Tag Archives: Scotties

Despite another Scotties heartbreak, Homan and Miskew continue to amaze

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

Kerri Einarson’s team joined elite company

The 33-year-old skip and her rink from Manitoba won their second consecutive Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a 9-7 victory over Rachel Homan’s Ontario team in last night’s final in Calgary.

Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur are just the eighth team in the 61-year history of the Canadian women’s curling championship to go back-to-back — and the first since Homan and third Emma Miskew did it in 2013 and ’14 with a different front end than the one they play with now.

By beating Homan’s team in the final for the second straight year, Einarson’s rink also has to be considered the early favourite to win the Olympic trials later this year and represent Canada at the 2022 Games in Beijing.

A few other takeaways from the Scotties:

Homan and Miskew are an incredible duo.

Yes, they’ve now lost three consecutive Scotties finals. But they’ve also won three, and it easily could have been more. Their previous two defeats came in extra ends, and Homan was eight months pregnant for this one. In any case, just getting to the title game three times in a row is a pretty remarkable accomplishment. And there’s a very plausible alternate universe in which Homan and Miskew have reached five straight finals. After winning the Scotties in 2017, they opted to pull out of the ’18 event so they could focus on the Olympics, which started only a few days later.

So, to recap, Homan and Miskew have made it to the final of six of the last eight Scotties they’ve played in and won three of them. They also own a world title and they’ve won the Canadian Olympic trials — arguably the toughest event in the sport. That resumé is already among the greatest in curling history, and it’s probably going to get better. Miskew just turned 32 years old. Homan is still 31.

Einarson’s team might get to play for a world championship after all.

They were denied that opportunity last year when the pandemic hit, and this year’s worlds in Switzerland were also called off. But CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux reports that planning is underway to try to bring the women’s worlds to the Calgary bubble.

Only thing is, the place is pretty booked. The Brier starts Friday and runs through March 14, followed by the Canadian mixed doubles championship March 18-25, the men’s world championship April 2-11, and back-to-back Grand Slam of Curling events that run from April 14-25. So, if they can pull it off, it seems like the women’s worlds would have to start at the tail end of April or early May.

The bubble worked.

Sure, the atmosphere was a little eerie with no fans in attendance (those cardboard cutouts were awfully quiet), but from a health standpoint the entire tournament went off with only one minor hitch. A Draw 3 game between Einarson’s team and the Northwest Territories was postponed after a Northwest Territories player came down with food poisoning. But coronavirus tests for everyone on the team came back negative, and the game was made up two days later.

The Brier is only four days away.

Brad Gushue’s Team Canada begins defence of its national men’s title on Friday night in the Calgary bubble vs. John Epping’s Ontario rink. More good news for curling fans: by popular demand, That Curling Show with Devin Heroux and six-time Scotties champ Colleen Jones will return Friday and run every night of the Brier on the CBC Olympics Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages.

WATCH | That Curling Show:

1998 Scott champion Cathy King recalls playing against the great Sandra Schmirler and the time she played five games in 27 hours. 53:00

Quickly…

Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake says he’d rather miss the Tokyo Olympics than get a COVID-19 vaccination. Sounds bold, but it’s probably a moot point because the IOC has already said it won’t require athletes to get vaccinated. Blake, 31, is eyeing a third consecutive Olympic appearance. He took silver in both the 100 and 200 metres at the 2012 Games and was part of the Usain Bolt-anchored teams that won back-to-back 4×100 golds in 2012 and ’16. Blake also won the 100 and 4×100 world titles in 2011 — the year Bolt was disqualified for a false start in the individual final. “I’d rather miss the Olympics than take the vaccine,” Blake told a Jamaican newspaper. He added: “Follow your mind, don’t follow the crowd.” Read more about his anti-vax stance here.

Tiger Woods received a nice tribute. Several golfers wore his signature red shirt and black pants for the final round of a World Golf Championships event in Florida yesterday. Woods is still recovering at a hospital in Los Angeles after suffering major injuries to his right leg, ankle and foot in a car accident last week. He’s already undergone additional procedures on top of the initial surgery performed by orthopedic trauma specialists shortly after the crash, and his golf future remains uncertain. But Sunday’s gesture seemed to raise his spirits. “It is hard to explain how touching today was when I turned on the TV and saw all the red shirts,” a tweet from Tiger’s account read. “To every golfer and every fan, you are truly helping me get through this tough time.” Read more about the Tiger tribute here.

