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November 23, 2023

Meet Team Inglis: The Backstory on Lead Cassandra de Groot


1. How did you first get introduced to curling?

My parents were avid curlers and were instrumental in starting the junior curling program at the Collingwood Curling Club when I was 7 years old.


2. Was there someone or something that was a key motivating factor for you to curl and to aspire to play at a high level?

The love of curling runs deep in our family and really started with my Grandparents.  Both my Mom & Dad’s parents had a passion for the game and enjoyed it either as spectators or players.  My Grandpa de Groot played multiple times a week up to the age of 91. He was a big inspiration!  I didn’t start curling competitively until I moved to Ottawa for University.  Most of my childhood and teenage years were spent in the dance studio.  I met some great friends at the Ottawa Curling Club and got my first taste of competitive play.  A true passion for the game and a competitive spirit motivated me to keep reaching for a higher level in the sport.  I’ve had many incredible teammates over the years that have motivated me to work hard as an individual and as a team to achieve our shared goals.  There are only 4 people on a curling team so there is a special bond that is formed amongst teammates.  It inspires you to be the best player you can be, not for yourself, but for each other.



3. What would you tell someone aspiring to be a high level curler to do to develop the skills and mindset needed to be able to compete and play at the highest levels of the game?

To compete at a high level in curling requires a lot of sacrifice.  It means a lot of time on the road away from friends and family.  It often means dedicating valuable vacation days to time away from home competing on tour.  There’s so much more that goes into your season than just the time spent on the ice at competitions.  Summers are filled with off-season training plans, team meetings, acquisition of sponsorship, social media management, managing finances, ensuring uniforms are designed and ordered on time.  All of this becomes much easier when you have a true passion for the game.  The minute you stop loving it, is the minute you have to take a step back and reassess.  Surrounding yourself with people in your personal life who support your goals is instrumental.  My number one goal on any team I’ve been apart of is to have fun.  When you have fun, the work doesn’t feel like work. 


4. What do you enjoy most about the game of curling?

I enjoy the people this sport has brought into my life.  I’ve been lucky to have incredible teammates over the years.  These teammates have become some of my very best friends.  There is something special about finding like-minded women who have the same drive to train and compete, and that you genuinely enjoy being around.  We make a lot of sacrifices to be away from our friends and family at home, so I’ve always made it a priority to find teammates that I have fun with.  Team dynamics go along way in this sport! I was also lucky enough to meet my husband through curling, and now have the pleasure of watching my stepsons purse curling competitively at the U18 and U20 level.  



5. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 10 year old self?

Don’t change a thing! Embrace your love of this sport and stick with it!  Never compromise your goals in this sport 


6. Do you have a favourite memory that stands out in your curling career to date?

In 2018, we had an incredible run at the Ontario Provincials.  We went undefeated all week, landing us a spot in the final of the Ontario Scotties.  It meant we were one game away from representing Ontario at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.  Unfortunately, despite a close game, we didn’t pull out the win.  It’s a loss that I’ll never forget, but it was such a special week. I was lucky enough to have all 4 of my grandparents there that week cheering us on.  Having now lost all four of them in the past few years, it will forever be one of my favourite curling memories.



7. What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in the game of curling?

Have FUN! Find teammates who have the same goals as you and enjoy the social aspect of the game.  Stay curious.  Keep an open mind for new knowledge and always look for opportunities to learn.


8. What one suggestion/recommendation would you make to increase what Canadians know about high-level competitive curling and the elite players who compete to be the best in the game? How do you see this making a difference?

I think it’s important for Canadians to realize that most competitive curlers in this country are juggling full-time careers in conjunction with trying to compete at the highest level.  Many are rushing back to a busy job on the Monday morning after an event, while still trying to prioritize training, practice, rehabilitation, and family life before heading back out on the road the following weekend. A competitive curling season is also extremely expensive, especially with the costs of fuel, accommodations and food in today’s economic environment.  Attracting enough sponsorship to fund your season can be difficult.  I think the more and more visibility curling gets across the country, not only at the highest level, but for those teams working to “break through”, the more opportunities will be available




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