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Jan 26, 2015

2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Preview

The 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts starts Saturday from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Rachel Homan and her Ottawa rink will once again represent Team Canada at this year's national championship and will go for their third consecutive Scotties title. You can catch all the action live throughout the week on TSN.

Homan, Sweeting, Jones

By Ryan Horne, TSN.ca Staff

The 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts is set to go Feb. 14-22 from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

Rachel Homan and her Ottawa rink will once again represent Team Canada at this year's national championship and will go for their third consecutive Scotties title. Her competition will be strong with the likes of Olympic champ Jennifer Jones returning to the tournament and Alberta skip Val Sweeting looking to avenge her defeat in the 2014 finals. The rest of the field includes teams that should give the top contenders a run for their money as well.

The 2015 Scotties will have a slightly different look to it as three rinks (Northern Ontario, Northwest Territories and Yukon) will battle each other in a pre-qualifier to determine the last spot for the main draw.

The Scotties winner will represent Canada at the 2015 women's world championships in Sapporo, Japan from March 14-22.

You can catch all the action live throughout the week on TSN and you can follow the latest news on TSN.ca. Draw 1 starts Valentine’s Day at 3pm et/12 pm pt on TSN1, TSN3, TSN4 and TSN5. 

 

 

Top Contenders

Team Homan
Team Homan - Canada (@TeamHoman)

Lead: Lisa Weagle Second: Joanne Courtney Third: Emma Miskew Skip: Rachel Homan

The Numbers

  • WCT Earning
    $65,608
  • WCT Rank
    3rd
  • CTRS Points
    141.788
  • CTRS Rank
    3rd
  • Appearances
    4

Scotties Outlook

Rachel Homan and her Ottawa rink will look to join elite company in Moose Jaw. Only three teams have won the Canadian championship in back-to-back-to-back years. Vera Pezer of Saskatchewan won from 1971-73, then Colleen Jones of Nova Scotia won four in a row from 2001-2004 and finally Jennifer Jones took three consecutive Scotties titles from 2008-2010. Joining that group of curlers will be quite the career achievement for the foursome who has an average age of just 26. Team Homan has yet to win an event on the World Curling Tour this season as they've lost in four finals including the Canada Cup to Val Sweeting and the Autumn Gold Curling Classic to Jennifer Jones. Sweeting and Jones will likely be Homan's toughest competition at the 2015 Scotties. Despite the first place finishes being non-existent this season, Homan has still raked in a good chunk of cash, as she sits third on WCT money list and also won $52, 000 at the TSN Skins Game. The team will have a new second at this year's tournament as Joanne Courtney, formerly of Team Sweeting, joined Homan's squad after Alison Kreviazuk moved to Sweden in the off-season.  

Jennifer Jones
Team Jones - Manitoba (@TeamJJonesCurl)

Lead: Dawn McEwen Second: Jill Officer Third: Kaitlyn Lawes Skip: Jennifer Jones

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    $72,855
  • WCT Rank
    1st
  • CTRS Points
    173.105
  • CTRS Rank
    1st
  • Appearances
    11

Scotties Outlook

Jennifer Jones is making her return to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts after missing the event in 2014 as she and her squad from Winnipeg were too busy winning gold for Canada at the Sochi Olympics. Well the 40-year-old Jones is back after going undefeated at the Manitoba Scotties and is looking to capture her fifth career Canadian championship. A victory would be extra special for 26-year-old Kaitlyn Lawes who replaced vice Cathy Overton-Clapham in 2010, a season after the team’s last Scotties title. Team Jones has had a very good year so far, winning three events on the WCT including the Autumn Gold Curling Classic in Calgary and the Karuizawa International in Japan. Jones should be a lock to make the playoff round and will be a tough challenge for the defending champs in Team Homan.

Team Sweeting Celebrates
Team Sweeting - Alberta (@SweetingTeam)

Lead: Rachelle Brown Second: Dana Ferguson Third: Lori Olson-Johns Skip: Val Sweeting

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    $69,950
  • WCT Rank
    2nd
  • CTRS Points
    169.430
  • CTRS Rank
    2nd
  • Appearances
    3

Scotties Outlook

Val Sweeting had arguably the toughest road to the Scotties this year. Playing in the Alberta provincials, she had to beat rinks led by the likes of Chelsea Carey, Shannon Kleibrink, Heather Nedohin and Crystal Webster. The 27-year-old ran the table with a 5-0 record including a 9-7 victory over Carey in the finals, punching her second straight ticket to the Scotties. Sweeting fell to Homan in the 2014 finals in Montreal. The Edmonton foursome has had an interesting season to date with Andrea Crawford, the curler brought in to replace Joanne Courtney, leaving the team the night before the first Grand Slam of the year in October. Cathy Overton-Clapham filled the void as they found their groove pretty quickly, winning The Masters a few days later. Sweeting also got revenge of sorts when she beat Team Homan in the Canada Cup final, this time with her now full-time vice Lori Olson-Johns contributing. Team Sweeting appears to be ready to capture their first Scotties title in 2015.

