An extremely successful Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Morden's Access Event Centre is over. Host Committee Chair Ernie Epp says the week was fantastic and was quick to point to the volunteers, and the work they did, as the reason for that success.
"I am humbled with how they looked after the fans that came out here, the way they looked after the players, the way they looked after the sponsors," he shared. "All I have heard is positive comments from all of those individuals... it's great."
The Sunday afternoon championship final was played in front of a sold-out crowd and saw Team Kaitlyn Lawes capture its first provincial women's curling championship by beating Team Beth Peterson 9-8 in 10 ends. While it was their first ass a team, Lawes has won it five times and will now represent Manitoba at the national Scotties event in Calgary from February 16th to the 25th. Perennial favorites Kerri Einarson and Jennifer Jones had already secured a spot at Nationals and did not have to participate in Morden.
The team is made up of Kaitlyn Lawes, Selena Njegovan, Jocelyn Peterman and Kristin MacCuish and they were the number one seed going into the event.
Team Lisa McLeod made up of players from Winnipeg, Miami, Rivers and Plumas represented the Portage Curling Club. Their week ended on Friday with a loss to Zoey Terrick. That left then with a 2-3 record which was not good enough to advance to the playoff rounds.
Epp noted they had to turn people away at the door at the final because they were already at capacity.
"Yesterday we had to have a conversation, and talked about is there any way we can we can squeeze some more people in here," he explained. "But our bigger interest was to make sure the people that had paid already had good seats, and got to watch a great game, rather than trying to look between other people's legs to be able to see it."
It's probably fair to say having Morden's Katherine Doerksen in the final as Team Peterson's second probably helped fill the stands even more.
"Having a Morden person that's playing on one of the teams, like what more could you ask for?" Epp noted when reflecting on a highlight from the week pointing to Doerksen's championship appearance. "Katherine Doerksen started curling because she went to a jam can event that we host in Morden every year, and she got the bug and has curled ever since, and curled extremely well. She's going to make it onto that podium, yet, just this year wasn't her year."
Next up on the curling scene is another big bonspiel which will also happen in rural Manitoba. The 2024 Viterra Men's Provincial event is next week in Stonewall.
The numbers are still being finalized, but Epp expects the event to generate a significant profit.
"My comment I'm going to make to the volunteers when we have our volunteer appreciation is we don't know the end result, but it's certainly tens of thousands," he said. " It's going to help with our curling facility, and with our curling programs. We want to have some more Katherine Doerksen's come out of Morden, so it would be great to be able to do that."