The Northwest Territories has earned a berth in the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts after beating New Brunswick 5-3 in Saturday’s pre-tournament qualifier.
With the win, Kerry Galusha and her team of Meagan Koehler, Danielle Derry, Sharon Cormier and Shona Barbour advances to the 12-team draw for the women’s national curling championship in St. Catherines, Ont.
Team NWT advanced to the pre-qualifying final after going 2-1 in round-robin play ahead of the weekend. Their only loss came on Friday against New Brunswick – a loss the team was able to avenge a day later.
Prior to this year, the Northwest Territories had never advanced beyond the Scotties pre-qualifier since its introduction in 2015.
The pre-tournament qualifier for both the Scotties and Tim Hortons Brier (its male equivalent) has proven to be unpopular amongst players since its implementation.
It forces the country’s four lowest-ranked teams to play one another before the real tournament begins.
Before 2015, teams from the NWT and Yukon held a playoff to determine which team would compete in the national event.
But thankfully for some, organizers have decided to drop the pre-qualifiers for both tournaments from 2018 onward in favour of a 16-team format.
Team NWT won’t have much time to celebrate making it to this year’s main draw. They begin play against Prince Edward Island on Saturday night.
Galusha and her rink will play every other team in the tournament between Saturday and next Friday. The top four teams at the conclusion of the round-robin will advance to the playoffs.
You can track scores live here.
— Team Galusha (@TeamGalusha) February 18, 2017