompson, who curled on MacInnes's provincial-champion rink in 2008, emailed a number of prominent curlers asking for words of encouragement for the Brown rink. Dozens replied, and Thompson has put together a folder for each girl.
It wasn't the only thing the girls took home from the banquet - they had their arms full when the night ended.
Milobar handed each girl a Tournament Capital Jacket, while Brenda Nordin presented team portraits courtesy of Curl B.C. Both the KCC and the McArthur Island Curling Club had their members sign banners for Team Canada to take overseas, and other supporters handed over cheques.
Rhonda Rivers of Hudson's Bay Company gave the girls tuques, scarves and red suitcases - the suitcases came in handy when you consider how much swag Team Canada had to take home.
"Good thing we got those big suitcases from The Bay," Brown chuckled. "It's incredible how much stuff people donated - not just money, but also merchandise and all that.
"I can't wait to put it all in the big suitcase and take it all to Russia."
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