Dark Horses

Stefanie Lawton
Team Lawton - Saskatchewan (@stef_lawton)

Lead: Marliese Kasner Second: Sherri Singler Third: Sherry Anderson Skip: Stefanie Lawton

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    $8,250
  • WCT Rankings
    35th
  • CTRS Points
    28.400
  • CTRS Rank
    15th
  • Appearances
    4

Scotties Outlook

Stefanie Lawton will have the crowd behind her at these Scotties as the 34-year-old Saskatoon skip will play in front of her home province. Lawton has missed most of the season due to the birth of her son in October, but is back and ready to go. Lawton lost only once during the provincial playdowns in Assiniboia and defeated Michelle Englot in the final to punch her ticket to a second consecutive national championship. She finished fourth last year in Montreal and could improve on that rank with the hometown support.

Team Arsenault
Team Arsenault - Nova Scotia (@TeamArsenault)

Lead: Jennifer Baxter Second: Jane Snyder Third: Christina Black Skip: Mary-Anne Arsenault

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    $5,475
  • WCT Rank
    50th
  • CTRS Points
    6.500
  • CTRS Rank
    46th
  • Appearances
    12

Scotties Outlook

Mary-Anne Arsenault is no stranger to the Scotties Tournament of Heats as she'll be making her 12th appearance at the Canadian championship in Moose Jaw. She won five titles in six years from 1999-2004, playing second for Colleen Jones. Arsenault defeated Theresa Breen in the Nova Scotia final. The 46-year-old started her own rink in 2007 and has appeared in two Scotties since. She finished sixth in 2008 and seventh in 2013. It might be tough, but Arsenault could find herself in the playoff round if she can find her groove. 

Team Hastings
Team Hastings - Ontario (@Team_Hastings)

Lead: Katrina Collins Second: Stacey Smith Third: Christy Trombley Skip: Julie Hastings

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    $15,600
  • WCT Rank
    18th
  • CTRS Points
    55.525
  • CTRS Rank
    9th
  • Appearances
    1

Scotties Outlook

Julie Hastings of North York will make her first appearance of her long curling career at the Scotties in 2015. She beat Sherry Middaugh in the finals of the Ontario Scotties after losing to Allison Flaxey in last year’s final. The foursome is having their best season to date, winning twice on the WCT including the KW Fall Classic and Stroud Sleeman Cash Spiel. The 39-year-old might just ride that momentum into a playoff spot at nationals, but it surely won’t be easy. 

The Field

Team Heather Strong
Team Strong - Newfoundland/Labrador (@Heather197276)

Lead: Kathryn Cooper Second: Jessica Cunningham Third: Stephanie Korab Skip: Heather Strong

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    NA
  • WCT Rank
    NA
  • CTRS Points
    NA
  • CTRS Rankings
    NA
  • Appearances
    12

Scotties Outlook

Heather Strong defeated Stephanie Guzwell 6-4 in the provincial final and will wear Newfoundland's colours for the 12th time in her career at this year's Scotties. She hasn't had much success at this tournament in the past though, as she's never reached a podium or made the playoff round.

Team Patti Knezevic
Team Knezevic - British Columbia (@TeamKnezevic)

Lead: Rhonda Camozzi Second: Jen Rusnell Third: Kristen Fewster Skip: Patti Knezevic

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    $100
  • WCT Rank
    145th
  • CTRS Points
    4.000
  • CTRS Rank
    53rd
  • Appearances
    2

Scotties Outlook

Patti Knezevic will play in the Scotties for a second consecutive year, this time with her very own rink. The Prince George skip was an alternate for Kesa Van Osch’s BC team in 2014, and even played in two games when Osch was stricken with an illness, but Knezevic will lead her own foursome this time around. She went a perfect 5-0 in the BC Scotties and bettered Sarah Wark by a score of 5-3 in the finals. Knezevic lost in the province’s championship game in both 2005 and 2013.

Team Lauren Mann
Team Mann - Quebec (@TeamMann)

Lead: Anne-Marie Filteau Second: Brittany O’Rourke Third: Amélie Blais Skip: Lauren Mann

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    $2,200
  • WCT Rank
    76th
  • CTRS Points
    18.008
  • CTRS Rank
    27th
  • Appearances
    1

Scotties Outlook

Montreal skip Lauren Mann will make her Scotties debut in Moose Jaw as her rink won eight of 10 games in the Quebec playdowns in Victoriaville, defeating Roxanne Perron 10-6 in the final. Brittany O’Rourke, the team’s second, represented Quebec at the past two Scotties as part of Allison Ross’ rink.

