It’s been 20 years since Kim Dolan has skipped a team into the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Her last national appearance for Prince Edward Island came in 1992, where Dolan earned her rink a 4-7 record in Halifax.
This year, she heads into Red Deer, Alta., with higher goals.
“We’ve been working hard at home,” she told The Guardian. “You come here with all expectations, to play with the standard you set for yourself. I don’t think you can go out scared. You have to come out with the confidence you play with at home.”
The Scotties get underway today, running from Feb. 18 to 26.
P.E.I. will square off with Ontario skip Tracy Horgan in its first game.
“To beat Ontario is obviously a feat,” Dolan said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Last month, Dolan defeated her former student Meaghan Hughes in the provincial final to earn a berth at the national women’s curling championship.
Dolan’s rink, which consists of third Rebecca Jean MacDonald, Dolan’s daughter Sinead at second, lead Nancy Cameron, and fifth Michala Robison, flew into Red Deer on Wednesday.
Since then, they’ve spent their time practising and working off their jet lag.
With coach Peter MacDonald unable to attend, Dolan requested Daryell Nowlan, a Summerside-native now coaching in New Brunswick, to help call the shots.
Nowlan coached the New Brunswick team at last year’s Scotties, held in Charlottetown.
Last year, Dolan served as host committee chair for the Scotties.
The veteran skip’s last national appearance came in Regina in 2008, where she was alternate player and coach for Suzanne (Gaudet) Birt’s rink that finished 3-8.
Her top performance was in 1995, where she played third for Rebecca Jean (MacPhee) MacDonald’s rink in Calgary. That team finished the round-robin 8-3 and made the playoffs, only to drop the 3-4 game to the host rink led by Cathy Borst.
Her first appearance came way back in 1983, in Prince George, B.C.
“Different times, different outlook,” Dolan said of this year’s tournament. “I just love to play the game and being with the team. But hopefully the experience helps.”
There is a buzz in the city of Red Deer as fans begin to ready for the tournament, Dolan said.
“People recognize you in your team jacket,” said Dolan. “A lot of them have wished us good luck.”
While Dolan is making her ninth national appearance, this one is special as she will curl alongside her daughter as the first mother-daughter duo in Island history.
“We talked about it years ago, when she was a young junior,” Dolan admitted. “It’s always been a goal to achieve, in my eyes. It’s pretty exciting for me, and it’s great for our family. I’m thrilled.”
Kim’s husband, Liam, is scheduled to travel to Red Deer early next week, while her mother and sister will also be in attendance.
Her son, Marc, won’t be able to join the family as he will remain in Charlottetown, taking care of the family business — the Olde Dublin Pub.
Full schedule in Saturday's Guardian