Kamloops’ Team Thompson is among the teams who will begin curling at the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Grande Prairie ahead of the majority of teams.
B.C. will be playing in a pre-qualifying round with the two teams who didn’t advance from last year’s pre-qualifying round, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, as well as Nunavut, who are playing in the pre-qualifying round for the first time.
B.C. is in this round because of the province’s 12th place finish last year.
Karla Thompson, third Kristen Recksiedler, second Tracey Lavery, lead Trysta Vandale, fifth Sasha Carter and coach Garry Van Den Berghe will play against the Northwest Territories’ Kerry Galusha (Yellowknife), the Yukon’s Nicole Baldwin (Whitehorse) and Nunavut’s Geneva Chislett (Iqaluit). They will play a single round-robin at Revolution Place, with the teams with the two best records advancing to the play-in game, which will be contested Saturday, Feb. 20, at 12:30 p.m. PT, concurrent with the opening draw of the Scotties round-robin. A tiebreaker, if necessary, would be played Saturday, Feb. 20, at 7 a.m. PT.
Should the team advance to the pre-qualification final, that will take place on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. PT at the same time as the first draws in the regular round robin.
When regular play starts, Jennifer Jones, playing as Team Canada, and her teammate Jill Officer will take aim at their record-tying sixth gold medals.
They would join the legendary Colleen Jones as the only six-time winners of the Canadian women’s curling championship, and they have a chance also to become the first team to put together back-to-back victories on two separate occasions.
Jones, along with third Kaitlyn Lawes, Officer at second, lead Dawn McEwen, alternate Jennifer Clark-Rouire and coach Wendy Morgan, will be in action against the home-province hopeful Chelsea Carey of Calgary when the 2016 Scotties kicks off.
Jones and Officer won their first Scotties together in 2005 at St. John’s. With McEwen added to the lineup, they won three straight, from 2008 through 2010. And then, with Lawes coming aboard, they won last year’s title in Moose Jaw, Sask.
In addition to a Canadian title and the right to represent Canada at the 2016 Ford World Women’s Championship, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, March 19-27 in Swift Current, Sask., this year’s Scotties also has Olympic implications.
Should the Scotties winner win a medal at the Ford Worlds, the team will qualify for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials in Ottawa — the event that will decide Canada’s four-player teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The schedule for the pre-qualifying round:
Thursday, Feb. 18
7 p.m. — Nunavut vs. B.C.; Northwest Territories vs. Yukon
Friday, Feb. 19
7:30 a.m. — B.C. vs. Yukon; Nunavut vs. Northwest Territories
4:20 p.m. — Yukon vs. Nunavut; B.C. vs. Northwest Territories
Saturday, Feb. 20
8 a.m. — Tiebreaker (if necessary)
1:30 p.m. — Pre-qualifying final
The teams in the main draw will play an 11-game round-robin draw that will conclude on Friday, Feb. 26.
The top four teams will make the Page playoff round, which sees the first- and second-place teams playing for a berth in the final, which is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m.. The third- and fourth-place teams will also meet, with the winner moving onto the semifinal on Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m.. The loser of the three-four game will play the semifinal loser in the bronze-medal game on Feb. 28 at 1:30 p.m.
TSN/RDS2, the official broadcaster of Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide extensive coverage of the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, with 66 hours of live broadcasts scheduled.
The 2016 Scotties marks the 35th year of Kruger Products Limited’s sponsorship of the Canadian women’s championship.