By Emily Jaycox For the Stettler Independent
Some potentially electric dynamics exist between the 12 qualifying teams who will be vying for the women’s provincial curling championship at the 2019 Jiffy Lube Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Stettler Jan. 23 to 17.
From the natural rivalries between teams from the same clubs and region to the defending champs fighting to keep their title, to young bloods and seasoned vets, competition is sure to be fierce.
Only one team will come out on top to represent Alberta at the Canadian championships, the Scottie’s Tournament of Hearts.
The majority of the teams are polarized between the Edmonton and Calgary areas.
READ MORE: Defending champions Team Scheidegger will fight to keep title
From the Edmonton-area: Teams Hilker and Kezama are both out of the Sherwood Park Curling Club, Team Rocque is from the Saville Community Sports Centre and Team Kaufman is out of the Saville Curling Club.
There is also Team DeJong from the Sexsmith Curling Club and Team Makichuk of the Spruce Grove Curling Club to complete the Edmonton-area competitors.
The Calgary contingent to the south consists of Team Walker and Team Carey, both from the Glencoe Curling club, Team Marthaller from the Garrison Curling Club and Team Stubbs from the Calgary Curling Club.
The defenders, Team Scheidegger, hail from Lethbridge, and the lone central Alberta representative, Team Sherrer, is out of the Lacombe Curling Club.
Next to the defenders, the top-seeded teams are Carey, Rocque and Walker.
These top-teams have had some shake-ups this past season and some will be facing former teammates at the Alberta Scotties.
Carey was the 2018 Meridian Canadian Open champion, a title won with Cathy Overton-Clapham and Laine Peters, currently third and lead, respectively, on Team Walker.
Laura Walker was a third for Team Rocque before skipping her own team this season.
Rocque was the first Canadian women’s skip to win consecutive world junior titles, winning gold in 2014 and 2015.
All four members of team Rocque are two-time Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) champions.
Team Sherrer and Team Rocque are among the youngest to compete, but will youth or experience triumph?
Skip Kelsey Rocque, 24, has been curling for half her life and Skip Marla Sherrer, 23, and has been curling for 18 years.
Skip Delia DeJong is 47 and has 24 years’ experience under her broom.
Another vet, Tiffany Steuber, lead for Team Makichuk, is 41-years-old, with 32 years of experience on the ice.
One thing is for sure: spectators will witness a high level of curling, with former Olympic medalists and national champions in the mix of players.
With teams like this taking to the ice, it could be anybody’s bonspiel.
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