The trip from the Island to Penticton might be relatively short. But for B.C.’s top women curlers, the road to get there runs through Victoria.
Eight rinks are on the ice at the 2018 Scotties B.C. championships Jan. 2 to 7 at the Victoria Curling Club, vying for a spot in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian Championship being held in the Okanagan city later in January.
Local fans will no doubt be watching the progress of teams skipped by Holly Donaldson and Kesa Van Osch.
Donaldson and fellow Vancouver native Lindsay Hudyma at second are joined by Victoria’s Steph Jackson Baier at third and lead Carley Sandwith.
Playdown veteran Van Osch has sisters Marika and Kalie Van Osch at third and second, respectively, while Vancouver’s Amy Gibson slots in at lead.
Donaldson and company advanced to the BC Scotties through a qualifier in Hope in early December, while Van Osch clinched a spot for Victoria at the last qualifying event in Kelowna.
While the final four games of the championship will be televised live on Shaw TV and live streamed on YouTube, event chair Danielle Callens encourages fans to come down to the club and watch the games live.
“Curling is best experienced live, and spectators will be wowed by the dynamism and skill of BC’s best curlers,” she said, adding that the B.C. Scotties are an “accessible, inexpensive introduction to the sport.”
Admittance is free for those 18 and under and the hope is that the province’s top women curlers will inspire a new generation of curlers and fans, she said.
Team Donaldson was scheduled to take on last year’s B.C. Junior Women’s champion, the Corryn Brown rink from Kamloops, in the first draw Tuesday night, while Team Van Osch was set to play the Karla Thompson rink, also from Kamloops.
Vancouver’s Diane Gushulak, who lost last year’s B.C. Scotties final, was set to skip her Royal City Curling Club rink (New Westminster) against the Randi Ludwar rink from Kelowna in their opener. The Gushulak and Brown rinks were the first to qualify for this year’s Scotties based on Canadian Team Ranking System points accrued this season.
Also competing this week are the Kayte Gyles rink from the Royal City/Tunneltown clubs and the Kim Slattery rink from Vernon.
Play continues Wednesday, with the second draw at 11 a.m. and the third at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the club, 1952 Quadra St., or online at http://victoriacurlingclub.com/bc-scotties-tickets/. To find scores and draws, visit http://playdowns.curlbc.ca.