MONTREAL, Que. – Chelsea Carey’s foursome was still healthy and on their feet, as a flu ripped through the Scotties Tournament of Hearts field and organizing staff this morning.
In the morning draw at Maurice Richard Arena, the Manitobans played a smart and straightforward game to best Newfoundland’s Heather Strong 5-3. The win lifted the Manitobans to 4-1 on the week, with six games left to play and all but one of the top opponents in the rearview mirror. (They play Alberta’s Val Sweeting, 4-2, at the end of the week.)
That puts Carey in the thick of the playoff race, with defending champion Rachel Homan undefeated through five, Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton also at 4-1, and Strong and Sweeting both tied at 4-2 below.
Carey plays Yukon’s Sarah Koltun next, currently 1-4, in tonight's 6:30 p.m. draw.
Meanwhile, other teams were reeling from the apparent intestinal virus that also had a TSN camera operator and much of the Canadian Curling Association staff down for the count. Instead of handshakes, teams tapped elbows to finish games. Saskatchewan skip Stefanie Lawton was forced to play with just a single sweeper, after her second Sherri Singler and veteran third Sherry Anderson both went down with the flu. She still won handily over Quebec’s Allison Ross, 8-4. And with Team British Columbia skip Kesa Van Osch out sick, alternate Patti Knezevic came in as skip.
The Manitobans know they aren’t immune – second Kristen Foster’s husband and father both came down with the flu, prompting the skip to half-jokingly declare the team in quarantine. (Or, um, maybe she wasn’t joking at all.) "When I came off the ice, (fifth) Breanne Meakin squirted me with hand sanitizer," laughed Carey, who forgot to avoid handshakes after her morning win.
Meanwhile, Scotties organizers distributed hand sanitizer, family members called down to curlers reminding them to wash their hands, and Lawton gently asked reporters to stand back. (There are, as of Tuesday morning, no known casualties among the media.)