Nedohin itching to repeat rookie victory

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:11 PM ET

CAMROSE -- There are those who would have you believe that Alberta curling is divided along geographic lines.

Northern men are dominant, southern women rule the roost, goes the mythology.

Over the past decade, the perception is that the bulk of women's curling's Alberta booty has been shared by Calgar y's Cheryl Bernard and Shannon Kleibrink. It's true that teams from the south have been Alberta's best World Curling Tour teams, winning more money.

Yet, northern teams have won more Alberta championships over the past 10 years, 5-4, with one going to Grande Prairie's Renee Sonnenberg.

That competitiveness is what makes the provincials a compelling event to watch and this 2011 Scotties should be no exception.

Edmonton's Heather Nedohin and Jessie Kaufman are now firmly entrenched in the top 10 of the WCT money list. They're a real threat to bring back-to-back titles to the north for the first time since Cathy King won in 2005-06.

Nedohin, in particular, is itching to get back into the winners' circle.

A world junior champion in 1996 who was a member of Team Canada in 1999 after helping King win the 1998 Scotties, Nedohin has won this event before.

Back in 2000, in her rookie year as skip, Nedohin won it all in Alberta. Make that 6-4-1 in the last 11 years.

There were times in between when family became more important, but Nedohin kept giving it her best shot.

Nedohin lost the 2009 Alberta final to Bernard in an extra end and qualified for this event as the province's leading early-season CTRS leader.

And Nedohin insists her recharged attitude has nothing to do with a more relaxed season now that husband Dave put his cashspiel career on hold.

"For me, it's more my children and the age they're at," said Nedohin.

"My children are now eight and five and they're less dependent on mom. That allows myself to commit more. When my kids were young, I was jumping from place to place."

After more than a decade away from the winners' circle and a couple of years away from almost skipping her second Scotties team, Nedohin knows it's no easy task to get back.

"What people forget is how solid Alberta is," said Nedohin. "So, when you don't see Heather coming out for 10 years, look at who we have in this province. We've won games by just a bit and we've won big games, like we did two years ago to Cheryl in the provincial final."

Nedohin's supporting cast of Beth Iskiw, Jessica Miller and Lanie Peters is different than the one that lost the final to Bernard in 2009.

"We have been, in the last five years, in the top 10," said Nedohin.

"It's just a matter of breaking into the top five, which has been tough.

"This province is strong. Just like the men's side, the women's side is strong. Look at Shannon and Cheryl. They've been banging heads. That's who we need to bang heads against."

Bernard and Kleibrink were seeded No. 1 and 2 this weekend by their peers. Nedohin and Kaufman are right there at No. 3 and 4.

"We've made some changes on this team and we've done a lot of preparation," said Nedohin.

"The tour season is one thing, but this is season No. 2. We've prepared differently to get here and we hope those preparations pay off by the end of the week."


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