Scotties opens Friday!
2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts kicks off Friday in Kamloops
A who’s-who of Canadian women’s curling, including two skips chasing history, will open play Friday at the 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, B.C.
Jennifer Jones and her new-look Manitoba team from Winnipeg and Altona won’t play their first game until Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. (all times Pacific) against 2022 Scotties silver-medallist Team Krista McCarville of Northern Ontario (Thunder Bay), while Kerri Einarson’s three-time defending champion Team Canada crew from Gimli, Man., will be in the opening draw, Friday at 6 p.m. against Quebec’s Team Laurie St-Georges (Glenmore/Laval-sur-le-lac).
With a victory in the Feb. 26 gold-medal game, Jones — whose new team is rounded out by vice-skip Mackenzie Zacharias, second Karlee Burgess, co-leads Lauren Lenentine and Emily Zacharias and coach Glenn Howard — would have a seventh Scotties title, which would break the record she currently co-holds with longtime teammate Jill Officer and Colleen Jones.
Einarson, vice-skip Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Harris (alternate Krysten Karwacki and coach Reid Carruthers round out the team), meanwhile, can match a record of their own with a 2023 Scotties triumph. It would be their fourth straight Canadian women’s curling championship, matching the record currently held by Colleen Jones, Kim Kelly, Mary-Anne Arsenault and Nancy Delahunt.
But there will be no shortage of other storylines when teams open play Friday.
Ontario’s Team Rachel Homan, with new shot-caller Tracy Fleury coming aboard, will look to reach the top step of the medal podium since they prevailed in 2017 at St. Catharines, Ont.,
Besides Teams Einarson and Jones, two other Manitoba entries are in the field as Wild Card entries — Team Kaitlyn Lawes of Winnipeg and an all-Scotties-rookie entry from East St. Paul skipped by Meghan Walter. Both Walter and second Sara Oliver are hardly strangers to high-stakes curling, though — both were members of the Colin Kurz-skipped Manitoba team that won the 2019 Canadian and World mixed championship. Walter, who will celebrate her 21st birthday during the 2023 Scotties, was just 17 when she won the world mixed.
St-Georges, meanwhile, will be taking aim at her second Canadian championship of the season. She and second Emily Riley teamed with Félix Asselin (St-Georges’s partner) and Émile Asselin to win the 2022 Canadian mixed championship in November in Prince Albert, Sask., and will represent Canada at the 2023 World Mixed Championship in October (location TBC).
Also, one of the most recognized and accomplished international athletes in curling history will make his Canadian coaching debut. Six-time world men’s champion Niklas Edin of Sweden will take on coaching duties for British Columbia’s Team Clancy Grandy.
Fourteen provincial/territorial champions, defending champions Team Canada and three Wild Card teams based on CTRS standings will be in Kamloops.
Teams will play a complete eight-game round robin within their pools. From there, the top three teams in each pool advance to the playoffs. The second- and third-ranked teams in each pool cross over to play in Page playoff qualifier games on Friday, Feb. 24, at 1 p.m. (all times PT). The winners advance to play the winners of Pool A and Pool B on Friday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. The winners of those games go to the Page 1v2 game, while the losers will compete in the Page 3v4 game.
The standard Page playoffs commence with the winner of the Page 1v2 game on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m., advancing directly to the final, and the loser plays the winner of the Page 3v4 game (scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday) in the semifinal.
The semifinal (Sunday, Feb. 26, at noon) winner takes on the winner of the Page 1v2 game in the final at 6 p.m. on Sunday. The winner will represent Canada at the 2023 LGT World Women’s Curling Championship March 18-26 in Sandviken, Sweden.
If necessary, only one tiebreaker game per pool will be scheduled for Friday, Feb. 24, at 8:30 a.m. for third place only. If there is a tie between more than two teams for the spot, teams will be eliminated by head-to-head record first and then by accumulated last stone draw distance to determine the two teams that will play in the tiebreaker game. Tiebreaker games will only be played if teams have a winning record (5-3 or better).
