Following is a report on each of the teams that qualified for the main draw at the 2017 Scotties:
Ontario (Team Homan) – A+
The world’s top-ranked team was on a mission this year to return to the Scotties, win the Scotties and then win the World Championships. Team Homan is two-thirds of the way there after winning their 3rd Scotties in the past five years in a tremendous final against Manitoba. It was a balanced team effort with each player showing their strengths and with Rachel Homan making a clutch double take-out in the 10th that forced the extra-end. A few years ago, Team Homan might have lost their way when facing the type of adversity and pressure they faced on Sunday night during the final. This year, they showed their maturity as a team, their ability to make shots under as much pressure as you can face in curling short of the Olympics and will be better for the experience when they get to the World Championships, the Olympic Trials and possibly the Olympic Games. It is a 3rd Scotties title for Rachel Homan, Emma Miskew and Lisa Weagle and a first Scotties title for Joanne Courtney.
Manitoba (Team Englot) – A+
As the story goes, Kate Cameron sent an email to Michelle Englot out of the blue late last season asking her if she’d join the team that had previously been skipped by Kristy McDonald. It was an email that came “this close” to winning the team a Scotties championship in less than a year. Manitoba defeated the world’s top-ranked team twice to earn a spot in the final where they treated everyone to an outstanding display of curling despite falling just short of defeating Ontario for a third time in four days.
Canada (Team Carey) – A
The road to this year’s Scotties certainly wasn’t always a smooth one for the defending champions but they certainly offered a performance worthy of Team Canada. The players showed a lot of character coming back to win the bronze medal game after a deflating loss in the 3 vs 4 game. It will be interesting to see how Team Carey proceeds now that Amy Nixon has announced her retirement less than a year before the Olympic Trials and Pre-Trials.
Northern Ontario (Team McCarville) – A-
What has become clear over the past two seasons is that Team McCarville is an elite team. They might not play as many events as other top-tier women’s teams but they certainly have the game. Aside from a loss to Alberta in the fist draw, Team McCarville’s only other losses at the 2017 Scotties were two losses to this year’s championship team and their loss in the bronze medal game against the defending champions. This will be one of the teams to watch should they qualify for the Olympic Pre-Trials.
Quebec (Team Belisle) – B+
Team Belisle went into the 2017 Scotties anticipating that seven wins would earn them a spot in the playoffs. The team from Montreal played very well following a slow start but fell just short of the playoffs having lost to each of the four teams that qualified for the weekend. On a side note, the story about 3rd Lauren Mann’s late brother and the man who received his heart was one of the more touching stories to make the rounds at this year’s Scotties.
Northwest Territories (Team Galusha) – B+
After losing in the final of the pre-qualifier for two consecutive years, Team Galusha made it to the main draw at the 2017 Scotties and got off to a 3-1 start in the round-robin before finishing at 5-6. It was a resilient performance by the team from Yellowknife who played more games at this week’s Scotties than any other team.
Newfoundland & Labrador (Team Curtis) – B
Team Gushue and the city of St. John’s are rightfully receiving most of the curling community’s attention in Newfoundland and Labrador right now but Team Curtis quietly had a solid Scotties. They improved their record to 5-6 after finishing 3-8 last year and only lost against the four playoff teams as well as solid teams from Quebec and Alberta
Alberta (Team Kleibrink) – B
It was a difficult week for Team Kleibrink who had to watch their skip, Shannon Kleibrink, eventually step aside due to a back injury. Her replacement was two-time Scotties champion Heather Nedohin led the team admirably under difficult circumstances and came within a couple of shots of leading Alberta to a tie-breaker.
Nova Scotia (Team Mattatall) – C+
For a team that entered their provincial championships to help them prepare for their senior provincials, Team Mattatall performed admirably at the 2017 Scotties. It will be interesting to see if the high-level competition they received at the 2017 Scotties will help them challenge for a title at the 2017 Canadian Senior Championships next month in Fredericton, NB.
Prince Edward Island (Team MacPhee) C
It was a disappointing week for the team from PEI that was not able to fully recover from their 0-4 start. PEI was one of the teams that battled the hammer all week, averaging almost three stolen points against in their eight losses.
Saskatchewan (Team Barker) – C-
Team Barker was the Cinderella story entering this year’s Scotties having won their provincial playdowns while being the 7th ranked team in the province. Their inexperience at the national championship showed during the week as they started 0-8 before winning their first and only game against Nova Scotia.
British Columbia (Team Mallett) – D
It was a difficult week for Marla Mallett in her first Scotties appearance since making the final in 2009. Mallett’s team finished with only one victory and Mallett herself never seemed to find her comfort zone. It has been a tough stretch for British Columbia at the Scotties as the province has only won a combined four games over the past three years.