HOMAN LOOKS TO THREE-PEAT
Ottawa rink heads Scotties’ field
MOOSEJAW, SASK. Rachel Homan’s tune-up for her title defence at the Canadian women’s curling championship was unorthodox.
The Team Canada skip and second Joanne Courtney visited 15 Wing Moose Jaw on Thursday, two days before the Scotties Tournament of Hearts was to begin at Mosaic Place. The curlers got the opportunity to sit in one of the airplanes.
“I’ve never been in a plane that small before,” Homan said after Friday’s practice session. “I was shown what everything does. I was shown the eject button, and that scared me a little bit. It was a lot of fun.”
On Friday, it was back to curling. Homan is bidding to become just the fourth skip to win three consecutive Canadian women’s championships. The only skips who have won three straight national titles are Vera Pezer of Saskatchewan (1971-73) and Jennifer Jones of Manitoba (2008-2010), when both skips were in their 30s. Nova Scotia’s Colleen Jones won four in a row from 2001-04 when she was in her 40s.
Homan, 25, knows that won’t be easy, especially when all 12 of the teams in the field have their sights set on beating Team Canada.
“You know that you’re always going to play a really great team out here,” Homan said. “They are the top of the country, and every game is going to be a tough one.”
Homan still remembers what a thrill it was to wear a Team Canada jacket at the world championships, which she has now done twice. It’s a feeling that she would like to extend with another strong performance here.
“It’s an honour to win the nationals and come back as Team Canada,” Homan said. “It’s something that not a lot of teams get to experience and we feel very fortunate to do.”
Jennifer Jones has experienced the thrill of being on Team Canada at the world championships and Winter Olympics. Jones is a fourtime Canadian women’s champion, a world champion in 2008 and the gold medallist at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Jones returns to the Scotties as the Manitoba champion and with her gold-medal winning team of Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen. Jones is used to being the target of most teams as a Manitoba champion and Team Canada at the Scotties.
“We approach it the same every year, whether we are Team Manitoba or Team Canada,” Jones said. “There is a mutual respect among the players because there are so many events that we play in against top teams. The Grand Slams have really evolved competitive curling for us. There is a mutual respect among all of the teams, whether you’re Team Manitoba, Team Canada, Team Alberta or Team Saskatchewan. You know that you will have to play your best to beat these teams.” EXTRA ENDS: The Scotties runs through Feb. 22. The winner will represent Canada at the world championship, March 14 to 22 in Sapporo, Japan.
Tracy Horgan of Northern Ontario and Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories are to meet in Saturday’s final of the pre-qualifying round for the Scotties.
Horgan defeated Sarah Koltun of the Yukon 7-5 on Friday to improve to 2-0.
Galusha beat Koltun 11-10 in an extra end in Friday’s afternoon game. Galusha was 1-1 and Koltun was 0-2.
The winner of the final will fill out the 12-team field for the Scotties. The other qualifiers are out of the competition but will remain at the Scotties until Monday.