Hockey history was made last night. For the first time ever, New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden hosted a women’s pro hockey game. It was the second game in the second season of the Dream Gap Tour, a series of barnstorming events put on by the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association. That’s the group that includes basically the entire Canadian and U.S national team rosters and is refusing to play in the NWHL or any other women’s pro league until a stronger one that offers better pay and benefits is created. The next Dream Gap Tour stop is in Chicago this weekend, and you can watch Sunday’s game live at 11:30 a.m. ET on CBC Gem, CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app.

And finally…

Lest you think NBA Top Shot is the only overheated market for basketball collectibles, a Luka Doncic card sold for $ 4.6 million US. That’s the highest price ever paid for a basketball card, destroying the $ 1.857M someone dropped on a Giannis Antetokounmpo in September. Like that one, the Doncic is a rookie card, it’s autographed and, most importantly, only one was made. The record for a card in any sport still belongs to the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle that went for $ 5.2 million in January. And if you’re still wondering what NBA Top Shot is about, read our explainer.

Coming up from CBC Sports

Snowboard alpine world championships: Watch the men’s and women’s parallel slalom events live at 8:45 a.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app.

CBC Sports U: Anyone pursuing a career in sports media might want to check out this free, interactive virtual summit on Wednesday. CBC Sports is bringing together some well-known sports-media personalities to give students an inside look at their experiences and an opportunity to ask questions. Get more details and sign up here.

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Alberta’s Laura Walker beats Jennifer Jones, moves within 2 wins of Scotties title

Alberta’s Laura Walker advanced to the semifinal of the Canadian women’s curling championship with a 9-8 win over Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones in Sunday’s tiebreaker game in Calgary.

Walker faces defending champion Kerri Einarson in an afternoon semifinal with the winner taking on Ontario’s Rachel Homan for the championship in the evening.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

Jones missed an attempted double takeout in the 10th end, which left Walker an open draw to score three for the win in the tiebreaker.

Manitoba and Alberta were tied for third at 9-3 after the championship round, which required a tiebreaker game to solve.

WATCH | Walker wins tiebreaker against 6-time Scotties champ:

Laura Walker and her team from Alberta eliminated Jennifer Jones of Manitoba 9-8 Sunday in the tiebreaker match at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary. 0:52

Jones, a six-time champion at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, was chasing a record seventh title.

Einarson’s foursome out of Manitoba’s Gimli Curling Club beat Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges 7-4 on Saturday before suffering a 10-9 loss to Jones in the evening draw.

“We’re definitely just focusing on ourselves and what we need to do,” Einarson said. “We’re in control of our own destiny.”

$ 100,000 to Scotties champion

Einarson is attempting to win the first back-to-back Hearts titles since Homan in 2013-14.

Sunday’s victor earns $ 100,000 in prize money and a return trip to the 2022 Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay, Ont., as Team Canada.

The runner-up earns $ 60,000 and $ 40,000 goes to the third-place team.

The winner doesn’t have a world championship, however, in which to wear the Maple Leaf.

The March 19-28 tournament in Schaffhausen, Switzerland was cancelled by the World Curling Federation because of the pandemic.

The 2020 world championship in Prince George, B.C., was called off for the same reason, so Einarson wasn’t able to represent Canada there.

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CBC | Sports News

Ontario’s Rachel Homan reaches Scotties final for 3rd straight year

Rachel Homan is in familiar territory in a strange curling season.

She’ll skip Ontario in a third straight Canadian women’s curling championship final Sunday.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

Homan’s 7-2 win over Saskatchewan and defending champion Kerri Einarson’s 10-9 loss in an extra end to Manitoba on Saturday combined to give Ontario a bye to the final.

“We really wanted to get to the final and see what we can do and to put that Maple Leaf on our back would really be another dream come true,” Homan said.

“We’re going to work and fight hard to the last rock and hopefully we can make more than the other team.”

Homan is a three-time winner of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in 2017, 2014 and 2013. In the third trimester of her pregnancy, she’ll try for a fourth.

Homan and Einarson owned identical 10-2 records at the conclusion of the championship round Saturday.

Homan’s 7-4 win over Einarson in a Pool A game Thursday was the tiebreaker giving Ontario the higher playoff seeding.

Einarson has a place in Sunday afternoon’s semifinal as the second seed.

The defending champs await the winner of a morning tiebreaker between Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones and Alberta’s Laura Walker, who were both 9-3.

