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Hayward has historic curling season

A young curler with Virden ties made history this past winter during a season she will never forget.
The Hayward rink celebrating their title win in the February Canadian Under-18 Women’s Curling Championship: Lead Riley Cox, second Indian Young, vice-skip Kira Krahn, Shaela Hayward and coach Diane Hayward.

Carman skip Shaela Hayward led her rink to the Canadian Under-18 Women’s Curling Championship title. It also won provincial titles at the U18 and U21 levels, while Hayward was part of the winning rink at the Manitoba Mixed Curling Championship. It is the first time a curler has won three Manitoba titles in the same season.

“It feels so surreal to be able to win three provincial championships,” Hayward said. “My goal this year was to win U18 provincials, and I didn’t even know that winning three was possible. I was so excited to play the mixed and to have the opportunity to win three and when I did it was really special.”

She is the daughter of Diane Hayward, who coaches the team, and former Virden resident Darcy Hayward. Shaela Hayward is the granddaughter of Virden’s Terry and Dianne Hayward and great-granddaughter of Russell (Huck) Smith. She has appreciated her family’s support of her curling career.

“I have the best family in the world,” Hayward said. “Every time I play, there is always a crowd of people there to support me. I definitely don’t think I would be able to accomplish everything I have without the support of my family. It means the world to me.”

On a post on the team’s Facebook page, the rink wrote, in part, about Coach Hayward, “She does so much for us, and we simply could not have done it without her. … She always believed in us and having her by our side these last couple of years was so special.”

U18 Nationals

In Ottawa in February, the Hayward rink became the first Manitoba team to win the U18 title. It was also the first rink from the province to earn a women’s medal in the event’s six-year history.

“It was great being able to represent our province in such a high calibre event,” Hayward said. “I loved playing in the arena in front of the crowd. Hearing all those cheers was definitely a highlight.”

The Hayward rink, which went 8-2 at the event, beat Quebec's Jolianne Fortin, 8-5, in the women’s final.

“I think what made us successful was the chemistry this team has on and off the ice,” Hayward said. “We never give up and just keep playing as hard as we can every game.”

The rink got to see some of the sights of Ottawa. They toured the Canadian War Museum and walked around by the parliament buildings.

“It was great to be in our nation’s capital and we had a lot of fun in the city of Ottawa,” Hayward said.

U21 Nationals

In March, the Hayward rink made it to the quarterfinals of the New Holland Canadian Under-21 Curling Championships thanks to a 5-3 record. The event took place in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.

“The Canadian Juniors was amazing,” Hayward said. “The facility in Fort McMurray was fantastic and it was such a well-run event and an honour to be a part of. Getting to represent Manitoba on the big stage was a dream and I hope to be back.”

Mixed Provincials

In Neepawa in March, Hayward was part of the winning rink at the mixed provincials. It also included Ryan Wiebe, Ty Dilello, and Jennifer Clark-Rouire.

“I really enjoyed playing mixed,” Hayward said. “I got to try a new position at third and sweep as well, so it was a new challenge which I really enjoyed. My teammates were awesome too and I was so excited when they reached out and asked me. I can’t wait to represent Manitoba with them in the fall.”

The rink will compete at the 2024 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship in St. Catharines, Ont. Nov. 3-9.


The Hayward rink competed against the province’s best women’s teams in January in the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts. It had a 3-2 record at the Morden event.

“It was such a fun event to be a part of. Getting to play against Manitoba’s top women’s teams was the best practice for us to get ready for (the U18 nationals),” Hayward said. 

The Future

Hayward’s women’s rink included vice-skip Keira Krahn, second India Young, and lead Rylie Cox. It had great success over the years, including winning two high school provincial titles. The rink did not have the opportunity to defend its high school title in 2024 as it was competing at the U18 nationals.

The rink is now going its separate ways. Young is headed to the University of Northern Colorado to pursue her golfing career. The other three members will be studying at the University of Manitoba. Hayward plans to major in marketing.

“My team is unfortunately not staying together, but I am going to keep curling and I am very excited for next season,” she said.


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