Skip's advisers solid as a rock

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:54 PM ET

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. -- It may be just one woman holding the broom and throwing last rocks, but Nova Scotia's Heather Smith-Dacey has a six-time Tournament of Hearts winner and a Brier champ in her corner, too.

And they've helped land Smith-Dacey a shot at all the marbles this week.

Smith-Dacey was thrust into the lead role at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts when regular skip Colleen Jones -- yes, that Colleen Jones -- was hit by bacterial meningitis in December.

Instead of wilting under the spotlight, Smith-Dacey has shone, with a sparkling 7-4 record that has some of Jones' fingerprints on it.

"She's constantly texting and e-mailing," Smith-Dacey said. "She wants us to win just as badly as if she was playing."

The gum-chewing record-breaker's advice came in pretty handy, too, after a loss to P.E.I. dropped Smith-Dacey's team to 4-3.

The Halifax TV weather gal told Smith-Dacey that no national championship has ever been lost on a Tuesday night, that Wednesday was moving day and they'd better do some moving.

The rest could be history in the making, as Smith-Dacey guaranteed herself at least one game beyond the round-robin.

When things get dicey, as they did during a harrowing 8-7 win Thursday over Alberta in which she nearly ran out of clock, Smith-Dacey can lean on someone else who knows a thing or two about the game -- husband Mark Dacey, the 2004 Brier winner.

"Between Mark and Colleen, they just keep me in a really good place," she said.

Dacey's best advice may have come when his wife first found out she'd be moving to skip from third.

"I was looking for a bit of sympathy," Smith-Dacey said. "And he goes, 'Sometimes life presents you with opportunities, and you just have to step up to the plate.' OK, I'm stepping up to the plate."


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