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History, redemption on the line with Scotties Tournament of Hearts’ championship weekend

Jennifer Jones Jennifer Jones - The Canadian Press

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – After a week-long journey, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts have been narrowed down to its final four teams.

In Friday afternoon’s playoff action, Nova Scotia edged out Ontario while Manitoba topped British Columbia to punch their tickets to the page playoffs, joining Canada and Northern Ontario, who clinched their spots after finishing atop their pools in round robin play. 

The page seeding round went Friday night with three-time defending champions Team Kerri Einarson dropping their first game of the week to a red-hot Manitoba squad led by Jennifer Jones. 

In the other match, 2022 Scotties finalist Team Krista McCarville got the better of Christina Black and her Nova Scotia side. 

As a result, McCarville and Jones will go head-to-head in the 1 vs. 2-page playoff game while Einarson and Black are set for the 3 vs. 4-game.

Let’s take a closer look at the final four and the storylines for each rink. 


Northern Ontario - Team Krista McCarville

Northern Ontario Krista McCarville

Is this the year for Krista McCarville’s crew out of Fort William Curling Club in Thunder Bay?

The 2022 Scotties finalists kicked off the week last Saturday with a win over Manitoba’s Team Jones and have been one of the most consistent teams in Kamloops with the only bump in the road coming in a Draw 6 loss to Rachel Homan’s rink from Ontario.

The 14th-seeded rink went 7-1 in pool play to earn the top spot in Pool B.

They’ll play Team Jones in the 1 vs. 2 game after defeating Nova Scotia, 6-3, in the page seeding round Friday night. 

“Coming in here we’re super well rested, we’ve been working really hard practicing,” said McCarville after the win. “Every team has as well, but we keep gaining momentum, we’re reading the ice well, I feel like we’re getting our draw weight well. I hope we have the edge, but you never know.”

You can catch the 1 vs. 2- game between Northern Ontario and Manitoba Saturday night at 9pm ET/6pm PT on TSN1 and streaming on or the TSN App. 

The 40-year-old skip said this week that the team made some tweaks in the off-season, including putting an emphasis on their drawing game, following last year’s loss in the Scotties final to Team Einarson.

“I think overall we’re doing very well with reading the ice and throwing our draws,” said McCarville. “We’ve worked really, really hard on our draw weight this year. We’re really focusing on our leg kick and drive.”

Team McCarville are no strangers to the Scotties playoffs.

Since joining forces in 2015, McCarville, third Kendra Lilly, second Ashley Sippala and lead Sarah Potts have been perennial contenders at the annual national championship, reaching the final four in each of their six appearances with final losses in 2016 and 2022.

In between their losses in the title matches, Team McCarville was eliminated by Team Homan in 2017, 2019 and 2020.

“This has been our eighth year together, so we know each other. We know how we throw, we know off-ice, on-ice, I think we know each other so well that I think that helps,” said McCarville.

Since 2013, Kerri Einarson, Homan, Jones and Chelsea Carey are the skips to lead their teams to victory at the Hearts championship.

McCarville and Northern Ontario are in good position to change that narrative in Kamloops.


Manitoba – Team Jennifer Jones

One of the top storylines all week has been Jennifer Jones and her pursuit of history. 

With a win Sunday evening at Sandman Centre, the Winnipegger would pass Colleen Jones for the most Scotties titles of all-time with seven. 

“It’s never really been about the records for me,” said Jones. “For me, I always thought I’d look back at my career and then you kind of think of the records. Right now, we’re in the moment and it would be great to represent Canada another time.”

Team Jones missed out on the top seed in Pool B after dropping their opening to Team McCarville last weekend. 

They haven’t lost since, winning nine in a row. 

She’ll get a chance at some payback against McCarville Saturday night in the 1 vs. 2-game after Manitoba topped Canada, 7-6, in Friday’s page seeding game. 

You can catch the 1 vs. 2- game between Northern Ontario and Manitoba Saturday night at 9pm ET/6pm PT on TSN1 and streaming on or the TSN App. 

For the week, Jones, third Karlee Burgess, second Mackenzie Zacharias as well as leads Emily Zacharias and Lauren Lenentine are shooting a collective 84 per cent. 

A solid number, given that the average age of this team is 22.5 years, outside of the 48-year-old Jones. 

At the 2021 Scotties inside the Calgary bubble, Zacharias led her team of world junior champions to a 3-5 record. Last year in Thunder Bay, they blew a 5-0 lead to Team Einarson in the round robin finale before dropping the tiebreaker to Kerry Galusha’s rink from the Northwest Territories.

The savvy Jones has brought the experience and calm demeanour to this five-person rotation this season and at this year’s Tournament of Hearts. 

“We’ve learned a ton,” remarked Zacharias after clinching a spot in the playoffs. “When Jenn has to make a shot, she makes the shot like no doubt whatsoever.”

