The first women’s Canadian championship final took place in Mount Royal, Que., in 1979 as British Columbia’s Lindsay Sparkes captured her second of three national titles with a 7-4 victory over Manitoba’s Chris Pidzarko.
During the last 40 years, the annual Scotties final has featured some of the best moments in women’s curling.
Let’s take a look at some of the best championship tilts from over the years.
2001 – Down to a measure
The 2001 Scott Tournament of Hearts (the tournament was renamed the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in 2007) final had one of the most dramatic endings you’ll ever see.
It pitted the last two Canadian champions – and the best two skips in curling at the time – against each other as Nova Scotia’s Colleen Jones looked for her third national title versus defending champ Kelley Law of Team Canada.
Jones, the winner of the 1999 Scotties, was back in the playoffs after missing out the previous year because of a disappointing round robin performance. Law’s rink, who won their first Canadian championship in their home province of British Columbia the year prior, finished atop the standings in the round robin.
Nova Scotia and Canada had already headlined two of the best games of the bonspiel to that point. In their round robin clash, Jones allowed Law to tie the game in the 10th end with a three-spot and then a steal of one in the extra as the Halifax crew dropped their fourth straight game to go to 3-4 and were in danger of missing the playoffs.
Team Jones would turn things around quickly though, winning their next four games to set up a rematch with Team Law in the 1 vs. 2 page playoff, a game they would win to punch their ticket to the final. Law snuck by Ontario’s Sherry Middaugh in the semifinal to reach her second straight title game.
So, how would the rubber match unfold at the Sudbury Community Arena on Feb. 25, 2001?
It was a defensive battle for the first six ends as neither side was able to score that all-important deuce until Canada scored two in the seventh to take a 5-2 lead. Nova Scotia bounced back with three points in the 8th before stealing another in the 9th. Law almost won the game in the 10th after her shooter slid out of the rings following an incredible raise takeout. She was forced to settle for one, sending the 2001 Canadian championship to a do-or-die extra end for the first time since 1998.
With her first stone in the 11th, Jones wrecked on a guard as she attempted to make a crucial takeout through a port. Law drew through the same port with her last stone, forcing Jones to make a soft roll off her own in order to win her third Scotties championship. Fearing the hack was getting slippery, Jones placed a mitten on the hack for better traction, an unprecedented move especially with the national title on the line.
“I can’t believe she’s doing this. That’s unbelievable that she would do this on the last shot of the game,” CBC commentator Mike Harris said during the broadcast.
After releasing the rock, Jones yelled “curl, curl, curl,” all the way down the sheet not knowing if was going to work out. The yellow stone rolled off their own and towards the button, stopping just a few inches away from the four-foot. Law’s red stone was also just a few inches from the four-foot.
The rocks were identical using the naked eye, meaning this Scotties final would come down to the most dramatic ending: on a measure. The Scotties or Brier had never ended on a measure prior to 2001.
The crowd went silent. Jones and teammates Kim Kelly and Mary-Anne Waye put their arms around each other waiting for the result to come down. Law’s rock was measured first. Then the official slid the measuring device clockwise towards Jones’ stone.
“I think Nova Scotia has got it,” CBC’s Don Wittman told viewers across Canada.
Then the official pointed towards the rock to signify the Maritimes win.
The shrieks and screams from Team Jones could have probably shattered glass if it was nearby. Both rinks couldn’t contain their emotions following the surreal ending between the two curling giants.
“That was a great game,” Jones told Mark Lee immediately after the match. “I don’t ever remember seeing a game like that.”
Jones watched the movie Gladiator earlier in the week when the team was 3-4, saying the main character played by Russell Crowe was “a survivor and he never quit…that’s what I feel like this team is.”
After watching that 2001 final, were you not entertained?
2005 – Jennifer Jones becomes a star
Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones made the semifinals in her first Tournament of Hearts appearance in 2001, losing to Ontario’s Sherry Middaugh. No bad at all for a first try, but Jones’ coming-out moment came three years later in St. John’s, Nfld.
Jones was seeded first heading into the playoffs after going 9-2 in the round robin. After beating rival Kelly Scott of British Columbia in the semifinal, Jones faced Ontario’s Jenn Hanna in the championships game. Hanna’s rink out of the Ottawa Curling Club were coming in hot after winning two tiebreakers just to get into the playoffs before beating Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton and Scott in the playoffs.
Ontario controlled almost the entire game as Jones wasn’t at her best for most of that final, shooting just 70 per cent. Manitoba faced a two-point deficit heading into the 10th end and it wasn’t looking any better when it finally came down to the final shot. Hanna’s shot stone was buried behind multiple rocks on the button, with Jones only having an incredible in-off to score four and win the Scotties title in remarkable fashion.
