Their New Year's resolutions might involve getting bigger suitcases.
Rachel Homan and her City View rink could have a lot of travelling ahead of it during the remainder of the curling season. Skip Homan, along with teammates Emma Miskew, Alison Kreviazuk and Nicole Johnston, just returned from Toronto, where they won the Energizer Bunny Junior Bonspiel. The win earned them an all-expense paid February trip to a Swiss 'spiel.
But Homan and Co. face a challenging week starting this afternoon in Brockville, when they take to the ice for their first round-robin match at the Pepsi Junior Provincials.
"We hope to make it to nationals. That's our goal," the quiet skip remarked matter-of-factly.
If they do attain that goal, their schedule shapes up to be as regimented as a concert tour:
Junior Nationals: St. Catharines, Feb. 3-11; Switzerland: Feb. 12-21; Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse: Feb. 22-March 3 (women's curling ends). And, not to jinx the girls, but the World Juniors go March 3-11 in Minnesota. Oh, by the way, the junior curling tour championship runs March 10-12 here in Ottawa.
How will they fit this all in?
"I'm not too sure." said Homan. "It all depends on how I do this weekend."
The Ottawa rink sits atop the Ontario Junior Curling Tour standings but faces five top 10 tour teams in the Seaway city. Team Homan faces the strongest teams in its first three outings -- Lisa Farnell, Britanni O'Neil then Hollie Nicol.
However, four of eight squads participating will make it to the championship weekend. With the team's depth, coupled with experience, there is a good chance they will advance to the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors.
Brianna Tour skips the other local junior women's team competing in Brockville.
On the men's side, two Manotick rinks, skipped by Christian Tolusso and Neil Sinclair, each have a genuine chance of capturing provincial honours. Both are tied at the top of the junior tour leader board.
WOMEN'S REGIONS: The Scotties Tournament of Hearts regionals begin this weekend in Gananoque. Out of the 16 rinks entered, two will advance to the Ontario round-robin. Local entries include Jenn Day, Jenn Hanna, Deb Karbashewski, Janet McGhee, Erin Morrissey and Joyce Potter. There's a good chance a team whose skip's first name begins with a "J" will advance.
THE BACKBOARD JUNGLE: The winning team in the annual Teachers' Bonspiel consisted of Bob Crawford, Geoffrey Hopkins, Joe Truesdell and Brian Crawford. The 'spiel ran Dec. 28.
PARKES & SLIDE: By this time in 2008, Dave Parkes, the current CEO of the Canadian Curling Association, should be retired. The replacement schedule sees head hunters contracted by mid-January, followed by a 12-week period where a short list of candidates will be compiled for spring interviews. It's assumed the new head honcho -- or "honcho-ess" -- will be presented at the CCA's annual meeting in June. Does anyone have Anne Merklinger's number?
CIAO BABY: Ottawa Hunt Club icemaker Kirk Smyth leaves next week for Pinerolo, Italy, where he'll craft the ice for the curling event at the Winter Universiade. Steve Laycock, who skipped his Saskatchewan rink to victory when the junior nationals took place in Ottawa in 2003, will lead the Canadian men's team.
TOP MONEY: At the end of 2006, the top five men's money earners were: Glenn Howard ($84,500), Kerry Burtnyk ($76,009), Kevin Martin ($72,500), Randy Ferbey ($65,361) and Pat Simmons ($39,900). Top five women's squads: Sherry Anderson ($34,500), Shannon Kleibrink ($30,000), Jennifer Jones ($29,500), Kelly Scott ($27,500) and Anette Norberg ($27,461).