Pressure, what pressure?
Kim Dolan isn’t feeling any as she and her teammates prepare to defend their P.E.I. Scotties Tournament of Hearts provincial women’s curling championship, which begins today at the Charlottetown Curling Complex.
“There is always the fact that you are the defending champion, people certainly do want to beat you,” said Dolan, the nine-time provincial champion, including six as a skip. “I’ve been through so many, I don’t feel any (pressure) and I don’t think my team does either.”
The team includes third Rebecca Jean MacDonald, second Sinead Dolan (Kim’s daughter), lead Michala Robison and coach John Likely. They have been together for three years while Kim Dolan and MacDonald have played together for all but a couple of years since 1995. Robison, an alternate last year, replaces Nancy Cameron, who is not competing this year.
The field also includes teams skipped by Suzanne Birt, Kathy O’Rourke, Lisa Jackson and Tammy Dewar.
Dolan said she doesn’t consider her rink the favourite heading into today’s opening games of the five-team tournament.
“I respect all of my competition and they’re all great curlers,” she said. “On any given day, we’ll have to see how that game of inches goes.”
Most of the event’s champions during the past decade will be competing in the event, so familiarity with each other’s strategies should be apparent.
“You do meet a lot of the same faces and a lot of the same teams,” Dolan said. “We’ve played one another quite a bit over the years. Everyone is talented.”
There is also familiarity with the club as four of the five teams play out of Charlottetown.
“There’s no question we’ve all played there a lot and all been around the club for a number of years,” Dolan said. “There’s no home ice advantage, for sure.”
The teams will play a round robin with the top team advancing to Sunday’s final at 7 p.m. The second- and third-place teams meet in Sunday’s semifinal at 2 p.m. The champion will represent P.E.I. at the nationals, Feb. 16 to 24, in Kingston, Ont.
“No matter who wins, we’ll have a great representative,” Dolan said.
Tournament of Hearts
What: A five-team provincial women’s curling championship, sponsored by Kruger Products and Curl P.E.I.
When: Today to Sunday.
Where: Charlottetown Curling Complex.
Admission: $5 per game or $25 for an event pass.
The prize: The winners advance to the national Scotties, Feb. 16 to 24, in Kingston, Ont.
2012 – Kim Dolan
2011 – Suzanne Birt
2010 – Kathy O’Rourke
2009 – Robyn MacPhee
2008 – Suzanne Gaudet
Ice 3 – O’Rourke vs. Dolan
Ice 4 – Jackson vs. Dewar
Ice 2 – Dewar vs. Dolan
Ice 3 – Jackson vs. Birt