It's showtime for the St. Albert Curling Club as the host venue for the Jiffy Lube Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
This year's Alberta Scotties is shaping up to be the very best and it starts today at 9:30 a.m.
"Our volunteers have been nothing short of amazing. When you walk into the club you'll be blown away by the mini-arena look," said Jackie Rae Greening, chair of the organizing committee. "Our goal from when we started organizing this event over a year ago was to ensure it would be an incredible experience for the curlers, the fans, the volunteers and our sponsors."
The attention to detail was paramount in preparing for the 12-team competition, featuring 12 draws and 33 games.
"The fact that I personally have curled in probably over 30 provincial championships over my curling career has helped. I know what teams like and what they don't," said Greening, a former provincial junior women's champion and three-time Canadian Scotties Tournament of Hearts competitor.
It's also shaping up to be the party of the year. After the 6:30 p.m. draws on Friday and Saturday night, live music by RAVE ON will rock the Owl's Nest in the Friendly Giant Lounge until 1 a.m. and admission is free.
A preview of RAVE ON is featured on page 30.
Sunday's SUNCO pancake breakfast at 10 a.m. is also free with a ticket to the 11 a.m. semifinal.
"We have a great curling club and an event like this brings everyone together," Greening said. "I'm not going to lie to you, we know how to have a good time."
On the ice it's all business for the teams competing for the right to represent Alberta at the 2017 Canadian Scotties, Feb. 18 to 26 at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ont.
The lineup for the Alberta Scotties is as follows:
• Team Sweeting of Saville Community Sports Club (2015/16 highest-ranked Alberta rink in the Canadian Team Ranking System): skip Val Sweeting, Paul Kane High school teacher Lori Olson-Johns at third, second Dana Ferguson, lead Rachelle Brown.
• Team Scheidegger of Lethbridge Curling Club (top CTRS point leader as of Dec. 1): skip Casey Scheidegger, third Cary-Anne McTaggart, second Jessie Scheidegger, lead Stephanie Enright.
• Team Chyz of Glencoe Club (CTRS point leader for Alberta Tour events): skip Nadine Chyz, third Heather Jensen, second Rebecca Konschuh, lead Heather Rogers.
• Team Kleibrink of Okotoks Curling Club (second highest CTRS point leader for Alberta Tour events): skip Shannon Kleibrink, third Lisa Eyamie, second Sarah Wilkies, lead Alison Thiessen.
• Team DeJong of Sexsmith Curling Club (Peace Curling Association A qualifier): skip Delia DeJong, third Teryn Hamilton, second Amy Janko, lead Morgan Watchorn.
• Team James of Fairview Curling Club (Peace Curling Association B qualifier): skip Trisha James, third Michelle Gnam, second Raeleigh Milner, lead Chelsey Whitney.
• Team Baird of Saville Community Sports Centre (Northern Alberta Curling Association A qualifier): skip Holly Baird, third Pam Appleman, second Leslie Rogers, lead Chana Martineau.
• Team Flory of Avonair Curling Club (Northern Alberta Curling Association B qualifier): skip Karynn Flory of St. Albert, third Richelle Nanninga, second Sydney Lewko, lead Sarah Brown.
• Team Scott of Saville Community Sports Centre (Northern Alberta Curling Association C qualifier): skip Holly Scott, third Megan Anderson, second Tara Lamoureux, lead Trina Ball.
• Team Ramsay of North Hill Curling Club (Southern Alberta Curling Association A qualifier): skip Geri-Lynn Ramsay, third Jody McNabb, second Brittany Tran, lead Claire Tully.
• Team Virtue of Lethbridge Curling Club (Southern Alberta Curling Association B qualifier): skip Kalynn Virtue, third Shana Snell, second Amanda Craigie, lead Kaitlin Stubbs.
• Team Marthaller of Lethbridge Curling Club (Southern Alberta Curling Association C qualifier): skip Jodi Marthaller, third Tessa Ruetz, second Nicole Larson, lead Valerie Ekelund.
Chelsea Carey, last year's winner by a score of 8-5 over Sweeting at the North Hill Curling Club in Calgary, returns to the Canadian Scotties as Team Canada.
Sweeting was crowned the provincial champion in 2010, 2014 and 2015 and was the Canadian Scotties' finalist in her last two appearances.
Sweeting is on the verge of qualifying for the 2017 Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials and is currently seventh on the World Curling Tour money list at $58,250.
Scheidegger is sixth at $60,500 and Chyz, the 2011 Alberta junior champion, is 17th at $23,766.
Scheidegger is coming off a Slam victory in North Battleford that included a 7-3 decision over Sweeting in the semifinals.
Kleibrink is a four-time provincial winner (1993, 2004, 2008, 2011), runner-up at the 2008 Canada Scotties and bronze medallist at the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics.
Last year at provincials, Kleibrink and Scheidegger were eliminated in the finals of the C qualifiers, while Sweeting won the A qualifier, Carey was the B qualifier and Chyz was one of the two C qualifiers.
Ramsey was the third for the Erin Carmody rink from P.E.I. that lost the 2010 Canadian Scotties' final to Jennifer Jones.
Flory, the 2013 Alberta junior champion, is competing in her second Alberta Scotties in three years and in 2015 finished 0-3.
The Bellerose Composite High School alumna was also the 2015 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference women's curler of the year.
"Right now, everyone is probably guessing a Scheidegger/Sweeting final, though you can never discount a veteran like Kleibrink. Plus, teams like Marthaller, Chyz and James were in provincials last year so they know what to expect," Greening said. "There are so many young talented teams and I expect you'll see a few upsets this week.
"It's going to be a fun and exciting championship."
The following teams have byes into tonight's 6:30 p.m. draw. They will play the winners of the 9:30 a.m. draw and the losing teams are back on the ice Thursday at 2 p.m. in the B event.
Sweeting versus Flory or Baird.
Chyz versus Ramsey or James.
Kleibrink versus Virtue or DeJong.
Scheidegger versus Marthaller or Scott.
The qualifying finals are 6:30 p.m. Thursday in A, 6:30 p.m. Friday in B and 1 p.m. Saturday in C.
The Page playoffs begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday with A versus B and the two C teams face each other.
Sunday the semifinal between the C winner and the A-B loser is 11 a.m. and the final is 5 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on Sportsnet.
Visit www.2017jiffylubealbertascotties.com for draw times and results.