SYDNEY — Devlin Hinchey has watched his wife play in many high-profile events, but nothing will likely top seeing her on the ice going for gold at the Olympics.
The New Waterford native is married to Jill Officer, the second on the Jennifer Jones-skipped team representing Canada in women's curling at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Third Kaitlyn Lawes and lead Dawn McEwen round out the Manitoba-based team, which is making its first Olympic appearance.
"Because the Olympics only come around once every four years and this is their ultimate goal and what they're going for, this is by far, the biggest test for them," said Hinchey. "As much as I want them to win the gold, obviously, I just want them to have good games and play well and then just let the chips fall how they may."
With numerous provincial and national titles, as well as a world championship to her name, Officer has accomplished plenty in her curling career and Hinchey has been along for the ride for much of the last decade. The two married in 2008 and have a two-year-old daughter, Camryn.
In a phone interview with the Cape Breton Post Sunday, just a few hours after watching the Jones team earn a 7-6 win over the United States in 11 ends, Hinchey said the team did what it had to to get the win and keep their record perfect at 8-0.
"It wasn't one of their better games but still they were able to grind out a win. One more round-robin game (Monday) evening and then the playoffs start. They're already guaranteed first place, so now it's a matter of seeing who they're going to play," he said.
The atmosphere inside the Ice Cube Curling Center is more boisterous than a usual curling event, according to Hinchey.
"It's unlike any other curling event we've ever been at," he said. "The fans are very enthusiastic, very loud, and it does add a lot of energy to the arena. And the girls are okay with it and they know what to expect and they're able to tune stuff out and just focus on what they're playing."
While in Sochi, Officer and her teammates are staying in the athletes village, and Hinchey and other family members there to support the Jones team are staying in other accommodations.
"One of the better things that we can do for them is to let them know that we're okay and we're doing our own thing, that we're happy and having fun, and that helps them to relax," said Hinchey, noting the team did take a bit of a break Sunday night to attend the Canada versus Finland men's hockey game with family members.
Hinchey — a 1990 graduate of Breton Education Centre and the son of Sweeney and Anne Hinchey, who still reside in New Waterford — has been living in the Winnipeg area with Officer for the last number of years.
Overall, he said his time in Russia has been wonderful.
"We're having a great time, it's really busy, but we're having a fantastic experience here," he said.
"The atmosphere is really more than I would have expected. Just being at the Olympics itself is incredible, being around so many Canadian fans. We spend a fair bit of time at Canada Olympic House which is put on by some of the major national sponsors, so we're here with all the other Canadian fans and we're cheering on the different athletes in the different events and everybody has all kinds of Canadian gear on, so that aspect is just amazing."