With the Scotties Tournament of Hearts fast approaching and sporting events currently paused in Saskatchewan, CurlSask has a difficult decision ahead of them to determine who will represent the province at the annual tournament.
On Dec. 2, CurlSask said their goal was to host a qualifying competition. However, public health restrictions, which include competition in sport, have been extended until Jan. 29.
Robyn Silvernagle, who has skipped Saskatchewan at the last two Tournament of Hearts, isn’t optimistic about a provincial competition.
“I think we would love to play, everybody wants to win to get to a Scotties. But, it’s not looking promising,” Silvernagle said.
The likely outcome is that CurlSask will choose Saskatchewan’s Scotties representative, following suit with other provinces like B.C., Manitoba and Ontario.
“That’s a really difficult decision. I do not envy them at all, I have no idea how they’re going to decide it,” the skip said.
B.C. and Ontario are sending their defending provincial champions to compete at the 2021 Scotties. Silvernagle won the Saskatchewan Provincial championships in 2019 and 2020 with third Stefanie Lawton, second Jessie Hunkin and lead Kara Thevenot. However, after the 2020 Scotties in Moose Jaw, Silvernagle made some lineup changes, adding Kristen Streifel at third and Dayna Demers at lead. With two new players, the team has a new makeup.
“It definitely makes that decision a little trickier because we are a new team, essentially having two new players,” Silvernagle said. “Yes, two of us have been there and have that experience but I know there’s other teams out there with that same experience it just wasn’t in the last two years.”
Sherry Anderson is another contender to represent Team Saskatchewan. The veteran skip has played in 17 provincial finals, including nine of the last 11. In 2018, Anderson beat Silvernagle to go to the Scotties.
“As much as I would like to see a provincial go on, I just can’t see it happening,” Anderson agreed with Silvernagle.
Anderson would have supported choosing Silvernagle, had the team been the same as 2020. “It would have just been so much simpler had Robyn’s team been 3 of 4 from last year,” Anderson offered. “Three of us were there in the runner up (game) last year, we were up near the top of the standings in the (Canadian Team Ranking System).”
There were two preliminary competition in October to consider as possible qualifiers. However, one was cancelled midway through due to a COVID-19 precaution. The other was split due to constraints on the number of competitors in events. Team Amber Holland won the South and Team Ashley Howard won the North.
Team Silvernagle only played in one of the events. “I don’t think it’s a true reflection of what this year has been,” Silvernagle said.
Anderson agreed, saying that the same pressures of a provincial competition can’t be compared to these tour events.
“If you’re not going in there with the same mindset that this is the end result, this is it, then it’s hard to put the total weight on that,” Anderson said.
CurlSask has not said when or how they will make a decision. The Scotties begins on Feb. 20 in Calgary.