June 23rd, 2024

Scheidegger 2-0 to start Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts

By Dale Woodard on January 4, 2022.

Casey Scheidegger and her Lethbridge Curling Club rink have played in one event since the Olympic Trials in Saskatoon in November.

Fortunately for Scheidegger and her rink of third Cary-Anne McTaggart, second Jessie Haughian and lead Kristie Moore, that one event gave the local quartet an advance glimpse of what they’ll face this week as the Sentinel Storage Curling Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts hit the pebbled ice in Grande Prairie Monday, running until Sunday.

This week’s event will be held in conjunction with the 2022 Boston Pizza Cup provincial men’s curling championship.

On Monday, Scheidegger got off to a 2-0 start, kicking off the week with a 5-4 win over Calgary’s Kayla Skrlik and following that up with an 8-3 win over Adele Kezama-Purcell of St. Albert in nine ends.

Thanks to an appearance at an event at the Avonair Curling Club in Edmonton in December, the Lethbridge quartet got a good glimpse of the teams they’ll face this weekend in the Peace Country.

At the event in Edmonton, Scheidegger lost to Laura Walker in the final.

Walker and her rink – which includes second and Lethbridge product Taylor McDonald – was one of a few rinks at the Avonair which are also in Grande Prairie this week.

Walker and her Saville Community Sports Centre rink from Edmonton also come into this year’s provincials as the defending champion with the winner advancing to represent Alberta at the 2022 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay Jan. 28 to Feb. 6

“I would say it was actually really close to a repeat of the provincials we’re going to be playing in now,” said Scheidegger of the event in Edmonton last month.

“A lot of teams who are in provincials were at that event. So it was really good to get competition against the teams who we will be playing against here.”

Alberta always provides a deep field, said Scheidegger, whose team qualified for provincials as one of the Canadian Team Ranking System leaders alongside Kelsey Rocque, also of the Saville Community Sports Centre.

“I think there are three or four teams that are more highly ranked than the others, but for us that doesn’t mean much because we have found in the past that every team brings their A-game against us and the other teams who are ranked maybe higher. So we know we’re going to have to play really well and we’re going to have to grind out as many wins as we can get this week. We’re fully aware the task is going to be a difficult one and there will be some really close games. But if we can’t win those games, then we probably don’t deserve to win the whole thing. We’re focussed and we’re ready to play.”

Aside from the event at the Avonair, Scheidegger said her rink had been putting as much time in on the ice as they could between the Olympic qualifier and this week’s provincials while still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think we’ve been doing everything we can do in the current conditions and the access to ice that we have had. We’re excited and feeling ready for the event to start.”

With McTaggart hailing from Grande Prairie and Moore from nearby Sexsmith, the Scheidegger rink comes into the weekend with somewhat of a home rink advantage.

“It’s really exciting that their family and friends can be here to watch as much as they can,” Scheidegger said of McTaggart and Moore.

“So that’s exciting. We’re half of a home team, so we’ll take all the support we can get.”

The pandemic, however, will limit that support with the Bonnetts Energy Centre in Grande Prairie cut to 50 per cent capacity due to the pandemic with no food or beverages being served.

“I think the organizing committee here in Grande Prairie had to make some adjustments due to the recent nature of the cases increasing,” said Scheidegger.

“I know they’ve made some spectator adjustments in terms of the amount of people who will be in the building. There are also a few different protocols for the athletes as well. They’re really encouraging people to socially distance in their cohorts as they come in as well.”

Still, the curlers will at least have some fans to play in front of this week.

“I think we’re willing to do whatever the organizing committee and Alberta Health feels is the safest,” said Scheidegger.

“We leave that in their hands and trust that they’re going to make the right decisions. Obviously having fans, we love that, but we would be happy playing regardless.”

On the men’s side, the 11-team field of Ted Appelman (Avonair Curling Club, Edmonton), Jeremy Harty (The Glencoe Club, Calgary), Ryan Jacques (Saville Community Sports Centre, Edmonton), Kevin Koe (The Glencoe Club, Calgary), Parker Konschuh (Derrick Winter Club, Edmonton), Nathan Molberg (St. Albert Curling Club, St. Albert), Ryan Parent (Crestwood Curling Club, Edmonton), Jeff Reich (Oilsands Curling Club, Fort McMurray), Karsten Sturmay (Saville Community Sports Centre, Edmonton), Evan van Amsterdam (Thistle Curling Club, Edmonton) and Scott Webb (Sexsmith Curling Club, Sexsmith) got going in the second draw.

Konschuh edged Parent 6-5, while Appelman got past Reich 8-7.

Webb defeated van Amsterdam 9-4.

The second men’s draw takes the ice this morning at 9 a.m. with the third draw going at 7 p.m.

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