The Road to Red Deer: East Update
The 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts takes place in Red Deer, February 18-26. Here’s the latest news on play-downs in the East. Nova Scotia:Six of the eight teams which will play in the provincial final for the right to represent Nova Scotia at the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts have now been decided. Reigning provincial champion Heather Smith-Dacey and her teammates Danielle Parsons, Blisse Comstock and Teri Lake advanced through a triple knockout qualifier held over the weekend of December 9-11 at the Wolfville Curling Club. They will have home ice advantage when they defend their title at the CFB Halifax Curling Club in late January. Mary Mattatal, a five-time Nova Scotia Scotties champion will also be on hand for the provincial final. The Halifax Mayflower skip advanced through “C” flight play, along with the Sarah Rhyno foursome of CFB Halifax. Qualifying out of “B” side play were teams skipped by Truro’s Colleen Pinkney and Mayflower’s Mary-Anne Arsenault. Arsenault will be known to curling fans as the two-time world champion second for the legendary Colleen Jones teams of yesteryear. The Kelly MacIntosh quartet, out of the Dartmouth Curling Club, joined Smith-Dacey in going undefeated in qualifying out of “A” side play. Prince Edward Island: The P.E.I. Scotties Tournament of Hearts will be played at the Charlottetown Curling Club from January 20-23, with the winners earning a trip to Red Deer. Suzanne Birt, with six previous national Scotties appearances to her credit, will lead the team to beat at the provincial shootout. Teams skipped by Kim Dolan, Donna Butler and Meaghan Hughes, all of the Charlottetown Curling Club, have also confirmed their participation in the provincial final. This competition is an open event with an entry deadline of January 3, so there will undoubtedly be more teams entering the fray. New Brunswick: The Gage Golf & Curling Club in Oromocto will play host to the 2012 New Brunswick Scotties Tournament of Hearts from January 25-29. It will utilize an 8-team round-robin format featuring teams which have qualified through a preliminary competition. That qualifier will be an open format, double knock out affair, which will be held at Curl Moncton’s Beaver Curling Club and Beausejour facilities over the weekend of January 6-8. Fredericton’s Andrea Kelly, the 2005 Canadian Junior Women’s champion and four-time provincial Scotties winner, would like nothing better than to get the opportunity to improve upon her disappointing 3-8 record at last year’s Scotties in Charlottetown. She’ll have to survive qualifier and provincial final play in order to get the chance. Newfoundland & Labrador: The 2012 Newfoundland & Labrador Scotties Tournament of Hearts will be held at the Re/Max Centre in St. John’s from January 18-22. This open competition is sure to feature some of the best women curlers on “the Rock”. Stacie Devereaux and her team of Stephanie Guzwell, Sarah Paul and Heather Martin should be back to defend their title. Nine-time provincial Hearts skip Heather Strong and three-time winner Shelley Nichols may have something to say about that.