Curling’s Battle of Alberta: Tournament of Hearts slides into Okotoks

Curling’s battle of Alberta is hitting the ice in Okotoks with eight of the province’s top rinks ready to kick off the Scottie’s Alberta Tournament of Hearts.

“Alberta is probably known as the number one province in Canada for curling,” tournament co-chair Mike Libbus said. “We have a lot of the top teams on the men’s and women’s sides. We’re always a force to be reckoned with.”

The winning squad will punch their ticket to the 2020 National Tournament of Hearts in Moose Jaw — an event where Alberta tends to dominate.

Since 2010, Alberta has won the Tournament of Hearts three times and made the finals twice more, most recently in 2019, when Chelsea Carey defeated Ontario’s Rachel Homan.

Lethbridge’s Casey Scheidegger won the provincial title back in 2017, but this time, things are different.

“Obviously, there are some nerves involved, but I’m really excited,” Scheidegger said. “I missed my team.”

Scheidegger is back on the ice for her first competition since giving birth to her son, Ryker, back in November.

She began training for her return just three weeks ago, at six weeks postpartum.

“I noticed the first couple of slides I felt really weak and a little bit shaky, but it’s definitely been coming back and I feel much stronger now,” Scheidegger added.

Meanwhile, Calgary skip Kayla Skrlik and her lead, Hope Sunley, have joined the women’s circuit with a new team and a lofty goal.

“It would mean everything to all four of us,” Skrlik said. “We’ve dreamed about going to the Scotties, especially Hope and I as little kids.”

The tournament runs from January 22-26 at the Murray Arena.

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