Thompson does it again

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

The "Nickel City" threw one heck of a rock show once again.

Thompson hosted its second provincial Scott Tournament of Hearts women's curling championship, and all indications are that it will turn another healthy surplus. The "Hub of the North" realized a profit of about $35,000 in 2001, and while live crowds at C.A. Nesbitt Arena seemed sparser this time around, the host committee had surpassed 2001 ticket sales by Saturday morning. Organizers are still counting off-ice fundraisers.

But no money value can be attached to the wonderful northern hospitality offered by Manitoba's third-largest city.

"We have been made to feel so welcome ever since we got to Thompson," Fort Rouge skip Janet Harvey told the crowd after she won this year's crown.

And kudos from all to Calm Air, a major sponsor that scrambled to change flights when draw times were forced to be altered by tie-breakers.

Thompson, by the way, plans to bid on a national mixed championship if and when its new recreation complex is built.

THIRD TRIP: This will be Harvey's third trip to the national Scott. She failed to make the playoffs with different foursomes both previous times, finishing 5-6 in 1990 and 6-5 in '97.

"The first time, we were just kids and were sort of awestruck by the whole thing," she said. "The second time, we just didn't play as well as we could. We had a winning record but just missed the playoffs. This year, our goal is to make the playoffs, then, as everyone knows, once you get there anything can happen."

B.C.'s transplanted Manitoban Kelly Scott will join fellow Olympic trials competitors Colleen Jones of Nova Scotia and Team Canada's Jennifer Jones at the Scott.

"I'd like to be optimistic," said Jill Thurston, Harvey's third. "We'll be somewhere in the mix, I'm sure. It's a long week, and anything can happen.

"Curling is so fickle. One day you're winning the province, and everything is great, and who knows? We'll just have to practise hard and see what happens."

Both Saskatchewan and Ontario will determine their reps this week. Transplanted Manitoban Karen Purdy is a leading contender to win Saskatchewan this year.

THANKS, COACH: Harvey also credited her coach, Manitoba legend Donnie Duguid, for preparing her squad.

"Dugie's a great supporter," she said. "All he wants to do is see us win. He's a great believer in throwing a lot of rocks and practising a lot.

"So we've done a lot more of that this year than we've done in the past."

Duguid, however, cannot coach Harvey at the national Scott because he does not have his Level II. So Harvey will be seeking a mentor when she returns from this week's Canada Cup in Kamloops, B.C.

BITERS: Harvey's second, Cherie-Ann Loder, replaced Lisa Fargey this season because Fargey was transferred to the U.S. Fargey apparently has plans to form a team with former Manitoban Brigitte Dugas in the U.S. ... Expect Charleswood's Jeff Stoughton to be named the No. 1 seed for the Safeway Select men's provincial curling championship today -- likely to be followed by Dave Boehmer and Ryan Fry, both of Valour Road, in that order. Valour Road's defending champion, Randy Dutiaume, should be in the top five.


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