The start of the 2024 Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Morden's Access Event Centre is just days away, with Draw 1 next Wednesday. Host Committee Chair Ernie Epp says the curling community in the city is excited to be hosting the event.

"Morden has one of the oldest curling clubs in Manitoba," explained Epp. "We've got a junior program, we've got lots of people that are getting older like me who still curl. The reason we're looking at doing the Scotties is for the future of curling in Morden. This year, so happens, we have a team going to nationals, a junior team under-18. That's terrific that all tied in so nicely."

And before the first rock can be thrown at the provincial women's curling championship, the ice needs to be prepared for the high caliber curlers coming. That work began Friday morning, and will last through the weekend.

Photo of the arena

"It's a lot of work," noted Epp. "There's a whole bunch of people who are coming into the arena, and they will start preparing the ice. They've got to paint it, they've got to put sponsor logos up and get the lines in, because by Monday evening it needs to be ready, so many, many person hours of work."

And once draws to the button and take-outs begin, many eyes in the Pembina Valley will be on Team Hayward out of the Carman Curling Club. Skip Shaela Hayward, Third Keira Krahn, Second India Young, Lead Rylie Cox and Fifth Diane Hayward (Coach Ron Westcott) are playing in their first Scotties.

Some of the other teams competing include Team Kaitlyn Lawes, Team Kristy Watling and Team Beth Peterson. Meanwhile, Altona's Mackenzie Zacharias is on Team Kate Cameron from the Granite Curling Club, serving as the Fifth.

- With files from Ronny Guenther -