2016 BC Scotties kick off in Coquitlam

The top eight women’s curling teams in the province have come to Coquitlam to battle for the B.C. title.

The 2016 Scotties BC Women’s Curling Championship, presented by Best Western, takes place at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex in Coquitlam starting today.

The winning team will represent B.C. at the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian Women’s Curling Championship in Grand Prairie from February 18-20.

Among the field is six-time B.C. champion, Kelly Scott, who is representing Kelowna Curling Club. Her team of third Shannon Aleksic and lead Sarah Pyke is joined by new team member Jenna Loder for the 2015-16 season.

Also among the teams in Coquitlam is Patti Knezevic’s Prince George rink, who are returning to the BC Scotties as defending champions.

Team Gushulak, from Royal City Curling Club, is sure to attract a lot of crowd support, with the team featuring Coquitlam curler Jessie Sanderson.

Team Thompson, meanwhile, is skipped by Karla Thompson, nee Sparks, who wore the B.C. crown back in 2008 when she was third on Team Allison MacInnes.

The event also features a team made up of four sisters who curl together. The Kamloops Curling Club team of skip Amanda Russett, third Crista Sanbrooks, second Ashley Nordin and lead Courtney Karwandy is coached by their mom Brenda Nordin. Their fifth is unrelated player Barbara Zbeetnoff.

Host committee co-chair Earlene Graham said: “The host committee of Coquitlam looks forward to welcoming curlers and curling fans to ‘our house’. Come and enjoy our top women’s teams compete and enjoy a week of great curling!”

Curl BC CEO Scott Braley said: “Curl BC is delighted to bring the 2016 Scotties BC Women’s Curling Championship to Coquitlam where we know the volunteers do such a great job of hosting events. We also look forward to working with Sportsnet for the third year in a row – we know they will do a fantastic job of showcasing BC’s best female curlers.”

The Coquitlam event is an 8-team round robin format with page playoffs. The top three teams will be featured on television – the semi final will air at 11 a.m. on Sunday, January 24, on Sportsnet Pacific, and the final will air at 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 24, on Sportsnet One.