History of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts
The 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Montreal, Quebec marks the thirty-third consecutive year of Kruger Products sponsorship of the Canadian Women’s Curling Championship.
It marks the first time the Scotties Tournament of Hearts has been contested in the province of Quebec. But, there is a very special history between the championship and the city of Montreal.
In 1979, it was held at the Mount Royal Arena – the last time it would be contested under the Macdonald Lassie title – and the first time a playoff round was used to determine the champion.
Kruger Products is the longest natioanal corporate sponsor of amateur sport in Canada. It was in St. John’s at the 1981 Lassie that Scott Paper Limited officially made the commitment to the Canadian Curling Association to sponsor the Canadian Women’s Curling Championship. A great deal of preparation culminates in the “Scotties Tournament of Hearts” which has been held in communities across the country:
Regina, Saskatchewan – 1982
Prince George, British Columbia – 1983
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – 1984
Winnipeg, Manitoba – 1985
London, Ontario – 1986
Lethbridge, Alberta – 1987
Fredericton, New Brunswick – 1988
Kelowna, British Columbia – 1989
Ottawa, Ontario – 1990
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – 1991
Halifax, Nova Scotia – 1992
Brandon, Manitoba – 1993
Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario – 1994
Calgary, Alberta – 1995
Thunder Bay, Ontario – 1996
Vancouver, British Columbia – 1997
Regina, Saskatchewan – 1998
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – 1999
Prince George, British Columbia – 2000
Sudbury, Ontario – 2001
Brandon, Manitoba – 2002
Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario – 2003
Red Deer, Alberta – 2004
St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador – 2005
London, Ontario – 2006
Lethbridge, Alberta – 2007
Regina, Saskatchewan – 2008
Victoria, BC – 2009
Sault Ste Marie, Ontario – 2010
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – 2011
Red Deer, Alberta – 2012
Kingston, Ontario – 2013
Montreal, Quebec – 2014
Curling is one of the major sports in the country with over one million Canadians taking part every year. It is also popular among television viewers with a reach of more than three million for the Scotties championship final. Over eleven million adult Canadians will watch curling on television this winter, representing more than a third of all Canadians.
Kruger Products, a division of Kruger Inc., is the leading manufacturer of Consumer and Away From Home paper products in Canada. The company has four manufacturing facilities, which are located in New Westminster, British Columbia and Crabtree, Hull and Lennoxville, Quebec. The Canadian head office is located in Mississauga, Ontario.
Kruger Inc. is a privately held Canadian company with operations in newsprint, ground wood specialties, coated paper, paperboard and packaging. Kruger Products joined the group of Kruger companies in June 1997. Everyone at Kruger is committed to working together toward a common goal of maintaining Kruger Product’s position as the leading supplier of Consumer and Away-From-Home products in Canada.
Canada has long distinguished itself as the number one curling nation in the world. Nowhere else is competition as keen, and the path to the top so strewn with obstacles, as it is here in Canada.
Curlers are highly competitive and yet extremely sportsmanlike. Many of the sport’s rules are based on etiquette where appropriate behavior is suggested, but penalties for infractions are curiously absent. Competitors shake hands before and after each game and it is rare when smiles do not grace the faces of both winners and losers… a fiercely loyal group that takes great pride in the sport.
It was this curious mix of camaraderie and competitiveness that first attracted the interest of Kruger Products. In assuming sponsorship of women’s curling, Kruger hoped to build awareness for both the company and the sport and to effectively merchandise curling across Canada. The logo for Scotties Tournament of Hearts is a cluster of four hearts, which represents the four curlers who comprise a team and recognizes the importance of teamwork. The hearts also symbolize the “spirit” of curling – the friendship that characterizes the sport. The logo has been fully integrated into all aspects of the event.
The Provincial/Territorial champions each receive a gold chain and pendant in the shape of the four hearts while the runners-up receive keeper trophies. In addition, the winning teams are presented with a red heart crest to be worn on their team jackets.
All repeat Provincial/Territorial champions have a diamond added to their gold pendants. Since Kruger Products assumed sponsorship of the Canadian Women’s Curling Championship, Nova Scotia’s Colleen Jones has distinguished herself as the “winningest curler” with four diamonds now adorning the pendant she won in 1982, a pair of diamond earrings to celebrate her sixth Scotties Tournament of Hearts win and a gold bracelet with six diamonds to commemorate her seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh Scotties Tournament of Hearts provincial championship titles. Also prior to her Scotties Tournament of Hearts wins, Colleen won two Lassie provincial titles.
Jones also holds the distinction of being the only skip to lay claim to four consecutive Scotties championships (2001 – 2004). Jennifer Jones of Manitoba had the opportunity to match the record in 2012. But the three-year winning streak ran out in the last end of the final game to Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland.
At the national level, the trophy has been specially designed in silver with four heart-shaped columns of varying heights rising from a teak base. Each member of the winning team receives smaller replicas of the trophy in addition to gold rings, in the four-heart design, set with a .25-carat diamond. The runners-up receive gold rings with rubies and the third place team receives gold rings set with emeralds.
Other awards presented at Scotties Tournament of Hearts include First and Second Team All Star Awards which recognize the best leads, seconds, thirds and skips and a Shot of the Week Award to the player who made the most outstanding shot during the championship.
Two Awards have been created in the memory of two very special individuals who passed away in the year 2000. The Sandra Schmirler MVP Award is presented to the top curler in the playoffs of Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Sandra died of cancer at age 36 after an incredible three Canadian and World titles and an Olympic Gold Medal.
The Joan Mead Builders Award recognizes the contributions of someone other than a curler to the advancement of the sport. Joan, the curling producer curling for CBC until her sudden death, was instrumental in many of the changes in television coverage. One of the most notable was the use of mikes on the competitors to allow the audience access to their on-ice conversations.
The sportsmanship award is presented to the curler who best embodies the spirit of the game. It has been named the Marj Mitchell Award in remembrance of the world champion curler – who passed away from cancer at the age of 35 – in recognition of her many contributions to the sport.
In past years, a different curler or builder from the region where Scotties Tournament of Hearts was being held was honoured and the award named after him or her. Individuals previously recognized include Diana Doe, Joyce McKee, Ina Hansen, Elizabeth MacDonald, Lura McLuckie, Jo Wallace, Myrna McQuarrie, Caroline Ball, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Sylvia Fedoruk, Lee Tobin, Dr. Vera Pezer, Joyce Myers, Mabel Mitchell, Effie Hesselwood, Bob Stewart and Arline Wilson.
“Through Kruger Product’s long association with women’s curling, we have discovered that at the heart of curling is a real warmth founded on sportsmanship and camaraderie; but, sharpened by the keen spirit of competition,” says Mario Gosselin, Chief Operating Officer of Kruger Products. “We continue to be proud to be part of this truly great Canadian game.”