4. Team Wild Card
5. Northern Ontario
8. Nova Scotia
12. New Brunswick
13. Northwest Territories
16. Yukon Territory
3. Team Canada
7. British Columbia
11. Prince Edward Island
CLICK HERE to check the schedule for the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
You can purchase tickets at the South Okanagan Events Centre box office, online at curling.ca/tickets or by phone at 1-877-763-2849.
TSN/RDS2 will provide complete coverage of every draw at the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. CLICK HERE for the complete broadcast schedule.
By Al Cameron
Special to OsoyoosToday
There will be many historic elements to the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts when it gets underway Saturday at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton.
It will be the first 16-team edition of the Canadian Women’s Curling Championship, and the first that will feature a Wild Card Game preceding the championship.
Additionally, Manitoba skip Jennifer Jones, along with her longtime second Jill Officer, if they win gold, will join Nova Scotia’s Colleen Jones as the only six-time winners of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
The action kicks off with the Wild Card game tonight between 2016 Scotties champ Chelsea Carey of Calgary and Kerri Einarson of Winnipeg; they were the top two teams on the Canadian Team Ranking System that didn’t qualify through their provincial/territorial championships.
The winning team will be known as Team Wild Card and will begin play with the other 15 teams on Saturday.
Winnipeg’s Michelle Englot, along with teammates vice-skip Kate Cameron, second Leslie Wilson, lead Raunora Westcott, alternate Briane Meilleur and coach Ron Westcott, will wear Team Canada colours in Penticton after a memorable silver-medal result a year ago at St. Catharines.
With 2017 Scotties champs Rachel Homan and her Ottawa team representing Canada at the Winter Olympics, the Scotties Team Canada assignment automatically went to the 2017 runner-up.
The home province will be represented by Nanaimo’s Kesa Van Osch, who has sisters Marika at vice-skip and Kalia at second, along with lead Amy Gibson and alternate Rachelle Kallechy.
The 16 teams are split into two pools of eight, based on their Canadian Team Ranking System standing as of Dec. 31; the Wild Card winner will be the No. 4 seed.
They will play seven round-robin games within their pool, with the top four teams in each pool moving into the Championship Pool. The four teams from Pool A will play the four teams from Pool B Thursday and Friday, and then the top four win-loss records (including the preliminary round) will move into the traditional Page playoffs beginning next Saturday.
The Ford Hot Shots Competition will begin Friday with the preliminary round at noon and the finals on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. The Opening Ceremonies are Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Admission to all three events is free; pick up tickets at the SOEC box office.
Al Cameron is director of communications and media relations for Curling Canada.