Of course Jones did just that to capture the first of six Canadian titles, paving the way for one of the greatest careers in curling history.
2010 – Jennifer Jones fends off youngsters from PEI
With a victory in the 2010 final, Jones was slated to become just the third skip to win three straight Canadian championships. Standing in her way was a young team out of Prince Edward Island led by last rock thrower Erin Carmody and third Geri-Lynn Ramsay, who were both just 22-years-old at the time and competing in their first Scotties. Kathy O'Rourke called the game for PEI, but threw second stones.
P.E.I. had surprised many all week with their play and finished the round robin tied for first with Team Jones, sporting 8-3 records. They even beat the defending champ 9-5 in Draw 14. In the final, PEI found themselves up 6-3 after six ends against the heavily favoured Team Canada. However, finishing off a champion's reign is the hardest thing to do in sports and Jones wasn't ready to give up her seat on the throne. Canada outscored P.E.I. 4-0 in the next three ends, including steals in the eighth and ninth ends, before the islanders tied it with a single in the 10th.
Just like in the 2005 Scotties final, Jones made no mistake with the championship on the line. With the final shot of the tournament, Jones executed an impressive pick shot to beat P.E.I. by a single point and claim a third straight Scotties title in a curling classic.
2011 - Saskatchewan wins first Scotties in decades
At the 2011 Scotties in Charlottetown, Jones had an opportunity to join Colleen Jones as the only skips in history to win four consecutive Canadian women's curling championships.
Standing in her way in the final was Amber Holland of Saskatchewan.
This was the first Scotties for new 23-year-old third Kaitlyn Lawes after she replaced longtime vice Cathy Overton-Clapham during the off-season in a controversial shakeup.
Holland finished atop the round robin standings, a single win better than Jones after routing her, 9-3, early in the week.
This championship game was much closer, featuring high scores and tremendous shots. The best and most important shot came in the sixth end when Holland made a soft bump through a port to even the game at six, a throw that undoubtedly kept her alive in a game that was starting to slide away.
After a blank in the seventh, Canada and Saskatchewan traded singles in the next two ends, giving Jones the hammer in the last with the game knotted at seven apiece. Holland made another beauty with her last in the 10th, a perfect draw to the button to put the pressure squarely on Jones.
With a record-tying fourth straight national championship within her grasp, Jones barely missed a double raise takeout for the victory. It was time for Holland, Kim Schneider, Tammy Schneider, Heather Kalenchuk and all of Saskatchewan to celebrate their first Scotties title since Sandra Schmirler accomplished the feat in 1997.
2017 – Rachel Homan’s late game heroics stun Michelle Englot
Rachel Homan’s third career national championship was her most dramatic.
The Ottawa rink played Michelle Englot of Manitoba in the final. After curling in Saskatchewan for her entire career, the 53-year-old Englot decided to skip a new team in Manitoba that season and found instant success. They finished first in the round robin and had already beaten Homan twice during the week in St. Catharines, Ont., including in the 1 vs. 2 page playoff.
The final was a great back-and-forth affair, seeing four lead changes heading into the 10th end where Englot needed a deuce to stay alive. Down to her last shot, Homan was forced to make a difficult thin double to stay alive. If she missed, Englot had an easy throw for a three-spot and a Scotties victory.
Homan, with the help of sweepers Lisa Weagle and Joanne Courtney, made the shot flawlessly to send the game to an extra end. It was a shot that should go down as one of the best in her career.
With the final stone in the 11th, Homan made another superb shot, this time a runback takeout, to capture a third Canadian championship.
1994 – Schmirler the Curler punch out to defend title
Sandra Schmirler highlighted the 1993 and 1994 Scotties, winning both times in dramatic fashion on the last shots of the game.
In ’93 she defeated Manitoba’s Maureen Bonar 7-6, scoring a single point with a hit and roll in the 11th end to give Saskatchewan their first Scotties title since 1980. A year later, Schmirler defended the championship with a highlight reel takeout, punching out rival Connie Laliberte’s stone to score three and win the contest, 5-3.
1982 – Colleen Jones makes history
Colleen Jones won her first of six Canadian championships in 1982, beating Manitoba’s Dorothy Rose in the final, 8-7, in Regina. At just 22-years-old, Jones became the youngest skip to win the Scotties title.
1984 – Clash of the giants
In Charlottetown, two of the greatest skips of all time went head-to-head in the final, with Manitoba’s Connie Laliberte getting the better of Nova Scotia’s Colleen Jones in an extra end thriller, 5-4.
2019 – Comeback complete
Rachel Homan led Alberta’s Chelsea Carey 5-2 at the break in that Scotties final from Sydney, Nova Scotia, before allowing steals in three of the next five ends. Carey’s comeback was complete after the normally cold-blooded Homan was light on a winning draw attempt for the second straight end in the 11th.