I am predicting that if Jennifer Jones and Kelly Scott make it out of their provinces this year, which they probably will, they will be some of the toughest competitors standing in the way of Nedohin repeating as champion.
Jennifer Jones has a lot of experience. She’s been to 9 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, 4 World Championships and has 1 World Title. She missed part of the season because she was just on maternity leave, but performed well at the Continental Cup and should be okay to defend her provincial crown.
Kelly Scott has won 2 Scotties Tournament of Hearts and 1 World Championship.
But, the competition doesn’t end there! There are strong competitors who could potentially be at the Scotties from Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan as well.
Rachel Homan is my pick coming out of Ontario. Rachel Homan has an excellent shot at winning this tournament but a lack of experience with only 1 Scotties appearance may be her downfall. She did not make it to the Scotties last year, losing to Tracy Horgan in the Ontario finals. She has had some success on the CCA Season of Champions circuit with a win at the Masters Grand Slam of Curling (November 2012). Rachel Homan beat Chelsea Carey in the finals. Team Rachel Homan has had a good season so far and are on top of the World Curling Tour money list. With the Scotties coming to Kingston this year, Team Homan would have a home field advantage because they are from just up the road in Ottawa.
Sherry Middaugh can also give Rachel Homan and Tracy Horgan a run for their money as she and her team have experience, are sagacious and very dangerous. At the Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Curling Classic (October 2012), Sherry Middaugh beat Rachel Homan in the finals. Middaugh was 2nd on the money list last year.
With Heather Nedohin already returning as Team Canada, the teams to watch out for in Alberta are Sheryl Bernard (2010 Olympic silver medalist) and Shannon Kleibrink (2006 Olympic bronze medalist).
The 2 teams to watch out for in Saskatchewan are Amber Holland and Stefanie Lawton. Amber Holland has only won 1 Scotties and silver at the World Championships in 2011, but she’s a fierce competitor But Holland will have to get by Stephanie Lawton who is 2nd on the World Curling Tour money list this year. At the Manitoba Lotteries Women's Curling Classic (October 2012), Stefanie Lawton beat Rachel Homan in the finals. At the Colonial Square Ladies Classic (November 2012), she beat Chelsea Carey in the finals. At the Canada Cup of Curling this year (November/December 2012), she beat Team Jones in the finals. Team Stefanie Lawton is very hot right now and I predict that they will make it out of Saskatchewan this year.