REGINA -- There is strong Saskatchewan representation at the Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Calgary, including one team who’s banking on a partnership that has endured for nearly a decade.

Saskatoon’s Ashley Quick and Regina’s Mike Armstrong are competing at their sixth mixed doubles national championship. It’s also the ninth consecutive year of their partnership. 

“[There are] a lot of big names in this event and Ashley and I know we’re right in it because we’ve been doing this game for so long,” Armstrong said from the Calgary curling bubble. 

Armstrong and Quick are in Pool E, which includes Olympian’s Lisa Weagle, John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes. However, only one other tandem at the championships – Tyler Tardi and Dezaray Hawes, who are also in Pool E – have been together as long as the Saskatchewan duo. 

“We’ve never had a break,” Quick laughed. “But we get along so well, we’re really good friends and we really enjoy the sport.”

Quick and Armstrong teamed up after meeting at a university competition in St. John’s in 2012. When the first mixed doubles competition in Canada began in 2013, the pair decided to give it a try. 

“Over eight years you get to know each other pretty well and get to know each other’s needs and wants on the ice,” Armstrong said. “I think that’s been huge in our growth and development.”

The pair won the Saskatchewan championship twice. Their best finish at nationals was a bronze in 2014. 

“We take a little bit from every event that we play in and put it in our arsenal so we can continue to get better and better,” Quick said. 

Armstrong and Quick won their second provincial title in 2020 after working closely with Amber Holland. Due to COVID-19, the national championships were cancelled. 

“It just felt like we were on the up and to have that taken away – to not get a chance to follow through and see where it would lead us at nationals – was heartbreaking,” Armstrong said. 

“It’s nice to be able to come back a year later and finally get that opportunity,” Quick said. 

Saskatchewan has some other talented mixed doubles athletes competing in Calgary. Kirk Muyres is playing with Alberta’s Laura Walker – the two won nationals in 2018. Nancy Martin won a silver medal with Tyrel Griffith in 2019. Catlin Schneider, who won a bronze at the Brier in 2020, is competing with three-time Scotties champion Shannon Birchard, and Oxbow's Chaelynn Kitz is also in the mix. 

“We’ve had lots of people reach out and say they’re just as excited, if not more to watch [mixed doubles] because it’s quick, it’s fast, you ever know what’s going to happen,” Schneider said following their 7-2 win over Emma Miskew and Ryan Fry. 

Martin and Griffith also won their first draw 10-6 over PEI’s MacFadyen duo.

“What I really love about mixed doubles, and having just played the Scotties, where you have the blank ends and that kind of stuff and here it’s just full go right from the beginning,” Martin, who competed at the 2021 Scotties, said. 

Earlier this season, Curling Canada announced that the Mixed Doubles Champion would win $50,000 in prize money, on par with the Scotties and Brier purse. 

The event is also being broadcast on TSN for the first time. 

“To have the exposure for the sport is huge,” Armstrong said. “Any time there’s money available it will incentivize teams to really compete.”

Armstrong and Quick face Lisa Weagle and John Epping in Draw 6 on Friday morning.