A first-draw clash of defending Canadian champions will kick off the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, it was announced today by Curling Canada.
Reigning Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion Kerri Einarson and Team Canada (Gimli) will play Mackenzie Zacharias’s Team Wild Card #2 (Altona), the reigning Canadian and World junior champions, in an all-Manitoba battle on Feb. 19 at 8:30 p.m. (all times Eastern) at the Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
The 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, which will celebrate 40 years of title sponsorship by Kruger Products, opens on Friday, Feb. 19, with 18 teams competing to win the Canadian women’s curling championship inside the Calgary bubble.
The field was expanded to 18 teams for this year only to accommodate some teams that didn’t get an opportunity to compete for their provincial or territorial championship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The teams will be separated into two pools of nine, seeded based on their final standing in the 2019-20 Canadian Team Ranking System.
They will play a full round robin within their respective pools, and then the top four teams in each pool will move on to the Championship Pool, and play four more games against the teams from the other pool. Their preliminary pool records will be carried forward.
From there, the top three teams will make the playoffs; the first-place team after the Championship Pool will go straight to the gold-medal game (Feb. 28, 8:30 p.m.), while the second- and third-place teams will meet in the semifinal (Feb. 28, 2:30 p.m.)
The familiar four-team Page Playoff format couldn’t be used because it takes two extra draws, and with the field expansion, there wasn’t time available in the schedule, and it would have forced teams to play more games in a limited amount of time.
Here’s a look at how the two pools set up:
(teams listed according to seeding, and listed in order of skip, vice-skip, second, lead, alternate, coach/High Performance Consultant)
1. Team Canada, Kerri Einarson (Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard, Briane Meilleur, Krysten Karwacki, Heather Nedohin; Gimli)
4. Ontario, Rachel Homan (Emma Miskew, Sarah Wilkes, Joanne Courtney, Danielle Inglis, Randy Ferbey; Ottawa)
5. Alberta, Laura Walker (Kate Cameron, Taylor McDonald, Nadine Scotland, Shannon Pynn; Edmonton)
8. Wild Card #2, Mackenzie Zacharias (Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias, Lauren Lenentine, Rachel Erickson, Sheldon Zacharias; Altona, Man.)
9. Wild Card #3, Beth Peterson (Jenna Loder, Katherine Doerksen, Melissa Gordon, Cathy Overton-Clapham; Winnipeg)
12. Northwest Territories, Kerry Galusha (Jo-Ann Rizzo, Margot Flemming, Shona Barbour, Jim Waite; Yellowknife)
13. Nova Scotia, Jill Brothers (Erin Carmody, Jennifer Brine, Emma Logan, Kim Kelly, Daryell Nowlan; Halifax)
16. Northern Ontario, Krysta Burns (Megan Smith, Sara Guy, Amanda Gates, Kira Brunton, Rodney Guy; Sudbury)
17. Yukon, Laura Eby (Lorna Spenner, Tamar Vandenberghe, Laura Williamson, Darlene Gammel, Scott Williamson; Whitehorse)
2. Wild Card #1, Tracy Fleury (NOTE – Tracy Fleury will not be participating; Chelsea Carey to skip; Selena Njegovan, Liz Fyfe, Kristin MacCuish, Clancy Grandy, Sherry Middaugh; East St. Paul, Man.)
3. Manitoba, Jennifer Jones (Kaitlyn Lawes, Jocelyn Peterman, Lisa Weagle, Raunora Westcott, Viktor Kjell; Winnipeg)
6. British Columbia, Corryn Brown (Erin Pincott, Dez Hawes, Samantha Fisher, Stephanie Jackson-Baier, Allison MacInnes; Kamloops)
7. Prince Edward Island, Suzanne Birt (Marie Christianson, Meaghan Hughes, Michelle McQuaid, Kathy O’Rourke, Mitch O’Shea; Montague)
10. Saskatchewan, Sherry Anderson (Nancy Martin, Chaelynn Kitz, Breanne Knapp, Amber Holland, Shane Kitz; Saskatoon)
11. Quebec, Laurie St-Georges (Hailey Armstrong, Emily Riley, Cynthia St-Georges, Florence Boivin, Michel St-Georges; Laval)
14. New Brunswick, Melissa Adams (Jaclyn Tingley, Nicole Bishop, Kendra Lister, Monique Massé; Fredericton)
15. Nunavut, Lori Eddy (Sadie Pinksen, Alison Griffin, Kaitlin MacDonald, Donalda Mattie; Iqaluit)
18. Newfoundland/Labrador, Sarah Hill (Beth Hamilton, Lauren Barron, Adrienne Mercer, Brooke Godsland; St. John’s)
CLICK HERE to check the schedule for the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.