For the second year in a row, there will be no northern teams competing in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, which started Saturday in Grande Prairie, Alta.

Under a format introduced last year, the bottom four teams must compete in a pre-qualifying round for one final spot in the main draw.

Team NWT curling

N.W.T. skip Kerry Galusha, second from left, has attended the Scotties competition 13 times. This is the second year in a row Team N.W.T. has been shut out of the main competition. (Submitted by Kerry Galusha)

This year the four teams, based on their performance at last year's championship, were Northwest Territories, Yukon and British Columbia, along with Nunavut, which made its first appearance at the event.

During the pre-qualifying round, Yukon and Nunavut finished with 1-2 records while B.C. and N.W.T. both ended with two wins and one loss.

That set the stage for Saturday afternoon's showdown between Karla Thompson's rink from B.C. and the foursome from Yellowknife, skipped by Kerry Galusha. It was Galusha's 13th appearance in the competition.

After trying to play catch-up to team Thompson all game, Galusha fell to Team B.C. with a final score of 8-5. That means B.C. advances to the Scotties' round robin.


Members of the Nunavut team celebrate their victory in their debut at the Canadian women's curling championship in Grande Prairie, Alta., on Thursday. (Andrew Klaver/Curling Canada/Canadian Press)

There was at least one positive note for the territories in the pre-qualifying round. Team Nunavut picked up its first ever win in the opening game against B.C.

Curling Canada says it will change the rules for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the Tim Hortons Brier in 2018. Under the new format, all the territories and provinces will have a direct entry into the competition.