Excitement ramps up at Scotties as playoffs set to begin
Published Friday, February 22, 2019 11:06PM AST
Last Updated Friday, February 22, 2019 11:07PM AST
The Scotties Tournament of Hearts has taken Sydney by storm the past week.
And heading into the championship weekend, there was still a Maritime team still in the mix the rink from Prince Edward Island was becoming a crowd favourite.
As the games get bigger, so did the crowds at Centre 200 as the excitement ramped up.
Eight teams were left on Friday from the original field of 16 and, as they took to the ice for this afternoon's draw, the team from P.E.I. was feeling right at home.
“We're definitely feeling lots of love from the stands, for sure,” said P.E.I. third Marie Christianson. “It's good to have family and friends here cheering us on.”
Debbie Christianson is from Nova Scotia, but her allegiance is clearly with her daughter.
“I had to trade in my bluenose and sou'wester for Anne of Green Gables of course,” she said.
Christianson’s mom was dressed in Anne's signature red braids and was part of a loud contingent of Islanders cheering on the last East Coast team remaining.
The Prince Edward Island rink didn’t qualify for the playoffs, but made a spirited run.
The most memorable sound inside Centre 200 this week has probably been the moose call by Northern Ontario fans.
It's as simple as a string inside a tin can, but you can hear it from anywhere in the building.
“These are our moose callers,” said Sue Gates. “So we use this to cheer on the team. They can hear it every time we sound it. We do it for good shots. And we do it to kind of pump up our team out there.”
While ticket sales were so-so in the months leading up to the Scotties, the community has really embraced the event.
Crowds have been steady and the tournament has been the talk of the town.
“The buzz has been great,” said Centre 200 general manager Paul MacDonald. “Our numbers have been growing as the week went on, which is the way it works with curling draws, and everybody I think knew that. We've got tremendous response for the weekend.”
Adding to the excitement of this final weekend was the fact that a Maritime team was still right in the thick of things.
“We've been working hard this year, so we're happy to be where we are,” Marie Christianson said earlier Friday.
Come Monday, Sydney may be suffering from a Scotties hangover, but one of these teams will be champions, and the memories will last for quite some time.
Four teams will participate in the Page playoffs, starting Saturday morning.
Tt all wraps up with the championship on Sunday at 6 p.m. at Centre 200 and organizers are expecting a big crowd for that.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald.