Canadian chiropractor curls the distance

Date:  April 27, 2023


Dr. Brigitte MacPhail curling
Photos by Curling Canada and Andrew Klaver photography 

For Dr. Brigitte MacPhail, curling has always been a way of life. Growing up in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, Dr. MacPhail was raised in a family of avid curlers, who encouraged her to start playing in grade three. She excelled in high school curling, winning the provincial championship in 2005 before going on to win a New Brunswick provincial title in 2007.

In 2021, she was scouted by the Nunavut team’s coach, Donalda Mattie, to play as their designated out-of-province curler and skip. It was with a resounding ‘yes’ that she accepted. With most of her teammates residing in Nunavut “one of the unique challenges for [the] team has been arranging for travel – the flights can be expensive, but playing together is crucial for creating team systems and learning to communicate on the ice.” Under Dr. MacPhail’s lead, the team qualified for the national Women’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts in 2022, where they won the hearts of spectators.

“You can always feel the excitement on the ice when team Nunavut comes out onto the ice – a total rockstar moment!”

In 2023 team Nunavut qualified again for the Scotties, despite curling just 19 games together in the lead-up to the tournament. Building on her momentum from year-to-year, Dr. MacPhail is proud of the team’s performance, “even compared to [2022] we competed much more closely, keeping scores tight and opposing teams on the run.”  

Photos by Curling Canada and Andrew Klaver photography
Photos by Curling Canada and Andrew Klaver photography 

While the competition can become nerve-wracking, the civility of the sport maintains players’ cool on the ice. “We do it for the love of the sport, so when it’s just you and the opposition skip at the bottom of the ice, you might have a chat. After the game, teams will shake hands, the atmosphere is friendly and supportive. Curling culture is very unique from many other competitive sports in that way.”  

Established in her chiropractic career in Halifax, Dr. MacPhail continues her family’s tradition of curling in her downtime. In addition to teaching people with disabilities to curl, Dr. MacPhail plays both recreationally and competitively. Life is busy for an avid curler, “in terms of training, we start the season in late or mid-September with practices and weekly league nights, in addition to tournaments on weekends,” says Dr. MacPhail, “I’m really content coming off the Scotties and look forward to setting the next goal.”  

By Rachel Winer

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