Hot Shots success usually a good sign

JIM BENDER, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. -- Saskatchewan skip Amber Holland sure hopes it is an omen.

Holland scored 21 of a possible 30 points to win the Ford Hot Shots contest that kicked off this year's Scotties Tournament of Hearts at the Essar Centre yesterday.

Holland, who executed a perfect double-takeout to score the winning five to edge Ontario lead Kari MacLean (18 points) in the final, won a two-year lease on a 2010 Ford Taurus SEL FWD worth about $25,000.

In the past, teams with Hot Shots winners have fared well at the nationals. Manitoba second Jill Officer won in 2008 and Jennifer Jones went on to win the Canadian crown. B.C. skip Kelley Law won both the car and the title in 2000. Others have made it to the finals.

"This is not about winning a car," said Holland, who drives a 2006 Mitsubishi Outlander. "There's a lot of games left to happen to do what we came to do."

Holland, however, does plan to carpool her teammates with her new ride.

"I didn't really expect it," said Holland, one of the favourites here. "It's nice. It's good. I'm just glad I executed the shots."

MacLean pocketed $2,000.

Manitoba skip Jill Thurston, who finished third, earned $1,000.

"It's fun," Thurston said. "That's the main thing about Hot Shots, you get more ice time and you get a feel for what's doing."

B.C. skip Kelly Scott, who played for Thurston as a junior, held the broom for her.

"It was nice. Kelly and I have been friends for a long time," Thurston said.

IN THE PINK: The Newfoundland team is using pink brushes to raise awareness for breast cancer. Second Rhonda Rogers is a breast cancer survivor. Now, 37, Rogers was diagnosed with the disease when she was 29.

"We're wearing red and pink, so no big deal," said skip Shelley Nichols. "It's like Valentine's Day."

FAMILY AFFAIR: The Yukon/NWT entry boasts the first mother-daughter combination here since 1993. Sharon Cormier, 45, calls the game and throws second, while her daughter, Megan, 20, throws skip rocks. In 1993, Lois Fowler and her daughter, Rhonda, played for Manitoba's Maureen Bonar. Before that, Carolyn Darbyshire, who now plays second for Alberta's Olympics-bound Cheryl Bernard, played for her mother, Merline, when she represented Manitoba in 1985.

jim.bender@sunme dia.ca


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