The Super Bowl of the Canadian curling world.
Despite all of the uncertainty in the sporting world due to the new found challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts has continued for another year. On February 19, 2021, 18 teams took the sheets in Calgary Alberta to duke it out for that winning title.
For those of you who are familiar with the Scotties, you may know that having 18 teams compete is not the common protocol. In regular years, there are 16 teams that are scheduled to take part and two teams fight it out for that 17th wild card spot. However, due to the risk of travelling and other COVID-19 protocols currently in place, they made the decision to allow for all 18 teams to be scheduled to ensure everyone has a chance to take part in more than one match. This is the first time over the tournament’s 60 year history that the playing field has expanded to allow for this extra team to be scheduled.
Each province and territory are being represented in this tournament. Over the course of nine days, spanning from February 19 to 28, these teams will compete with the final game scheduled to take place on February 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Originally, the tournament was supposed to take place in Thunder Bay, Ontario. However, it was decided that Calgary provided a better space for the protective bubble. They are utilizing the Markin MacPhail Centre in the Canada Olympic Park as the location for this year.
What is the pay-out for such a longstanding and well-known tournament? Let me tell you, you definitely want to be that first-place winner, as the team will receive $100,000. The winning team would have also represented Canada at the 2021 World Women’s Curling Championship, which would have taken place in Schaffhausen Switzerland, but has now been cancelled due to continued COVID-19 concerns. Following, the second-place team will receive $60,000, and the third-place team will receive $30,000.
We are rooting for our Saskatchewan women as we have not had a winning team from Saskatchewan since 2011. This team consisted of Amber Holland, Kim Schneider, Tammy Schneider, and Heather Kalenchuk. This year’s team consists of Sherry Anderson, Nancy Martin, Chaelynn Kitz, and Breanna Knapp, with Amber Holland acting as an alternate.
Although this year’s tournament looks different due to format, it is also a lot quieter, as spectators are not permitted to enter the area. This is disheartening as this is something that many people looked forward to attending. Even though it is different, we still had the chance to enjoy the tournament this year.