Team Birt
Team Birt - Prince Edward Island (@suzannebirt)

Lead: Susan McInnis Second: Michelle McQuaid Third: Shelly Bradley Skip: Suzanne Birt

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    NA
  • WCT Ranks
    NA
  • CTRS Points
    NA
  • CTRS Rank
    NA
  • Appearances
    8

Scotties Outlook

Charlottetown's Suzanne Birt qualified for her eighth Scotties Tournament of Hearts when she topped Kathy O'Rourke in the provincial final in Summerside. The 33-year-old won the World Junior Curling championship in 2001 and grabbed the bronze at the 2003 Scotties in Kitchener. Birt's foursome has only played in two events on the World Curling Tour this season, failing to advance to the playoff round in both.

Team Robichaud
Team Robichaud - New Brunswick (@RobichaudTeam)

Lead: Jane Boyle Second: Marie Richard Third: Rebecca Atkinson Skip: Sylvie Robichaud

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    NA
  • WCT Rank
    NA
  • CTRS Points
    NA
  • CTRS Rank
    NA
  • Appearances
    2

Scotties Outlook

Moncton's Sylvie Robichaud was the last rink to qualify for the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. The foursome will make their second Canadian championship appearance after they defeated Melissa Adams of Fredericton 7-6 in the provincial final. Robichaud scored two points in the 10th and final end to secure their spot in Moose Jaw. Her previous appearance at the Scotties was in 2008 when her rink finished dead last with a record of 1-10.

The Qualifiers

Team Horgan
Team Horgan - Northern Ontario (@TeamHorgan)

Lead: Amanda Gates Second: Jenna Enge Third: Jennifer Horgan Skip: Tracy Horgan

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    $21,641
  • WCT Ranks
    15th
  • CTRS Points
    54.360
  • CTRS Rank
    10th
  • Appearances
    2

Scotties Outlook

Tracy Horgan and her Sudbury rink will be the first representatives from Northern Ontario in Scotties' history this year. Horgan has made one prior appearance at the national championship, in 2012, when she sported Ontario colours. The team finished with a 4-7 record in that year's tournament. The 28-year-old is having a very solid season to date, grabbing two victories on the WCT including the DEKALB Superspiel where she beat reigning Olympic champion Jennifer Jones in the final in her home province of Manitoba. She beat Kendra Lilly in the Northern Ontario finals. Horgan will have to beat both the Northwest Territories and Yukon to qualify for the main draw, but if she does that, Horgan could be a dark horse in Moose Jaw.

Team Koltun
Team Koltun - Yukon (@SarahKoltun)

Lead: Jenna Duncan Second: Patty Wallingham Third: Chelsea Duncan Skip: Sarah Koltun

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    $700
  • WCT Rank
    116th
  • CTRS Points
    0.825
  • CTRS Rank
    83rd
  • Appearances
    2

Scotties Outlook

Sarah Koltun’s rink will be the youngest at this year’s Scotties. At the age of just 21, Koltun will be making her second career appearance at the national championship in Moose Jaw. Last year she finished tied for last place with a 2-9 record and should improve on that if she qualifies for the main draw. The Whitehorse skip has played in five events this season, failing to advance to the playoff round in any of them. Koltun is in prime position to be a competitive rink for years to come.

Team Galusha
Team Galusha - Northwest Territories (@kkoeyk)

Lead: Shona Barbour Second: Danielle Derry Third: Megan Cormier Skip: Kerry Galusha

The Numbers

  • WCT Earnings
    $875
  • WCT Rank
    110th
  • CTRS Points
    NA
  • CTRS Rank
    NA
  • Appearances
    12

Scotties Outlook

Kerry Galusha, the sister of curlers Kevin and Jamie Koe, will be vying for her 12th appearance at the Scotties in the qualification round. The Yellowknife skip has played in two tournaments this year, failing to get by the quarterfinals in each.

TSN will air the Sandra Schmirler Day Breakfast fundraising telethon throughout the second day of the Scotties on Feb. 15. The Sandra Schmirler Foundation was created in 2001 in memory of the legendary Canadian curler who passed away at the age of 36 due to cancer in 2000. The foundation’s mandate is to care for premature and critically ill newborn babies through donations to neonatal care across Canada. For more information on the Sandra Schmirler Foundation and how you can participate in the telethon, visit http://www.sandraschmirler.org/english/.