Expect the most relaxed version yet of the Kelly Scott rink to take to the ice this weekend in Red Deer at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
The experience and wisdom gained from six previous trips to the Canadian women’s curling championship—and adding second and vice-skip Dailene Sivertson this season—has helped the Scott team put the game into a new perspective.
“This year had been a big year of adjustment for us with a new player, but it’s been mostly about making sure we’re having fun out there,” said Scott, who won the national title in 2006 and 2007. “It’s exciting for Dailene who has never been before and we’re really excited for her.
“We’re pleased with our success in past years,” Scott said, “but we feel don’t have to prove ourselves anymore, we can just go out and play without pressure. We’ll go play our hearts out, enjoy it, and see what happens. We’re loose, and in a really good head space.”
It was the same placid approach that helped the Scott team win its third straight B.C. women’s title late last month in North Vancouver.
Along with the addition of Sivertson, a former B.C. junior champ, the Scott team made another significant move this season with the departure of Jeanna Schraeder. After a decade of throwing second rocks, Scott’s longtime teammate, Sasha Carter, moved into the third slot.
“Any time you have a new third, it’s big adjustment, you have heavy shoes to wear in supporting the skip,” said Scott, whose rink also features lead Jacquie Armstrong. “Seeing Sasha’s shots right before me has been a huge benefit in our shot-making.
“It’s also been a big adjustment in how we approach games, do I go to Dailene or do I go to Sasha to talk about strategy ? It’s a credit to all the team members in that nobody comes with an ego, we all work together. It’s been great.”
Teamwork will be crucial in Red Deer as once again many of the best rinks in the country will be vying for the 2012 Scotties title.
Included in the 12-rink field is Team Canada’s Amber Holland, Jennifer Jones of Manitoba, Heather Smith-Dacey of Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan’s Michelle Englot, Tracy Horgan of Ontario, and Alberta’s Heather Nedohin.
“There are lots of familiar faces,” said Scott, who lost a tiebreaker to Smith-Dacey at last year’s nationals in PEI. “Last year at Scotties there was a bit of a youth movement, some of those teams are back, so there’s a pretty good blend of younger teams and experienced teams. That always makes it exciting.”
The fifth-player for the Scott team is Sherry Fraser, while their coach is Gerry Richard.
The B.C. champs open play Saturday in Red Deer against Quebec’s Marie-France Larouche.
Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Feb. 18 to 26 in Red Deer.
Kelly Scott, B.C.
Amber Holland, Team Canada
Kelly Galusha, Northwest Territories
Heather Nedohin, Alberta
Michelle Englot, Saskatchewan
Jennifer Jones, Manitoba
Tracy Horgan, Ontario
Marie-France Larouche, Quebec
Rebecca Atkinson, New Brunswick
Heather Smith-Dacey, Nova Scotia
Kim Dolan, P.E.I.
Heather Strong, Nfld., and Labrador