A capsule look at teams competing in the Canadian women's curling championship

·6 min read

CALGARY — A capsule look at the 18 teams competing in the Canadian women's curling championship Feb. 19-28 in Calgary (team members listed skip to lead). Teams listed in alphabetical order in their pools:

POOL A

ALBERTA

Laura Walker, Kate Cameron, Taylor McDonald, Rachel Brown.

Saville Community Sports Centre, Edmonton

Walker finished outside the championship pool in 2020 at 3-4 in her Hearts debuts. Pregnant lead Nadine Scotland has opted out of Calgary's curling bubble. Replacement Rachel Brown was Chelsea Carey's lead in the 2020 Hearts.

CANADA

Kerri Einarson, Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard, Briane Meilleur.

Gimli Curling Club, Gimli, Man.

Einarson captured her first Hearts crown in Moose Jaw, Sask., but couldn't represent Canada in the women's world curling championship cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two-time Canadian champion Heather Nedohin is coaching Einarson in Calgary.

NORTHERN ONTARIO

Krysta Burns, Megan Smith, Sara Guy, Amanda Gates

Idylwylde Golf and Country Club, Sudbury, Ont.

Perennial Hearts playoff contender Krista McCarville declined her association's invitation to represent the region, so the entry went to last year's Northern Ontario runner-up Burns. The 2017 Canadian university champion with Laurentian makes her Hearts debut.

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Kerry Galusha, Jo-Ann Rizzo, Margot Flemming, Shona Barbour.

Yellowknife Curling Centre.

Galusha's 14th year calling the shots for N.W.T. ranks third in all-time Hearts appearances by a skip behind Nova Scotia's Colleen Jones (18) and Manitoba's Jennifer Jones (16). Hampered by a painful gluteal muscle last year in Moose Jaw, Galusha threw second stones and hinted at retirement, but her team beat two others to win N.W.T. playdowns this year.

NOVA SCOTIA

Jill Brothers, Erin Carmody, Jennifer Brine, Emma Logan.

Mayflower Curling Club, Halifax.

Brothers received Nova Scotia's invitation as the top-ranked women's team in the province. Second Sarah Murphy opted out so Emma Logan, who played lead for aunt Mary-Anne Arsenault in Moose Jaw last year, draws into the lineup.

ONTARIO

Rachel Homan, Emma Miskew, Sarah Wilkes, Joanne Courtney.

Ottawa Curling Club

Homan dropped longtime lead Lisa Weagle and recruited Sarah Wilkes in the off-season. Wilkes, who won the 2019 Hearts playing third for Carey, is throwing second stones while Courtney shifts to lead. Homan, Wilkes and Courtney all live in Alberta, but were born in Ontario and can represent the province under Curling Canada's birthright rule.

WILD CARD 2

Mackenzie Zacharias, Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias, Lauren Lenentine.

Altona Curling Club, Altona, Man.

The three wild-card berths were determined by position in the Canadian team ranking system (CTRS) in 2019-20. Reigning Canadian and world junior champion Zacharias ranked 11th. Burgess is a three-time world junior champion.

WILD CARD 3

Beth Peterson, Jenna Loder, Katherine Doerksen, Brittany Tran.

Assiniboine Curling Club, Winnipeg.

Peterson's foursome ranked 12th in the CTRS. The increase in the number of wild card teams in 2021 has turned the Hearts into an unofficial Manitoba provincial championship with five entries from that province.

YUKON

Laura Eby, Lorna Spenner, Tamar Vandenberghe, Laura Williamson.

Whitehorse Curling Club

One of the few teams who participated in a playdown to gain Hearts entry, Eby downed Patty Wallingham in a best-of-five series that went the distance at the Whitehorse Curling Club. Eby and teammates will make their Hearts debuts.

POOL B

BRITISH COLUMBIA

Corryn Brown, Erin Pincott, Dezaray Hawes, Samantha Fisher.

McArthur Island Curling Club, Kamloops, B.C.

Brown reached the championship round and lost in a tiebreaker to Nova Scotia in her Hearts debut in 2020. She won a Canadian junior women's title in 2013.

MANITOBA

Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jocelyn Peterman, Lisa Weagle.

St. Vital Curling Club, Winnipeg.

Jones could go in the record books as the only curler to win seven Canadian women's titles. She's tied at six with former teammate Jill Officer and Colleen Jones. In a major off-season shakeup, Jones recruited Weagle to form a five-woman team when Ontario's Homan dropped the all-star lead. Weagle draws into the lineup for Jones' pregnant lead Dawn Askin.

NEW BRUNSWICK

Melissa Adams, Jaclyn Tingley, Nicole Bishop, Kendra Lister.

Capital Winter Club, Fredericton.

A former Canadian and world junior champion, Adams previously skipped New Brunswick in 2017 when her team lost the pre-qualifying tournament final.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

Sarah Hill, Beth Hamilton, Lauren Barron, Adrienne Mercer.

RE/MAX Centre, St. John's.

Hill had to win a provincial title to get to Calgary, albeit against just one team. Her foursome defeated MacKenzie Mitchell 3-0 in a best-of-five series. Hill will make her Hearts debut. Hamilton makes her fourth appearance.

NUNAVUT

Lori Eddy, Sadie Pinksen, Alison Griffin, Kaitlin MacDonald.

Iqaluit Curling Club.

Eddy's 2-5 record in Moose Jaw didn't reflect how tough an opponent Nunavut was. The team lost to the defending champions 6-5 and upset Northern Ontario 6-5.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

Suzanne Birt, Marie Christianson, Meaghan Hughes, Michelle McQuaid.

Montague Curling Club, Cornwall Curling Club, Montague and Cornwall, P.E.I.

Birt ties for fourth in all-time in appearances by a skip with 12 alongside Sue Anne Bartlett of Newfoundland and Labrador. Birt won bronze and posted a 10-3 record in her Hearts debut in 2003.

QUEBEC

Laurie St-Georges, Hailey Armstrong, Emily Riley, Cynthia St-Georges.

Club de curling Laval sur la lac, Glenmore Curling Club, Laval, Que.,

Quebec's provincial runners-up last year accepted their federation's invitation to compete in Calgary's bubble. All four will make their Hearts debuts.

SASKATCHEWAN

Sherry Anderson, Nancy Martin, Chaelynn Kitz, Breanne Knapp.

Nutana Curling Club, Saskatoon.

Anderson was Saskatchewan's selection as the highest-ranking team over the last two years of provincial playdowns. Robyn Silvernagle's rink defeated Anderson in the final both years, but Silvernagle retained just two members of her team. Three of four is required to be recognized as an intact team. Anderson is a two-time world senior women's champion.

WILD CARD 1

Chelsea Carey, Selena Njegovan, Liz Fyfe, Kristin MacCuish.

East St. Paul Curling Club, Winnipeg.

This is Tracy Fleury's team, but the skip opted out to be with daughter, Nina, who is receiving treatment for a medical condition. Carey is a native Manitoban, but won Hearts titles in 2016 and 2019 skipping Alberta. Fleury's foursome at No. 2 in the CTRS is the highest among teams not representing a province or territory.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2021.

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Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press