2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts gets underway Saturday in Sydney, N.S.

Jennifer Jones will begin her quest for history on Saturday when the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts gets underway at Centre 200 in Sydney, N.S.

Jennifer Jones is taking aim at her record seventh Scotties Tournament of Hearts title. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

Jones heads into the 2019 Scotties with six past victories, including last year at Penticton, B.C., at the Canadian Women’s Curling Championship, tying her with her longtime teammate Jill Officer and Nova Scotia’s legendary skip Colleen Jones.

Officer, who has stepped away from competitive curling this season, will be the alternate for Jennifer Jones’s Team Canada lineup in Sydney.

Jones, with her current Winnipeg team of vice-skip Kaitlyn Lawes, new second Jocelyn Peterman, lead Dawn McEwen, Officer at alternate and coach Viktor Kjäll, will open play on Saturday night (7:30 p.m.; all times Atlantic) against Saskatchewan’s Robyn Silvernagle (North Battleford).

The first draw of the 2019 Scotties will be Saturday at 2:30 p.m., which is when home-province hopeful Jill Brothers and her Nova Scotia team from Halifax hits the ice for the first time, taking on B.C.’s Sarah Wark (Abbotsford).

Also in that first draw will be 2017 Scotties champ Ontario’s Rachel Homan (Ottawa), who is pursuing her fourth Canadian title in the past seven years, and will be taking on 2016 Scotties silver-medallist Krista McCarville of Northern Ontario (Thunder Bay), while 2016 Scotties champ Chelsea Carey of Alberta (Calgary) is up against Manitoba’s Tracy Fleury (East St. Paul).

But there will be plenty of action at Centre 200 before that first draw.

On Friday night at 7:30 p.m., the 16th and final entry into the Scotties will be decided at the Wild Card playoff game. Team Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge will take on 2018 Scotties silver-medallist Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., at 7:30 p.m. at Centre 200. Admission is free, with donations in support of junior curling being accepted at the door. The winner will become Team Wild Card and will join Pool B in the two-pool, 16-team competition.

On Saturday, the Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for 1 p.m. at Centre 200, and are free to attend.

Ontario’s Rachel Homan will be pursuing her fourth Scotties gold medal. (Photo, Curling Canada/Andrew Klaver)

The 16 teams are split into two pools of eight, based on their Canadian Team Ranking System standing as of Dec. 31; the Wild Card winner will be the No. 3 seed.

They will play seven round-robin games within their pool, with the top four teams in each pool moving into the Championship Pool. The four teams from Pool A will play the four teams from Pool B Thursday and Friday, and then the top four win-loss records (including the preliminary round) will move into the traditional Page playoffs beginning Saturday.

The gold-medal game is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24; the winner will represent Canada at the 2019 LGT World Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Pioneer Hi-Bred, March 16-24 in Silkeborg, Denmark, and also will return as Team Canada to the 2020 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw, Sask.

Here’s a look at how the two pools set up:

(teams listed according to seeding, and listed in order of skip, vice-skip, second, lead, alternate, coach; hometown and CTRS ranking as of Dec. 31)

Pool A

1. Ontario, Rachel Homan (Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney, Lisa Weagle, Marcel Rocque; Ottawa, 1) 4.  Manitoba, Tracy Fleury (Selena Njegovan, Liz Fyfe, Kristin MacCuish, Taylor McDonald, Andrea Ronnebeck; East St. Paul, 4) 5. Alberta, Chelsea Carey (Sarah Wilkes, Dana Ferguson, Rachel Brown, Dan Carey; Calgary, 6) 8. British Columbia, Sarah Wark (Kristen Pilote, Carley Sandwith, Jen Rusnell, Michelle Dunn, Rick Fewster; Abbotsford, 26) 9. Northern Ontario, Krista McCarville (Kendra Lilly, Jen Gates, Sarah Potts, Lorraine Lang, Rick Lang; Thunder Bay, 30) 12. Nova Scotia, Jill Brothers (Erin Carmody, Sarah Murphy, Jenn Brine, Kim Kelly, Taylor Ardiel; Halifax, 53) 13. Quebec, Gabrielle Lavoie (Patricia Boudreault, Anna Munroe, Julie Daigle, Marie-France Larouche, Daniel Charette; Quebec City/Saint-Romuald, NR) 16. Nunavut, Jenine Bodner [throws second] (Jennifer Blaney [throws fourth], Alison Griffin [throws third], Megan Ingram, Sadie Pinksen, Susanne Martin; Iqaluit, NR)

Pool B

2. Team Canada, Jennifer Jones (Kaitlyn Lawes, Jocelyn Peterman, Dawn McEwen, Jill Officer, Viktor Kjäll; Winnipeg, 3) 3. Wild Card 6. Saskatchewan, Robyn Silvernagle (Stefanie Lawton, Jessie Hunkin, Kara Thevenot, Marliese Kasner, Lesley McEwan; North Battleford, 8) 7. Prince Edward Island, Suzanne Birt (Marie Christianson, Meaghan Hughes, Michelle McQuaid, Mitch O’Shea; Charlottetown, 22) 10. Northwest Territories, Kerry Galusha (Sarah Koltun, Brittany Tran, Shona Barbour, John Epping; Yellowknife, 31) 11. New Brunswick, Andrea Crawford (Jillian Babin, Jennifer Armstrong, Katie Forward, Charlie Sullivan; Saint John, 44) 14. Yukon, Nicole Baldwin (Hailey Birnie, Ladene Shaw, Helen Strong, Wade Scoffin; Whitehorse, NR) 15. Newfoundland/Labrador, Kelli Sharpe (Stephanie Guzzwell, Beth Hamilton, Carrie Vautour, Michelle Jewer, Leslie Anne Walsh; St. John’s, NR)

CLICK HERE to check the schedule for the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

You can purchase tickets at the Centre 200 box office, online at curling.ca/tickets or by phone at 902-564-2200.

TSN/RDS2 will provide complete coverage of every draw at the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. CLICK HERE for the complete broadcast schedule.