Manitoba curling fans won't have to wait long to see one of the most anticipated curling games -- or one of the most anticipated curling debuts -- of the year.
An all-Winnipeg matchup between Jennifer Jones and Chelsea Carey will be front and centre on the opening draw of the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings this afternoon -- and will be the nationally televised feature game TSN has chosen for actor Will Ferrell to make his debut as a curling commentator.
Ferrell, who was scheduled to arrive in Winnipeg Saturday night, will be appearing at the MTS Centre and on TSN this afternoon in character as Ron Burgundy, the lead character in the Anchorman movies.
While Ferrell's exact role today was still being determined Saturday afternoon, what is clear is the Jones-Carey game will be the tableau on which it will play out.
Cool, says Jones.
"We're excited," she said. "It's pretty cool. And I hope we get an opportunity to meet him. We're all really big Anchorman fans and Will Ferrell fans.
"So to say he's commentated a couple ends of one of our games is pretty unbelievable," she said Saturday afternoon after getting in one final practice.
"We'll add it to our treasure chest of amazing experiences over the years."
While the Jones-Carey match has been highly anticipated because of its all-Winnipeg connections, it's Jones's matchup with reigning Canadian women's champion Rachel Homan on Wednesday evening that many think could be a preview of the women's final of this Olympic-qualifying event.
Those two teams met in the national Scotties final in Kingston last February and Homan, who curls just a couple hours away in Ottawa, rode a huge wave of local support that week all the way to the biggest win of her young team's career.
The tables are turned this week, however, and Homan knows it. "We're up for it -- we're up for any challenge," said Homan, 24. "We're up for any adversity and we're going to rise up to that. I have every belief in my team that we're going to play 100 per cent out here.
"Whatever the crowd gives us, that's fine. They'll make it exciting."
Oddsmakers have anointed Jones and Homan the clear co-favourites to win this event and there is a budding rivalry between the two teams, beginning last year in Kingston, where they played three times, with Jones winning in the round-robin while Homan won the 1 vs. 2 Page playoff game and the final.
Jones was clipped when asked to assess her young rivals.
"They're a great team," was the sum total of her reply.
But Jones was much more expansive when asked about what it will be like for the next week to finally have a huge Winnipeg crowd behind her team for the first time in her long curling career.
"We're pretty excited," she said. "We've always wanted to experience that. So to have that actually come true in one of the biggest events we're going to play in, it's pretty cool."
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