Scotties coming back to Killarney

By Melissa Doan

CurlManitoba announced Thursday that the 2018 renewal of the Manitoba Women’s Curling Championship, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, will be played in Killarney’s Shamrock Centre.

The Killarney Curling Club and the community of Killarney previously hosted the championship in 2010. The championship was won that year by Jill Thurston and a Deer Lodge team, which included 2017 competitors Raunora Westcott and Leslie Wilson. It was the first of back-to-back titles for Michelle Englot’s front-enders.

Before the 4 p.m. draw Thursday at the 2017 event at Winnipeg’s Eric Coy Arena, Elaine Hunt invited curlers and fans to plan to be in Killarney a year from now.

“We’re delighted to have the Scotties Championship come back to Killarney,” says Hunt, who will co-chair the event with Donna Dowsett.

“The 16-team Scotties is the perfect size event for our community and for the Shamrock Centre,” Hunt says. “Curlers will remember the arena, the curling club and the hall all being a part of the complex and they’ll be pleased to know the players will be staying in the new Wilderness Inn, a 39-room hotel which was added on the arena grounds just two years ago.”

Hunt added a special word of congratulations for the Charleswood Curling Club, host of this year’s event.

“In Killarney, the Scotties will be not just the biggest but the only game in town for a week. We can only guess at the extra challenges there must be for a committee organizing the championship in a big city.”

CurlManitoba Executive Director Craig Baker says the decision to return to Killarney was an easy one.

“The 2010 championship was a great success and at the time, we had told the community we’d be back whenever they wanted us. This timing works well for both Killarney and CurlManitoba,” Baker says.

As 2018 is the Olympic year, the Championship will move ahead slightly on the calendar and will be played January 10-14, 2018.

SKIPPING AT THE SCOTTIES – Local curling star Lisa Blixhavn releases her rock during the 2010 Scotties at Killarney’s Shamrock Centre.