Anticipation mounts in Sydney for Scotties tournament in February

Nova Scotia curling champion Christina Black says she grew up watching female curlers on television and "wanted to be like those women."

Nova Scotia curling champ Christina Black has set her sights on competing in the tournament

Curler Christina Black says she would be 'so excited' to play in her hometown. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

Nova Scotia curling champion Christina Black is counting down the days until the Scotties Tournament of Hearts opens in Sydney, N.S., in February.

"Just the thought of playing here in Sydney … I can't even describe the feelings. I am so excited," she said. "The Scotties has always been my favourite event in the world to watch, let alone to play in."

The Sydney native, who now lives and practises in Halifax, has not yet qualified to play in the Scotties, but she is setting her sights on the tournament.

She and Kim Kelly, who is a five-time Scotties champion and two-time world women's curling champ, were in Sydney to promote the tournament Thursday.

Christina Black says she grew up watching curling on TV, determined to be like the women she saw competing. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

Black said she practically grew up in the Sydney curling club and loved to watch the game on television.

"I decided I wanted to be like those women on TV," she said. "I wanted to be like Kim. I still want to be like Kim. I think it's cool she knows my name now." 

Kelly said she was flattered by Black's praise.

"And she's an awesome player and is doing just fine filling old girl shoes," said Kelly. "So it's awesome."

Both women gave lessons to representatives of local sponsors and media at the Sydney curling club.

It was the first time Jennifer Shebib, executive director of Events Cape Breton, threw a rock down the ice.

Jennifer Shebib is the executive director of Events Cape Breton. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

"This is an amazing opportunity," she said. "This is a really great experience and now I need to consider whether or not I am going to come out and join the club and get better, because I definitely need more lessons."

Shebib said pulling off the Scotties Tournament of Hearts could lead to more events and tourism.

"Looking at a national event, that actually brings more people to our community which showcases our tourism and hospitality and has a major economic impact on us," she said.

Vice-chair of the hosting committee, Jennifer Collins, said 370 people have signed on to volunteer for the event and there is a waiting list.  

She said 50 per cent of the tickets for the event have been sold.

About the Author

Yvonne Leblanc-Smith

Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith has been reporting news in Cape Breton since 1981. You can follow her on Twitter @leblancsmith and reach her at yvonne.leblanc-smith@cbc.ca