Heather Nedohin rink well prepared for Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Canada skip Heather Nedohin reacts after scoring during their bronze medal game against South Korea...

Canada skip Heather Nedohin reacts after scoring during their bronze medal game against South Korea at the World Women's Curling Championship in Lethbridge, Alta., March 25, 2012. (ANDY CLARK/Reuters)

DOUG GRAHAM, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:13 AM ET

KINGSTON, ONT. - Edmonton’s Heather Nedohin proudly proclaims she is “a western girl” and her visits to Eastern Canada have been limited.

It is in the east, and more precisely, Kingston, where Nedohin will be seeking her second straight Scotties Tournament of Hearts title.

Kingston suddenly has a nice ring to it for Nedohin.

“I’ve never been to Kingston. I have family in Peterborough. Other than spending a couple weeks in Peterborough one time, I’ve never been to (eastern Ontario),” Nedohin said en route to Edmonton Wednesday with her husband Dave Nedohin, the former world champion skip with Randy Ferbey, and their two daughters.

“I’m a western girl but I’m certainly looking forward to the Scotties in Kingston,” Nedohin said.

So, too, are her rink members — third Beth Iskiw, second Jessica Mair and lead Laine Peters. Team Nedohin, as the defending champion, is the only rink to know it will be in Kingston.

The remaining 11 rinks — from the 10 provinces and the Northwest Territories/Yukon — will be determined in provincial playdowns, which start in a couple weeks.

Being spared that gruelling competition in the ultra-competitive Alberta women’s curling circle is obviously a bonus for Team Nedohin.

“That’s why (when she won last year’s provincial) I said I was very proud to represent Alberta. I’m proud, too, we will have two Alberta rinks at (Kingston),” Nedohin said.

She admits the season has been “less stressful” in the role of Team Canada, plus the bonus of having a Canadian Olympic trials berth sewn up.

Nedohin said she has leaned on other curlers — Jill Officer of Manitoba and Kelly Scott of British Columbia were two of them — asking how they, as Team Canada rinks in the past, handled the season leading back to the national championship.

“They were very helpful. Other coaches, too, and our own national coach have been very informing,” Nedohin said.

While the guaranteed return to the Scotties and the Olympic trials berth were what Nedohin termed “little bits of security blanket” for her team, the challenge became what to do in January while other rinks are going through playdowns.

Team Nedohin did play on a curling tour before the Christmas break and ended ranked seventh, a decent enough result, the skip said.

“We have two huge events that gobble up the first three weeks of January,” Nedohin said.

First up will be the Continental Cup at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, B.C., Jan. 10-13. After that, Team Nedohin will be off to Scotland to play against the best of Europe in a challenge event in Glasgow.

The remaining time before the Feb. 16-24 Scotties at the K-Rock Centre will be spent at the Saville Centre in Edmonton. Lots of practice deliveries.

Nedohin knows what lies ahead at Kingston and believes her rink will be well prepared.

“It’s been a different schedule, less stressful, but it didn’t let us down intensity wise. We have been able to work on many aspects of the game, knowing the high standards it takes to win,” Nedohin said.

“We’re proud to be coming to the Scotties as Team Canada.”


Videos

Photos