It’s a battle of the Rookies versus the Veterans at the 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts
The 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Charlottetown has one of the best line-ups in the event’s history with recent graduates from the junior ranks taking on some very seasoned veterans. Almost half of the field is former Canadian junior champions and only one team is without at least one member who boasts this title in her resume. Making her debut at the Scotties this year is 21 year old Ontario skip, Rachel Homan, who together with third, Emma Miskew, who just turned 22, were the 2010 Canadian junior champions. With teammates Alison Kreviazuk, 22, and Lisa Weagle, 25, this team is the youngest to ever compete in a Canadian Women’s Championship. Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones returns to defend her title with new third Kaitlyn Lawes, 2008 and 2009 Canadian junior champion. Lawes is the first curler to make her national Scotties debut on Team Canada. Long-time Team Canada vice Cathy Overton Clapham returns as skip of the Manitoba team with veteran Karen Fallis at third and front end Leslie Wilson and Raunora Westcott who with skip Jill Thurston represented the province at the 2010 Scotties in Sault St. Marie. Team Canada and Manitoba will meet on February 23rd in a much anticipated match-up. BC’s Team Scott returns as repeat provincial champions with lofty achievements as 2006 Canadian and 2007 world champions. They are joined by Alberta’s Shannon Kleibrink who’s making her fourth appearance at the Scotties and while never having won the Canadian title is the 2006 Olympic bronze medalist. Amber Holland and her team successfully defended their Saskatchewan title and are once again in pursuit of their first Canadian women’s crown. Marie-France Larouche has five provincial women’s championships under her belt in addition to a Canadian junior championship. She and her team from Quebec have knocked on the door before and are expected to be contenders again this year. Nova Scotia’s Heather Smith-Dacey is making her third appearance at the Scotties while Andrea Kelly and teammates from New Brunswick are back after successfully defending their 2010 provincial titles. Newfoundland/Labrador has a young rookie team skipped by 2007 Canadian junior champion, Stacie Devereaux and anchored by seven-time provincial women’s champion, Heather Martin at lead. Northwest Territories/Yukon has plenty of experience with skip Kerry Galusha making her seventh appearance at the Scotties backed by third Dawn Moses who is appearing for the ninth time. Host province Prince Edward Island has real star power in Suzanne Birt and Robyn MacPhee, both six time provincial women’s champions and former world junior champs. They’ve teamed up with veterans Shelly Bradley and Leslie MacDougall. It is expected that the home town favourites will be in hot pursuit of the championship title which has to date eluded PEI since the inception of the Canadian Women’s Championship in 1961. The 2011 Scotties Tournament of Hearts will be played in the Charlottetown Civic Centre, from February 19 – 27 with all draws broadcast on TSN.