MORRIS -- Heather Mowat may still be rehabilitating from a vehicle accident but she will be on the ice in spirit with her Brandon teammates here this week.
"Heather's a motivator and wouldn't want us to be down, and that's what we go on," skip Liza Park said yesterday. "We curl for Heather."
Heather's sister, Tammy, is literally curling for Heather, taking over her lead spot. And when the foursome won their zone spot, the MCA agreed to make a crest for Heather, too.
"Heather's doing awesome, though, and she's following us," Park said. "We give her updates after every game. Tammy's been a very easy transition and took Heather's spot right over so it's been comfortable."
Heather Mowat has been out of a coma for quite some time and moved to a different hospital where she has started her rehab. In fact, she is doing so well that she was even allowed to leave the hospital for some short visits -- with assistance, Park said.
"We want to do the best we can for her and of course for ourselves as well," said Park, also supported by third Jaimie Coxworth and Rhonda Ritchie.
DEFENDING: The last women's team to repeat as champion was Connie Laliberte in 2000, thanks to Cathy Overton-Clapham's skipping.
"I don't feel the pressure because we're defending champions," said Fort Rouge's Janet Harvey. "The other teams may step their game up a little more when they play us so every game will be tough. But you know what? Every game last year was a grind so it's hard out here."
Harvey is seeded No. 2 with St. Vital's Jennifer Jones as No. 1. "We seeded ourselves that way as well," said Harvey.
NO. 2: Janet Arnott is competing in her 21st women's provincial competition -- second-most overall and one more than her sister, Connie Laliberte. And that's only four behind La Salle's Chris Scalena, who is making a record 25th appearance here.
Arnott, the fifth for Jones the last two years, never thought she would be back after competing in the 2000 nationals.
"Never say never," said Arnott, 50. "You've got to be ready."
BITER: Portage la Prairie's Jo-Anne Inglis won the last senior women's provincial berth in a rural intra-zone playdown.
Handicapping the field for the 2007 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, at Morris, today through Sunday.
1. Jennifer Jones, St. Vital (3-1) ... will overcome bad karma
2. Kristy Jenion, SV (5-1) ... ready for coronation?
3. Janet Harvey, Fort Rouge (7-1) ... tough to repeat
4. Maureen Bonar, Brandon (10-1) ... the dark mare
5. Barb Spencer, FR (15-1) ... best of rest
6. Liza Park, Brandon (20-1) ... sentimental fave
7. Linda Stewart, Benito (25-1) ... beware
8. Shauna Streich, FR (30-1) ... winners on front end
9. Joelle Brown, FR (40-1) ... rejuvenated with new blood
10. Darcy Robertson, FR (50-1) ... who's on third?