WATCH | Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones sets up tiebreakers with Alberta’s Laura Walker:

Jones led Manitoba to a 10-9 win over Team Canada to set up a tie breaker against Alberta on Sunday. 0:56

“Personally, it’s pretty huge for me not to play three games tomorrow,” Homan said. “I knew we were ready to do whatever it took to be in that final.

“Thankfully the way it fell, we were able to get that bye, get some rest, get our feet up and just prepare for the final tomorrow.”

The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out most of the competitive curling season.

Homan’s team arrived in Calgary incorporating new second Sarah Wilkes and adjusting to the shift of Joanne Courtney to lead without the benefit of 50 to 60 games behind them this winter.

“I think we’ve faced a lot of adversity like every team here trying to show up and put together the best performance we can under the circumstances,” Courtney said.

“I’m really proud of how we’ve supported each other and kind of just stayed tough. Lots of gritty wins, lots of gritty ends. Any time you get a chance to play in a final, it’s a huge honour.”

WATCH | That Curling Show celebrates Curling Day in Canada

From Watson Lake, Yukon to Kirkland, Quebec and even south of the border to Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux are showing you some of the best outdoor curling rinks in Canada. 1:59:06

Walker took three losses into the championship round, but won a fifth straight game Saturday to keep the host province in contention for the national women’s curling crown.

Alberta came from behind to cap the championship round with a 9-4 win over Chelsea Carey’s Wild Card One.

“I think our confidence is high,” Walker said. “To run the table in the championship round is a pretty special thing I think for us to have just done.”

Six-time champion Jones avoided elimination by drawing for the extra-end win over Einarson.

Her Winnipeg foursome must win three games Sunday for Jones to claim a record seventh title.

“Adrenalin usually takes you through those games,” Jones said. “We didn’t play a lot of games coming in. We’re well-rested.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to play three. At the end of it we’ll be tired, but I think when you’re playing, you’ll be fine.”

This is how Canadians celebrate the roaring game

That Curling Show features fan-submitted photos and video to celebrate Curling Day in Canada 2:34

The 2021 Tournament of Hearts is one of four Curling Canada events to be held in a spectator-free, controlled environment at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre.

The pandemic thwarting many provincial and territorial playdowns prompted Curling Canada to add two wild-card teams to the Hearts field for a total of 18, which in turn shrunk the playoff window.

Instead of the traditional four teams in a Page playoff, only three advance.

Einarson is attempting to win the first back-to-back Hearts titles since Homan in 2013-14.

Sunday’s victor earns $ 100,000 in prize money and a return trip to the 2022 Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay, Ont., as Team Canada.

The runner-up earns $ 60,000 and $ 40,000 goes to the third-place team.


Kerri Einarson has a place in Sunday afternoon’s semifinal as the second seed. The Defending champ await the winner of a morning tiebreaker between Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones and Alberta’s Laura Walker, who are both 9-3. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

The winner doesn’t have a world championship, however, in which to wear the Maple Leaf.

The March 19-28 tournament in Schaffhausen, Switzerland was cancelled by the World Curling Federation because of the pandemic.

The 2020 world championship in Prince George, B.C., was called off for the same reason, so Einarson wasn’t able to represent Canada there.

Beth Peterson’s Wild Card Three (7-5) finished with a 10-3 win over Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges (6-6) on Saturday.

Wild Card One, with Carey filling in at skip for Tracy Fleury, and Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson also finished 6-6.

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With 8 teams remaining, Scotties title feels like anyone’s game

When this year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts began one week ago, many expected the usual curling characters to rise to the top. Jennifer Jones, Kerri Einarson and Rachel Homan were picked by many to advance to the championship pool and that’s exactly what happened.

But what many curling fans and prognosticators didn’t see developing was a young Quebec team and veteran Saskatchewan skip also rising to the top. 

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

Quebec skip Laurie St-Georges has been fearless in the face of pressure in her first Scotties appearance. And her team seems to be soaking up every second on the ice, smiling, laughing and embracing the big stage. The team finished the preliminary round with a 6-2 record and is one of the eight teams remaining, battling it out for the final three spots.

Then there’s Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson, who at 57 is playing in her 10th Scotties and led her team to first place in Pool B with a 6-2 record. (In fact, Anderson got her first Scotties victory 27 years ago today. She’s won 56 games at the national championship throughout her career and is becoming one of the great stories at this year’s event.)

Team Fleury (5-3), skipped by Chelsea Carey, Quebec (6-2) and Manitoba (6-2) also advanced out of Pool B. 

