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Alberta’s tough sledding to Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Curling: Getting through stiff Alberta competition is half the battle
Alberta’s Laine Peters, here coming out of the hack at the 2016 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling in Okotoks, won Scotties Tournament of Hearts national championships in both 2012 and 2016. (Brent Calver/Western Wheel)

To be the best you have to beat the best.

Alberta is known as one of the deepest and most competitive provinces in men’s and women’s curling, but those who make it out of the wild rose country tend to do damage on the national stage.

Since the establishment of the 1982 Scott Tournament of Hearts (re-branded as the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in 2007), Alberta representatives have four national Scotties titles to their credit.

However, three of those four national championships have occurred this decade with Alberta boasting more titles since 2010 than any other province. Manitoba, Ontario and Team Canada all have two titles while Saskatchewan has one during that timeframe.

Cathy Borst, who owns the record with six provincial championships to her credit, parlayed her provincial win at the 1998 Alberta Scotties in Okotoks into the national Scott championship that same year.

More recently, Heather Nedohin won the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts championship before Chelsea Carey doubled down on the feat in both 2016 and 2019.

Carey, the defending champion, will not be competing at the Alberta Scotties and will instead form Team Canada at the 2020 Scotties Tournament of Hearts – held this year in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan from Feb. 15-23.

Getting to nationals is half the battle.

Over the past 10 years there are six different provincial champions out of Alberta including the likes of Carey, Nedohin, Okotokian Shannon Kleibrink, Val Sweeting, Kristie Moore and 2018 Alberta Scotties winner Casey Scheidegger – the latter two will be competing for another provincial patch in Okotoks.

Other confirmed rinks for the Okotoks event are Edmonton’s Team Rocque and Team Skrlik out of Calgary’s Glencoe Curling Club.

The remaining five teams will be determined from provincial playdowns, held Dec. 20-22 at the Calgary Curling Club and at the Jasper Place Curling Club from Jan. 10-12.

The 2020 Alberta Scotties runs from Jan. 22-26 at the Okotoks Recreation Centre.

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