Jocelyn Peterman has resorted to practicing her sweeping on a piece of plastic, in her living room to get ready for the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on the curling world over the past year, there haven’t been very many bonspiels to compete in. Her team, skipped by legendary curler Jennifer Jones, played in one event in October, but other than that haven’t really played since last March.
There hasn’t really even been many opportunities to practice.
“We’ve been trying to be as physically prepared as possible. A ton of off-ice training, strength training, cardio, trying to simulate the high intervals that we do when we’re sweeping,” said Peterman, a Red Deer native living in Winnipeg.
“A bit of actual sweeping – we have brooms and little whiteboards in our houses, sweeping just on the floor. Trying to be prepared as we can be.”
Without much ice time or game prep, Peterman will be representing Manitoba at the Scotties starting on Feb. 20 – her first as a provincial representative (last year they were a wild card team), after joining Team Jennifer Jones a few years ago.
Manitoba, a notoriously competitive curling province, wasn’t able to host a qualifying event ahead of the Scotties. The province will have five teams at the national championship, Team Canada skipped by Kerri Einarson as well as, Mackenzie Zacharias, Beth Peterson, Tracey Fleury and Jones.
It will be a unique appearance, to say the least, as the national bonspiel will be contested in Calgary – with all 18 competing in a bubble environment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re excited and there’s so many more planning details that go into it this year with everything involved with the bubble. We’re really looking forward to getting back on the ice and just competing again. It’s been so long,” Peterman said.
There has been a lot of Zoom chats and work on the psychological side of things to get ready for this year’s event – one of the more unique they’ll ever participate in.
Peterman said it will help to have Jones guiding the ship under such weird circumstances.
“You might see teams going in the first few days, playing a bit more open and getting used to being back on the ice,” Peterman said.
“Jenn is the best skip to ever play the game and she’s so good because she’s confident and very aggressive in her style of play. I can’t see that really changing much. We’re still confident that we’re ready to go.”
The Manitoba squad will open the event on Feb. 20 against provincial rival Team Tracey Fleury, the wild card entry that will actually be skipped by Alberta’s Chelsea Carey.
While the Scotties is her immediate focus, Peterman could also be back in the bubble spotlight from March 18-25, competing in the Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. Along with partner and fiancé, Brett Gallant, the duo will be looking to defend their Canadian title.
“We’re looking forward to it. Hopefully, we can defend our title. We weren’t able to play in those nationals last year,” she said, adding the event will be shown on TSN this year.
The only way she won’t play in that event is if Manitoba wins the Scotties and represents Canada at the World Championships, which will likely take place in Switzerland at the same time as the national mixed doubles event.
In what’s been a tough year for everyone, Peterman said she’s just glad to have curling back in some capacity and hopes they can deliver a good show when play gets started later this month.
“It’s been a tough season for a lot of people who do love the sport and who play, it’ll be good to hopefully get them engaged and excited about curling again,” she said.