After five previous trips to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, you’d think the novelty just might have worn off.
Not so for Kelly Scott and her Kelowna rink who are more than happy to carry B.C.’s colours at the national women’s curling championship for a sixth time, beginning Saturday in Charlottetown, PEI.
“It never gets old,” said Scott. “It’s always an exciting week no matter how many times you’ve been before.
“This is the first time we’ve ever been to PEI, so that’s new to us,” Scott added. “Anything out east is a real hoot and we’re looking forward to being part of that.”
As is always the case, Scott expects tough competition from a strong field at Scotties, featuring a handful of the country’s elite rinks.
Among them are longtime rival Jennifer Jones of Team Canada, Alberta’s Shannon Kleibrink, Amber Holland of Saskatchewan, and Cathy Overton-Clapham of Manitoba.
Scott’s past experiences at nationals, combined with another solid season on the World Cup circuit, should also make her a serious contender for the team’s first Canadian title in four years.
Scott’s performance last month at the B.C. championship was particularly encouraging as the Kelowna curlers battled through some adversity and close games to emerge with their fourth provincial title in seven seasons.
“We’ve worked really hard on some things this year,” said Scott. “I think everyone has had a real good, focused approach this year, and we never give up, we fight hard to the final rock. We enjoy the challenges and those close games and have thrived on that. Hopefully that will help us at the Scotties.”
Scott is joined in Charlottetown by third Jeanna Schraeder, second Sasha Carter, lead Jacquie Armstrong and fifth/alternate Shannon Aleksic. With Carter expecting her first child in mid-April, the Scott rink will monitor their second closely over the course of the week. If Carter feels she is unable to play in all the games, Aleksic is avaliable to step in at any moment.
“It’s a grueling week,” said Scott, “and Sasha will decide when she wants to play.”
The Scott rink won the 2006 and 2007 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
In 2010 in Sault Ste. Marie, the Kelowna team reached the playoffs before losing to Ontario’s Krista McCarville.
In PEI, Scott will open the Scotties on Saturday against Newfoundland/Labrador.