News Grand Slam of Curling

Walker wins Alberta title to head to Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Laura Walker is off to her first national Scotties Tournament of Hearts after defeating Kelsey Rocque 7-4 in the Alberta women’s final Sunday in Okotoks.

The Edmonton-based team of Walker, third Kate Cameron, second Taylor McDonald and lead Nadine Scotland completed an undefeated run through the tournament finishing first in round-robin pool play at 7-0 and added another to the tally with a decisive 7-1 victory over Rocque in Saturday’s Page 1-2 playoff game.

Cameron, who is the team’s out-of-province import from Winnipeg, played in the Canadian women’s curling championship previously winning silver for Manitoba in 2017 and returned the following year as Team Canada while Rachel Homan’s team was away at the Winter Olympics and unable to defend the title. McDonald served as Manitoba’s alternate last year.

Rocque also finished runner-up at provincial playdowns last season to Calgary’s Chelsea Carey, who captured the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts and earned an auto-berth back to the event as Team Canada.

Walker, who is originally from Scarborough, Ont., opened the Sentinel Storage Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts final with the hammer and was looking to blank the first but hit and stayed in the rings to settle for a single. Facing three counters in the second, Rocque was forced to tap for one to tie it.

After Walker drew for a point in the third, her team pulled away thanks to steals in back-to-back ends. Rocque came up light on her last in the fourth to yield two points and conceded another in the fifth as she attempted a tricky hit and roll but slid too far.

The teams alternated singles in six and seven and Rocque hit for a deuce in eight to cut the deficit down to 6-4. That was as close as she’d get down the stretch as Walker added another point in the ninth and Rocque would have needed to make a Hail Mary quad takeout on her last in the 10th just to force an extra end but opted to shake hands instead.

Earlier Sunday, Rocque ousted Krysta Hilker of St. Albert 8-1 in the semifinal to advance.

Elsewhere, Andrea Crawford will skip New Brunswick for an eighth time at the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts following a 6-3 victory over Sylvie Quillian in Saint John.

Mary-Anne Arsenault beat former teammate Colleen Jones 7-4 in Dartmouth to earn the right to represent Nova Scotia. Arsenault was part of Jones’ legendary team that won five Scotties Tournament of Hearts titles and two world championships.

Halifax’s Jamie Murphy will skip Nova Scotia at the Tim Hortons Brier for the fourth time in five years with a 10-4 triumph over Kendal Thompson.

Noemie Verreault will represent Quebec at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts stealing single points in the eighth and 10th ends to top Laurie St-Georges 3-1 in Valleyfield.

Alek Bedard is heading to the Tim Hortons Brier with a 7-2 decision over Vincent Roberge in the WFG Quebec Tankard final. Bedard sprinted ahead with a three-ender in five and added single steals in six and nine.

Provincial playdowns continue with the Scotties Tournament of Hearts running Feb. 15-23 in Moose Jaw, Sask., and the Tim Hortons Brier taking place Feb. 29 to March 8 in Kingston, Ont.

2020 Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Team Playdown dates/Winner
Canada Chelsea Carey
Alberta Laura Walker
British Columbia Jan. 28-Feb. 2
Manitoba Jan. 28-Feb. 2
New Brunswick Andrea Crawford
Newfoundland and Labrador Erica Curtis
Northern Ontario Jan. 28-Feb. 2
Nova Scotia Mary-Anne Arsenault
Ontario Jan. 27-Feb. 1
Prince Edward Island Suzanne Birt
Quebec Noemie Verreault
Saskatchewan Robyn Silvernagle
Northwest Territories Kerry Galusha
Nunavut Lori Eddy
Yukon Hailey Birnie
Wildcard Feb. 14: Top two teams on CTRS standings who did not win their provincials

2020 Tim Hortons Brier

Team Playdown dates/Winner
Canada Kevin Koe
Alberta Feb. 5-9
British Columbia Jan. 28-Feb. 2
Manitoba Feb. 4-9
New Brunswick Jan. 28-Feb. 2
Newfoundland and Labrador Jan. 28-Feb. 2
Northern Ontario Jan. 28-Feb. 2
Nova Scotia Jamie Murphy
Ontario Jan. 28-Feb. 2
Prince Edward Island Bryan Cochrane
Quebec Alek Bedard
Saskatchewan Jan. 28-Feb. 2
Northwest Territories Jan. 29-Feb. 3
Nunavut Jake Higgs
Yukon Thomas Scoffin
Wildcard Feb. 28: Top two teams on CTRS standings who did not win their provincials