Jones’ sixth and most recent national title came in 2018, the last time the Scotties was held in British Columbia in Penticton. 

“Experience definitely help,” said Jones after Friday’s win over Canada. “We know what to expect and I hope to share my experiences with the girls, but they’ve had a lot of experiences playing in big games. I can’t be more proud with how they came out and played today.”


Canada - Team Kerri Einarson 

Kerri Einarson

A new Hearts champion will have to go through Kerri Einarson and her crew from the Gimli Curling Club in Manitoba. 

For the second consecutive year, Team Einarson won all eight of their round robin games at the Scotties, capped by a 10-2 rout of Nunavut on Thursday to earn the top seed in Pool A. 

“It’s tough,” Einarson said regarding their perfect run in the round robin. “Every team out here is an amazing team. They also work hard just like we do, so we knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. We had some really good games and we really had to fight for it.”

Team Einarson had a set back Friday night, however, losing to Manitoba in page seeding game, 7-6. As a result, they’ll face Nova Scotia in Saturday’s 3 vs. 4-game. 

You can watch the page playoff 3 vs. 4-game Saturday afternoon at 4pm ET/1pm PT on TSN 1/3/4 and streaming on or the TSN App.  

Team Einarson was in the same position at last year’s Hearts tournament in Thunder Bay. 

After running the table in pool play, they lost the page seeding round to New Brunswick’s Team Andrea Kelly, before topping Wild Card 1’s Team Tracy Fleury, New Brunswick and Northern Ontario’s Team McCarville in the page playoffs. 

Despite Friday’s loss, the three-time Canadian champions have been playing like champions this week at Sandman Centre. 

Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard, lead Briane Harris and alternate Krysten Karwacki have shot 86 per cent as a team with their captain shooting 83 per cent. 

Einarson and company can become the first team since Colleen Jones’ famed Halifax rink to win four consecutive national titles if they can get to the top of the podium by the end of the week. 

After so much success on the national stage over the past few years, it’s what they haven’t been able to do internationally which is driving Team Einarson this season.

Team Einarson won bronze at the World Women’s Curling Championship last year in Prince George, B.C., after missing the podium the season prior in the Calgary bubble. The 2020 world championships were cancelled because of COVID-19.

“I think a lot of it is love of the game and just always wanting to be better and strive to be the best in the world,” Birchard told “We have some unfinished business at the worlds and we would love to get back there and compete for that gold medal. I think that’s one of the keys things driving this team this year.”

Einarson will have hammer and the choice of rocks in the playoffs thanks to their round-robin performance.

The skip says it’s key to stay in the moment and not look ahead to a potential championship final on Sunday night.

“For us we just take one game at a time,” said Einarson. “I never actually look ahead. I don’t even know who I usually play until that morning.”


Nova Scotia – Team Christina Black 

Christina Black

Christina Black has been a problem for the competition at this year’s Scotties.

“We’ve been confident all week and we’ve been really close all week,” said Black. “Making everything basically. So, just be ourselves, just be us and keep making shots.”

The 35-year-old skip from Sydney, N.S., mounted game-winning steals in three straight must-win games to help earn the small Maritime province a spot in the page playoffs.

On Thursday night in the pool play finale, Nova Scotia scored a deuce in the ninth end to tie Quebec before stealing a single in the 10th to clinch a tiebreaker.

In the tiebreaker against Team Kaitlyn Lawes, the fourth-ranked team in Canada, Team Black played a terrific extra end, leaving Lawes with a difficult in-off for the win.

“They played fantastic. I can’t think of a shot their back end missed,” Lawes said of Black after the loss.

In the most shocking result of the week, Black made a beautiful draw to score a deuce in the 10th end and send their playoff game against Team Homan to an extra. In the 11th, the Nova Scotia side once again put the pressure on, forcing Homan to miss on her game-winning attempt.

“We’re a team that never gives up. We’ve known we’ve won a lot of different ways,” explained Black. “We just have to stay in it until the end and gives ourselves a chance and make her throw her last rock.”

Team Black with Jennifer Baxter at third, Karlee Everist at second and Shelley Barker at lead, reached the Scotties playoffs last year as well, losing to Team McCarville in the opening round. 

“I feel like there’s a little bit of the curling Gods on our side and helping us out,” she said. “We got so many people cheering us on and it gives us so much energy.”

Team Black’s winning streak came to a close Friday night with a 7-6 loss to Team McCarville in the page seeding round, meaning they’ll take on the Canadian champs in Team Einarson in the 3 vs. 4-game. 

You can watch the page playoff 3 vs. 4-game Saturday afternoon at 4pm ET/1pm PT on TSN 1/3/4 and streaming on or the TSN App.   

“I have lots of energy,” said Black. “I love curling.”

The last time a rink from Nova Scotia won the Tournament of Hearts was in 2004, the sixth and final national championship for Colleen Jones.