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It's the first national women's curling championship for Erica Curtis as skip, but she and her teammates have all been here before
Newfoundland and Labrador’s Erica Curtis is going to be labelled a rookie skip at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, which begins in earnest today in Moose Jaw, Sask., but that doesn’t mean Curtis and her St. John’s rink of third Erin Porter, second Julie Devereaux and lead Beth Hamilton don’t bring considerable Scotties experience to the 2020 Canadian women’s curling championship.
Every member of the team has been to at least two previous Scotties and all have represented the province in national championships in other divisions.
Erica Curtis (as Erica Trickett) was the lead for the Stacie Curtis’s Newfoundland champions at the 2017 and 2018 Scotties, teams that also included Porter and Devereaux.
The latter two also played with the Stacie Curtis in 2016 national championship. Porter holds Scotties seniority on the team having also played in the 2014 Canadian championship.
Hamilton is the newest member of foursome, but has played in a couple of Scotties, the first back in 2005 at Mile One Centre in St. John’s (where Jennifer Jones made “The Shot”to win it all) on a team skipped by Heather Strong. Hamilton’s second Scotties was last year when she was second on Kelli Sharpe’s N.L. representatives.
All four have also played in Canadian junior events, with Erica Curtis (2012) and Porter (2009, 2011) and Devereaux (2008) each having skipped Newfoundland teams at national junior championships.
Despite that history, Newfoundland and Labrador has the second-lowest seeding for this year’s Scotties (only Quebec is ranked lower). That’s because the seedings are based on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS), which are computed using points awarded for finishes in recent top-level events worldwide. The Curtis rink is not one of those that travels off-island to play and didn’t make the final of the 2019 provincial women’s championship (finishing third behind Sharpe and Cathlia Ward).
The 16-team field in Moose Jaw is divided into two pools for preliminary play. Curtis and Co., who defeated Mackenzie Mitchell in this year’s provincial Scotties, are slotted in a pool with British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, P.E.I., the Yukon and Jennifer Jones's Wild Card entry.
The latter was decided at a play-in game Friday night between two Manitoba rinks, those of Jones and Tracy Fleury, with former Scotties and world champion Jones winning 8-7. The two teams had earned berths in the Wild Card game by virtue of being the teams with the highest CTRS rankings not already entered in the Scotties.
Newfoundland and Labrador, coached by Eugene Trickett, will play its first game tonight as it takes on the Yukon and has a single game Sunday, when it faces former world and Canadian champion Rachel Homan and her Ontario rink.