Team Canada’s Heather Nedohin isn’t all just emotion and passion on the curling ice.
She’s also a master tactician who thrives in pressure settings. Nedohin is as friendly as they come but packs an intensity-loaded wallop in competition.
Add it up and you’ve got a formula for success that’s working once again at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
“She is an extremely determined and feisty individual,” said Canadian lead Laine Peters. “A lot of that is so intrinsic. I don’t think you can necessarily learn it, it’s just in there.
“And she’s got it.”
Nedohin recorded her fourth straight victory Monday afternoon, needing only seven ends to complete a 12-2 rout of Quebec’s Allison Ross. She improved to 5-0 later in the day with a 10-3 victory over Stacie Devereaux of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones and Ontario’s Rachel Homan also had 5-0 records after seven draws.
Jones defeated Kerry Galusha of the Northwest Territories/Yukon 9-1 in the evening draw while Homan beat New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford 7-5. Saskatchewan’s Jill Shumay fell to 4-1 after dropping a 12-7 decision to Suzanne Birt of Prince Edward Island.
Nedohin is known for delivering ear-piercing orders to teammates Peters, Beth Iskiw and Jessica Mair down the sheet. The 37-year-old Edmonton skip will sometimes jump in the air, twirl her arms around or contort her body in odd positions when her stones enter the house.
“She does have composure when she’s calling the game, but when she’s calling line for her shots she’s so crazy,” Peters said with a laugh. “We see the replays and we kill ourselves laughing because she’s so full of emotion and excitement.”
Nedohin simply doesn’t know how to play at a low intensity.
“We like that because she pumps all of us up,” Peters said. “She brings that excitement that makes us all feel that way.”
The good vibe that Nedohin shares with her teammates was evident before the evening game. With the catchy thump of OutKast’s “Hey Ya!” blaring on the K-Rock Centre sound system, the team members took turns showing each other a few hip-shaking dance moves.
They quickly got focused again for the warmup and were all business once play began. The rink has been steady and consistent over the first three days of the tournament.
“I believe we’re the same team as last year,” Nedohin said. “We’re just keeping it going.”
Nedohin, a married mother of two, is trying to win her third national title. She picked up her first victory in 1998 on Cathy Borst’s Alberta rink.
She’s leading by example this week. Nedohin threw 91 per cent Monday afternoon and led her teammates in overall throwing percentage after six draws.
The Canadian team posted wins over P.E.I., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia over the opening weekend.
“We just work really hard together,” Peters said. “We try to keep our communication up and grind out every game as well as we can and see where the chips fall.”
They also seem quite comfortable with the added pressure of wearing the Maple Leaf on the back of their warmup jackets.
“We’re still Team Nedohin and we know what the four of us need to do to play,” Nedohin said.
Kelly Scott of British Columbia and Ross were tied in fifth place at 2-2. Crawford and Birt were next at 2-3 and Galusha was at 1-4.
Nova Scotia’s Mary-Anne Arsenault and Alberta’s Kristie Moore were 0-4 and Devereaux was 0-5. Round-robin play continues through Friday with the playoff games set for this weekend.
Notes: Announced attendance for Draw 6 was 2,670, less than half the arena capacity of 5,700. Only 1,766 fans took in the evening draw. ... Canadian skip Jim Armstrong posted two victories Monday at the world wheelchair curling championship in Sochi, Russia. He improved to 5-0 with wins over China and Slovakia. Armstrong plays the United States on Tuesday.