The hometown skip is the number one seed for the 2019 Provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts which begins Wednesday, January 23rd at the Gimli Recreation Centre.

Kerri Einarson along with third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur have won four events on the World Curling Tour this season and made the final in a fifth.

The Gimli Curling Club foursome captured the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard, the Morris SunSpiel, the Mother Club Fall Classic at the Granite Curling Club in Winnipeg and the Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Classic in Calgary.

Einarson won the 2016 Provincial Scotties, Sweeting skipped Alberta teams at three National Scotties while Birchard and Meilleur, who had outstanding junior careers, both threw last rocks until this fall.

"We all went in super committed to our new positions and put in a lot of work over the summer to really gel as a new team and build those relationships and that trust," said Birchard at CurlManitoba's press conference on Wednesday to announce the top five seeds. "That was a really big key to our success early on in the season and it's just a matter of continuing that throughout and keeping the lines of communication really open - that's been a big part of our success."

Birchard says there's no added pressure on the team being the number one seed.

"We would have had a target on our backs regardless. We just have to play well, play our game and make our shots."

Einarson's old team of third Selena Njegovan, second Liz Fyfe and lead Kristin MacCuish went out and added new skip Tracy Fleury this season.

The East St. Paul team is the second seed.

"I thought this is what it would be," said Njegovan. "Kerri seems to have had a really good year and I'm not surprised at all."

Darcy Robertson of Assiniboine Memorial, who lost the 2018 Provincial final to Jennifer Jones in Killarney, is the third seed.

The fourth seed is Allison Flaxey, Kate Cameron, Taylor McDonald and Raunora Westcott of the Granite who won the DEKALB Super Spiel in Morris this past November.

Westcott and Cameron won the 2017 Provincial Scotties at the Eric Coy Arena in Winnipeg with Michelle Englot and Leslie Wilson-Westcott.

Westcott explained what the key is if she's to capture a fourth provincial title.

"Getting a grasp of the ice early and then it's just going to come down to communication and supporting one another really."

Beth Peterson, Jenna Loder, Katherine Doerksen and Melissa Gordon of Assiniboine Memorial are the fifth seed.

"It's really exciting," said Doerksen who grew up in Morden and played in two previous Scotties with Hall of Famer Cathy Overton-Clapham. "We've been pretty anxious for about a month now. Our last event was the beginning of December so we've had some time off. We took some time off for Christmas and now we've been practicing pretty hard the last few weeks leading up to the Provincials."

Mackenzie Zacharias of the Altona Curling Club, who qualified for the Provincial Scotties, will not compete in Gimli as she'll be representing Manitoba at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Prince Albert which begins Saturday, January 19th.


2019 Provincial Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Gimli

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Tuesday, February 19th

South Central Athletic Conference
Junior Varsity Girls Basketball
St. Norbert 74 SRSS 25

Platinum Promotions
Tier II Division
SRSS 2 Oak Park 0
(1st game in best of 3 semifinal)

Wpg Blues 4 Selkirk 2

Grunthal 7 Red River 3
(Red Wings lead best of 7 semifinal 2-1)

Tampa Bay 5 Philadelphia 2
Pittsburgh 4 New Jersey 3
N.Y. Rangers 2 Carolina 1
Florida 4 Buffalo 2
Montreal 3 Columbus 2
St. Louis 3 Toronto 2 (OT)
Anaheim 4 Minnesota 0
Nashville 5 Dallas 3
Arizona 3 Edmonton 2 (SO)

Wednesday, February 20th

South Central Athletic Conference
High School Varsity Boys Basketball
SRSS vs Dakota
@ Steinbach, 6 p.m.

Platinum Promotions Tier II Division
SRSS vs Oak Park
@ Wpg, 3:15 p.m.
(Sabres lead best of 3 semifinal 1-0)

Lorette at Grunthal, 8 p.m.
(Comets lead best of 5 series 2-0)

Portage at Neepawa, 7:30 p.m.
OCN at Swan Valley, 7:30 p.m.
Dauphin at Waywayseecappo, 7:30 p.m.

Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League
Wpg Wild vs Interlake
@ Teulon, 7:45 p.m.
Pembina Valley at Wpg Bruins, 7 p.m.
Southwest vs Brandon
@ Souris, 7:30 p.m.

U17 Midget Prep Hockey League
Eastman at Wpg Warriors, 6:30 p.m.

La Broquerie at Ste. Anne, 8 p.m.
(Aces lead best of 7 semifinal 1-0)

Calgary at Brandon, 7 p.m.

Manitoba at Toronto, 10 a.m.

Chicago at Detroit, 6:30 p.m.
Winnipeg at Colorado, 7:30 p.m.
N.Y. Islanders at Calgary, 8:30 p.m.
Boston at Vegas, 9 p.m.