Team Manitoba Skip Jennifer Jones has her eye on her sixth Scotties national title. Curling Canada photo

Scotties Tournament of Hearts ups the excitement with new elements

Don’t miss out: Get your tickets now as the Okanagan welcomes Canada’s top women curlers

Canada’s long-standing women’s curling championship turns the page on tradition with several new features, all in time for the Jan. 26 start at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Planning your week at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts? Here’s what you need to know:

Go wild Friday night: On Friday, the top two Canadian teams who failed to advance from provincial playdowns compete to secure a wild card ticket to the Scotties. Free to spectators, this inaugural event features Calgary’s Chelsea Carey, 2016 Scotties champ, and Winnipeg’s Kerri Einarson. Play opens at SOEC at 6:30 p.m.

Ford Hot Shots: Also opening Friday is the free-to-watch Ford Hot Shot Skills competition. For the first time, four lucky fans chosen from a list of online contest entries will have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a brand new 2018 Ford Escape SE 4WD. Before Saturday’s final round of the Ford Hot Shots skills competition, they’ll be matched with the final four entries on the ice. The contestant who’s matched with the winning team will win a two-year lease!

Two pool format: The 16 teams, including Team Canada’s Michelle Englot and Team Wild Card, will be split into two eight-team pools, with the pools seeded evenly based on Canadian Team Ranking System points. The top four teams from each pool advance to a championship pool to determine the final four playoff teams.

Ones to watch: Beyond Team Canada, exciting teams to watch include the Jennifer Jones team from Winnipeg. Jones recently won her eighth Manitoba title and has her eye on her sixth Scotties national title, a mark that would tie the record currently held by Colleen Jones of Halifax. Home-province favourite, the seventh-seeded Kesa Van Osch team, will also make for some exciting games. Team BC opens play with Team Canada Saturday at 2 p.m., but be sure to come early for the pageantry of opening ceremonies. Single draw tickets are $29.50 or buy an opening day pack (two draws) for $49. CLICK HERE for the full round-robin schedule.

Head to the HeartStop: Following each draw Jan. 27 to Feb. 3, the party moves to the HeartStop Lounge at the nearby Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. While open to all throughout the Scotties, ticket holders have priority. Meet the athletes and enjoy live music, dancing, drinks and food, plus interactive family-friendly activities.

Don’t miss out! Purchase tickets at the South Okanagan Events Centre box office, online at curling.ca/tickets or by phone at 1-877-763-2849.

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