Here’s a look at how the two pools are set up:
(Teams listed according to overall seeding, and listed in order of skip [player calling the shots], vice-skip [player holding the broom for the skip], second, lead, alternate, coach/High Performance Consultant)
- 1. Team Canada, Kerri Einarson (Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard, Briane Harris, Krysten Karwacki, Reid Carruthers; Gimli, Man.)
- 4. Wild Card 1, Kaitlyn Lawes (Laura Walker, Jocelyn Peterman, Kristin MacCuish, Lisa Weagle; Winnipeg; Selena Njegovan on parental leave)
- 5. British Columbia, Clancy Grandy (Kayla MacMillan, Lindsay Dubue, Sarah Loken, Katie Witt; Vancouver)
- 8. Nova Scotia, Christina Black (Karlee Everist [throws second stones], Jenn Baxter [throws third stones], Shelley Barker, Carole MacLean, Stuart MacLean; Halifax)
- 9. Alberta, Kayla Skrlik (Geri-Lynn Ramsay [throws second stones], Brittany Tran [throws third stones], Ashton Skrlik, Crystal Webster, Shannon Kleibrink; Calgary)
- 12. Prince Edward Island, Marie Christianson [throws third stones] (Suzanne Birt [throws fourth stones], Michelle Shea, Meaghan Hughes, Sinead Dolan, Danny Christianson; Cornwall)
- 13. Saskatchewan, Robyn Silvernagle (Kelly Schafer, Sherry Just, Kara Thevenot, Skylar Ackerman, Pat Simmons; North Battleford)
- 16. Quebec, Laurie St-Georges (Alanna Routledge [throws second stones], Emily Riley [throws third stones], Kelly Middaugh, Émilie Desjardins, Michel St-Georges; Glenmore & Laval-sur-le-Lac, Que.)
- 17. Nunavut, Brigitte MacPhail (Sadie Pinksen, Kaitlin MacDonald, Alison Taylor, Leigh Gustafson, Donalda Mattie; Iqaluit)
- 2. Ontario, Tracy Fleury [throws third stones] (Rachel Homan [throws fourth stones], Emma Miskew, Sarah Wilkes, Kira Brunton, Ryan Fry; Ottawa)
- 3. Manitoba, Jennifer Jones (Mackenzie Zacharias [throws second stones], Karlee Burgess [throws third stones], Lauren Lenentine, Emily Zacharias, Glenn Howard, Winnipeg/Altona)
- 6. Wild Card 2, Casey Scheidegger (Kate Cameron, Jessie Haughian, Taylor McDonald, Kristie Moore, Joan McCusker; Lethbridge, Alta.)
- 7. Wild Card 3, Meghan Walter (Abby Ackland, Sara Oliver, Mackenzie Elias, Howard Restall; East St. Paul, Man.)
- 10. New Brunswick, Andrea Kelly (Sylvie Quillian, Jillian Brothers, Katie Forward, Heather Smith, Daryell Nowlan; Fredericton)
- 11. Northwest Territories, Kerry Galusha [throws lead stones] (Jo-Ann Rizzo [throws fourth stones], Sarah Koltun, Margot Flemming, Megan Koehler, Shona Barbour; Yellowknife)
- 14. Northern Ontario, Krista McCarville (Sarah Potts [throws lead stones], Kendra Lilly [throws third stones], Ashley Sippala [throws second stones], Rick Lang; Thunder Bay, Ont.)
- 15. Newfoundland & Labrador, Stacie Curtis (Erica Curtis, Julie Hynes, Camille Burt, Eugene Trickett; St. John’s)
- 18. Yukon, Hailey Birnie (Chelsea Jarvis, Kerry Campbell, Kim Tuor, Jenna Duncan; Whitehorse)
For the entire 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts schedule, click here.
Tickets are available online at curling.ca/tickets, in person at the Sandman Centre box office, or by phone at 250-828-3339.