The transformation of St. Paul’s Clancy Richard Arena is nearly complete; the athletes, coaches, and officials are arriving, along with sportswriters and curling fans from across the province.

It’s Scotties time.

The 2024 Sentinel Storage Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts kicks off with the opening ceremony at the Clancy at 5:00 pm tomorrow, and curling action beginning at 6:30.

Alberta’s eight top women’s teams will compete for the right to represent the province at the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary starting February 16. 

After Wednesday’s draw the teams will curl two games each day, with the final game Sunday afternoon. Team Kayla Skrlik, who won last year’s event on a spectacular last-rock double takeout, will be in St. Paul to defend their provincial title.

St. Paul Curling Club president Troy Bohn said it’s been a long road to get here, but he’s looking forward to St. Paul putting on a great championship tournament.

After months of planning and preparation, the tempo of activity kicked up a notch starting about two months ago.

“You start looking and it’s 45 days away, 37 days, and then 23 and then 14 and then six and then three. So it’s coming quick,” he said Sunday evening. 

“But we’ve put a lot of planning into it, a lot of time obviously invested into getting everything organized and ready to go. So now it’s just a matter of putting it all together.”

The Scotties committee took possession of the Clancy at midnight Saturday, right after a hockey game. Crews removed rinkside glass, moved in some pop coolers, built a sponsor box, and started other work to turn the hockey rink into a curling venue.

And then there is the all-important ice itself.

The curling ice is laid on top of the hockey ice. The process starts with a hose flood, and then a white spray to hide the hockey markings. More thin coats of ice, and then the rings are painted on and finally the playing surface is prepared.

“We’re hoping to have the ice done by Tuesday. It’s just a matter of how everything goes, but that’s kind of all up to the ice maker,” Bohn said.

Game times throughout the week are Wednesday at 6:30 pm; Thursday at 10:00 am and 6:30 pm; Friday at 10:00 am and 4:00 pm; and Saturday at 10:00am and 6:30 pm. 

Playoff will run on Sunday with semifinals at 10:00 am and the final at 3:00 pm.

The committee has made special arrangements with local sponsors to allow free admission for students for Thursday morning’s game, and for seniors to enjoy the morning draw Friday at no charge.

Faceoff circles are out, curling rings are in for the 2024 Sentinel Storage Alberta Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. Paul. SUBMITTED
Curlers will be zeroing in on this circle all week long. SUBMITTED
Last year’s champs, Team Skrlik, are back to defend. SUBMITTED
Installing the overhead cameras. SUBMITTED
Measure twice… SUBMITTED
Team Gray-Withers just won the CanWest title at USports on the weekend. Now on to St. Paul and the Alberta Scotties! SUBMITTED