A member of Team Saskatchewan is living out her dream of playing in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, following several years of curling taking a back seat so she could focus on her life outside of the sport.
Breanne Knapp turned down some offers and opportunities before joining Team Sherry Anderson in 2020.
“I focused on family a lot, I focused on post-secondary education and I think those things for me, I value highly and I don’t regret anything,” Knapp, who is a registered dietician, said.
Knapp, originally from Manitoba, was a junior curling phenom. In 2009, she won a Canadian Junior National Junior Championship with Kaitlyn Lawes – now a two-time Olympic gold medalist and member of Team Manitoba. At the World Junior Championships, the team won a silver medal.
“The year we lost the World Junior final was 2009, so honestly when I think about it it doesn’t seem like a long time ago, but it’s been a long time,” Knapp said.
The following year, Knapp skipped Team Manitoba at the 2010 Canadian Junior Championships. At the time, she was Breanne Meakin. During the tournament in Quebec, she met her future husband – Team Saskatchewan curler Kelly Knapp. Meakin eventually moved from Winnipeg to Regina and shifted her priorities.
“I just needed a bit of a break to get other things sorted out,” Knapp said. “With any move comes a new curling population and a new city and I just took my time.”
Knapp interned in Manitoba and needed to make contacts in Regina to get her career off the ground. She continued to curl, even attending two Scotties as a fifth person (2011 & 2014), something that is helping her in Calgary this week.
“Having that other perspective to see what works, what doesn't work, how important communication is on the ice,” Knapp added.
But Knapp said she turned down offers and opportunities to play to forward her career.
“It’s a decision that you have to make. There’s a path forward, whether you stick with curling and not that it can’t be done, going to school, but I had a hard time, dividing my time up between post-secondary education and curling,” Knapp said.
This season, Knapp got a call from friend and mentor Sherry Anderson, who asked if she’d join the team as their leader.
“I do feel like I’m at a place where I’m now able to commit a little more to curling,” Knapp said.
Knapp’s father, Rob Meakin, has always been her sounding board. He won a Brier for Manitoba in 1995 and has coached Knapp for almost her entire curling career.
“We just supported whatever decision she made,” Meakin said. “[We’re] proud, I mean, it’s exciting to see her. I know that she’s always dreamed of playing in the Scotties.”
On Monday, Team Saskatchewan beat Team Manitoba, which includes Knapp’s former World Junior Curling teammate Kaitlyn Lawes. The team is also skipped by six-time Scotties Champion Jennifer Jones, a player Knapp grew up idolizing in Manitoba.
“I just respect them so much,” Knapp said of Team Jones.
And just like curling, timing is everything. Knapp’s resurgence has only just begun.