From February 22nd to February 24th, One Ocean Expeditions was on location at the ‘Scotties Tournament of Hearts’ in Sydney, Nova Scotia. We are thrilled to have partnered with the famous competition, which sees the top women’s curling teams in the country compete for glory. At the event, we gave away not one, but TWO once in a lifetime trips to the Canadian Arctic – the Baffin Island & Greenland Explorer August 9th – 19th, 2019, travelling alongside Olympic curler and Scotties champion Jill Officer. We caught up with Jill to chat more about the voyage and the special campaign to bring her much-loved sport of curling to the North.
One Ocean Expeditions: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Jill Officer: I was born and raised in Winnipeg. I played a lot of sports when I was a kid…gymnastics, soccer, figure skating, baton twirling and of course curling. My dad was very involved in hockey as a coach and my mom was very involved in curling as she organized a junior league and played a few times a week herself. I always say I was bound to take up one of those two sports but had a little more natural ability for curling. My education background is in journalism and I worked as an anchor and reporter for a few years in Brandon before doing some communications work with the City of Brandon. During that time, we won our first Scotties Tournament of Hearts and it became difficult to juggle everything so I started doing some part-time work while training and competing. I have been married for almost 11 years and we have a 7-year-old daughter named Camryn.
OOE: What do you do when you’re not training or competing?
Jill: Well this winter has been a little different because I am not really competing anymore and therefore not training. I have been working as a curling analyst for CBC as well as having been elected to the Athlete Commission for the World Curling Federation. As well, I am fifth player for Team Jones. Otherwise, I love reading, fishing, camping and spending time with my family.
OOE: Can you tell us a bit more about Scottie’s Tournament of Hearts?
Jill: Scotties is the national championship for women. It is probably the most prestigious amateur women’s sporting event in Canada, if not the World. Kruger products has made this event incredibly successful and possible for more than 30 years! I’ve been fortunate to participate in 13 Scotties, winning a record-tying 6 of them. I’ve always loved competing at the Scotties because of the prestige of the event, how it’s organized and the people around the event that make it happen. But it’s also because of the atmosphere of the event…the crowd, the bright lights and the meaningfulness and pride of both playing in the event and winning it.
OOE: We’ve decided to partner with not only the tournament, but also with YOU! Are you looking forward to your trip?
Jill: When I got the call about the opportunity to go on this once in a lifetime trip, I didn’t want to get too excited about it until it was confirmed! Now that it is, I can’t wait to check this type of trip off my bucket list! I’ve always wanted to go to the Arctic to see the glaciers, icebergs and wildlife. As part of the opportunity, someone will get the chance to travel with me and my family on this cruise and spend time hearing my stories from years of curling including from the Olympics. And one of the great things I get to be part of during the trip is to give away a floor curling set to a northern community to hopefully expose many kids and people to the sport. I’ll be going on the Baffin Island and Greenland voyage.
OOE: What can passengers (and the contest winner) look forward to while traveling with you on this voyage?
Jill: This will be an opportunity for passengers to ask me questions about my curling career, what I’ve learned from all my experiences and sharing my Olympic experience including bringing my Olympic Gold Medal.
OOE: What are you most looking forward to while on board?
Jill: Everything! I am really just looking forward to soaking up every moment, learning about the northern culture and sharing it with my family and the contest winners!
OOE: You’re a bit of an adventurer already – tell us about that.
Jill: In 2006, my brother, sister-in-law and myself trekked in the Himalayas for 27 days. Our goal was to get to the Base Camp for Mt. Everest and to the viewpoint for Everest because you can’t see Everest from Base Camp. We achieved that and also trekked over a glacier to another region called the Gokyo region. After being in Nepal for a month, my sister-in-law and myself went to Thailand where we traveled and island hopped for a month before I returned home. Also, this actually won’t be my first time in the Arctic Circle. In 2017, our curling team was invited to compete in an international competition in Siberia, the Arctic Circle of Russia! Also, through curling, I’ve traveled to many parts of the world, but a couple of my favourites are Japan and Switzerland.
OOE: What do you love about exploring and adventuring?
Jill: I just love seeing other parts of the world, learning different cultures and having incredibly unique experiences. It is also an opportunity to learn about myself in different situations.
OOE: What’s next for you?
Jill: Well, I am still in transition with not competing full time anymore and trying to determine what I might like to do and focus on for a second career.
OOE: Where can people follow your adventures?
Jill: Follow me @JillOfficer on Twitter and Instagram. I will be the fifth player at the Scotties in Sydney and then I will be broadcasting for CBC in April from the Grand Slam of Curling Players Championship.
For more information about travelling with Jill, speak to your preferred agent or contact our sales team here.
Read more about our curling set campaign here.