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Canadian alternate Stephanie LeDrew pitches in at women's world curling event

03/22/2013 07:00 EDT | Updated 05/22/2013 05:12 EDT
RIGA, Latvia - Canadian team alternate Stephanie LeDrew has several tasks to handle over the course of a tournament. She added a new one to her repertoire for this week's world women's curling championship.

"I assumed one extra role of driving the team around in a nine-passenger van all week and so far so good," LeDrew said with a laugh.

She can usually be found sitting beside the coaching staff on the riser by the end boards at the Volvo Sports Center. LeDrew's main job is to be ready to fill in if one of the four regular team members suffers an injury or is unavailable.

Canadian skip Rachel Homan doesn't normally have an alternate — or fifth — on the team. LeDrew joined the rink for last month's Scotties Tournament of Hearts and a solid connection was quickly established.

"She's super-positive and a ton of fun and she fits in so well with the team," Homan said. "We're really happy to have her. She thinks of all the little things for us and anything that needs to be done, and she's already there.

"So we're really happy to have her and really thankful that she agreed to be our fifth."

LeDrew, 28, normally plays third on Hollie Nicol's team out of The Donalda Club in Toronto. Her rink finished sixth at this year's provincial Scotties.

Originally from St. John's, N.L., LeDrew lives in Sarnia, Ont., where she works as a senior therapeutic laser technician at a rehabilitation clinic. She had to take some time off work but couldn't pass up the opportunity to take part in the national championship and now the world playdowns.

LeDrew might not get out on the ice but she's still thrilled to be a part of the Canadian team. She helps with equipment, discusses the action with her teammates, even brings snacks to ice level during halftime breaks.

One of her more challenging duties is staying warm in case she does gets the call — not an easy task in a frigid arena.

"I think I'm as prepared as a fifth can be," she said. "Occasionally you might see me leave the bench between ends because I'm just going to warm up. If I'm sitting there freezing the whole time I don't think it's going to work out well if I have to get thrown in.

"I try to stay loose and keep warm and crack a few jokes with (coach) Earle (Morris) on the bench and just enjoy the game in the meantime."

The Canadian team finished the round robin with an 8-3 record to earn a spot in Saturday's Page playoff 3-4 game. The medal games are scheduled for Sunday.

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