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Scotties fever building in Sydney

<p>Kim Kelly won the Canadian championships with Colleen Jones in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2004. They also won the worlds together in 2001 and 2004.</p>
Kim Kelly won the Canadian championships with Colleen Jones in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2004. They also won the worlds together in 2001 and 2004. - Jonathan Riley

SYDNEY, N.S. — Two events this week in Sydney will highlight Cape Breton’s hosting of the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in February.

On Wednesday, there will be a public open house at Centre 200 for fans to pick up their ticket packages along with having first crack at single ticket sales before such offerings go public on Friday.

A featured guest at the event will be Kim Kelly, a 16-time Scotties competitor representing Nova Scotia.

Kelly played third on the Colleen Jones foursome and claimed five national titles and two world championships. Jones also won a sixth national title. Kelly is also a world senior women’s champion and a Canadian mixed champion along with winning the provincial title nine times.

Fans can have their picture taken with Kelly along with the Scotties trophy.

The event is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Scotties tournament is set to run from Feb. 16-22.

On Thursday, it’s media day and Kelly will again be in the house, coaching local media representatives on the finer points of the game. This is not a public event.

While provincial representatives have yet to be decided, provincial playdowns will be held over the next two months, there are two teams who will definitely be in the mix to win a national title in Sydney.

The Jennifer Jones team, out of Manitoba, will be returning as the defending title holder while the Rachel Homan team, out of Ontario, will also be present.

Homan was supposed to be Team Canada at the 2018 event after winning her third Canadian title in 2017 in St. Catharines, Ont.

However, having also won the right to be Canada’s women’s curling team at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, they were forced to give-up the quest for a national title.

As a result, Homan will now have two ways of making it to Sydney. She can advance by winning the Ontario provincial title and, in failing that, the team will be assigned a spot in the wild card game set for Feb. 15 that will decide the final list of 16 teams.

Another known factor is the schedule for the team that will represent Nova Scotia. That team will play in the opening draw on Feb. 16, and also will be featured in draws three and five (both on Feb. 17), draw seven on Feb. 18, draw nine and 11 on Feb. 20 and draw 13 on Feb. 21.

All ticket packages are available at the Centre 200 Box Office, online at curling.ca/tickets or by calling 902-564-2200.

Further details available at www.curling.ca/2019scotties for all event updates, including volunteer signup, ticket offers, team announcements and the event schedule when completed.

Related: Scotties Tournament of Hearts coming to Cape Breton in 2019

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