OTTAWA - Team Canada coach Earle Morris will have more than a casual interest in how Rachel Homan's Ontario rink fares at the Scotties.
Morris, Homan’s former coach, said he thinks the Ottawa Curling Club foursome will do very well at their first women’s nationals, beginning Saturday in Charlottetown.
“I think Homan will be there the final weekend with Jennifer (Jones — Team Canada) and Shannon Kleibrink (Alberta),” said Morris
If Ontario reaches the final, Morris would like to see “a great game that comes down to the final shot and the final shot is made.”
Any advice for his former team?
“This becomes cliche,” said Morris, “but they have to take every game one at a time. But more so, they have to play with confidence and they can and do. Even watching the rink practise, they exude confidence and it shows in their body language and their attitude.”
Morris expects Team Canada, Ontario, B.C.’s Kelly Scott (a two-time winner), Manitoba’s Cathy Overton-Clapham (11 appearances, five championships), Saskatchewan’s Amber Holland (making her second appearance) and Kleibrink (who has never won this event) will be vying for the four playoff spots.
When Homan faces Team Canada (Feb. 23, 8:30 a.m.), there will be another irony besides Morris. Team Canada third, Kaitlyn Lawes, defeated Homan in her first national junior final.
Ontario faces other challenges: Media glare as the youngest team, televised games, arena ice and large crowds.
“We just play our game, stay calm and don’t let anything faze us,” said Homan third Emma Miskew.
The presence of Sherry Middaugh, who has made seven Scotties appearances, as Ontario’s fifth makes her an excellent mentor.
Intimidation should not be a factor for the young squad. Homan and second Alison Kreviazuk are 21, Miskew turned 22 on Feb. 14, while lead Lisa Weagle is the oldest at 25. Weagle has brought maturity and a sense of fun since joining the rink this year.
“If we are around at the end of the week, then we’ll see what happens from there,” said Weagle.
Scotties coverage on TSN begins Saturday afternoon at 1:30. Daily draws air at 8:30 a.m., 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. There is a good chance Homan’s first-draw game vs. Nova Scotia Saturday afternoon will be the televised matchup.
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