In Pool A, Homan and Einarson lead the way with 7-1 records, but Homan finished first by defeating Einarson in their final preliminary game. Also advancing out of Pool A are Team Peterson and Alberta, each at 5-3. 

WATCH | That Curling Show breaks down moving day at Scotties:

From tiebreaker scenarios to championship round matchups, hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux get you caught up. 47:55

The teams will carry over their records from the preliminary round to the championship round, making each game that much more important the rest of the way. The four teams from Pool A will play the four teams from Pool B. 

The top three teams after the championship pool advance to the playoffs, with the first-place team moving directly to Sunday’s final while the second- and third-place teams battle it out in the semifinal. 

Throughout the week of competition there were moments of drama, shots were made and shots were certainly missed. The curlers are in a situation like no other having not been able to properly practice heading into the national championship.

Under normal circumstances, teams would have played anywhere from 10 to 12 events by this point of the curling season. The rust was noticeable. But now with a week on the ice behind them, it appears the teams are getting a grasp on the ice conditions and seem more comfortable. 

Team Einarson, outside of the loss to Homan, has been one of the most consistent teams and looks a good bet to repeat their championship last year in Moose Jaw. Not since Homan won in 2013 and 2014 has a team repeated. 

Homan, eight months pregnant, is making another championship push at the Scotties, looking to erase her back-to-back losses in the championship game the past two years.

Jones is looking to make more history. Earlier in the tournament she surpassed Colleen Jones for most wins ever at the Scotties. If she wins Sunday’s championship, it will be her seventh, moving her past Colleen Jones for most titles as a skip. 

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Jennifer Jones breaks career wins record at Scotties

Athletes setting significant records in their sport are often too busy achieving those milestones to process their place in history at the moment.

What helps Jennifer Jones wrap her head around a career 153 wins at the Canadian women’s curling championship is seeing them through the eyes of people she loves.

Jones became the career leader in wins at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a 6-5 win Tuesday over Newfoundland and Labrador’s Sarah Hill.

Jones arrived at the 2021 Tournament of Hearts two back of the 152 victories held by Colleen Jones.


Jennifer Jones knows the record would have meant a lot to her late father Larry, who died two years ago at age 80.

“My dad always loved the records,” Jones aid Monday. “He always followed all the records. I know he would watching from above, [be] very, very proud.

“It definitely means something to me. As you kind of approach the end of your career, just to be remembered for doing something that you love is pretty remarkable.”

The wins record is among many Jones holds in women’s curling.

If the six-time national champion prevails in Calgary, the 46-year-old from Winnipeg will be the only woman to win seven.

Should daughters Isabella and Skyla take up curling, the record book provides a compelling argument that their mother is the best to ever play the game.

“My kids do look at it. There’s a book with my name in it with some records,” Jones said.

“I hope if anything it just shows them that if you work hard, that dreams are possible. I just want them to have the best possible life and if this can have any impact on that, it’s absolutely incredible.”

WATCH | That Curling Show: Jones brought to tears by mother, daughters:

The Team Manitoba skip is surprised on screen by her mom Carol and daughters Skyla and Bella. 3:15

Jones’ first win in 2002 was an 8-4 victory over Prince Edward Island’s Kathy O’Rourke, who is P.E.I’s alternate in Calgary this year.

Jones’ 153rd wasn’t a work of art as her team’s shooting accuracy was 80 per cent, but it was one Jones and her Manitoba foursome needed to get to a 3-2 record.

Sitting on 2-3 until their next game Wednesday wouldn’t have felt uncomfortable.

“We were grinding it out today,” Jones said. “We really needed this win to stay kind of in there in the competition.”

Other results at the Scotties

Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges topped Pool B at 4-1 ahead of Prince Edward Island’s Suzanne Birt at 3-1. Manitoba was knotted at 3-2 with Chelsea Carey’s Wild Card One.

St-Georges downed Nunavut’s Lori Eddy 7-5. Carey lost a second straight game, falling 7-5 to B.C.’s Corryn Brown.

B.C., Newfoundland and Saskatchewan were even at 2-2. Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson fell 7-6 to New Brunswick’s Melissa Adams, who won her first game. Nunavut was winless in five games.

Ontario’s Rachel Homan and defending champion Kerri Einarson at 4-0 were the only undefeated teams in the tournament heading into Tuesday’s Pool A draw.

The top four teams from each pool of nine at the end of the preliminary round Thursday advance to the two-day championship round and take their records with them.

The championship round’s top three will be Sunday’s playoff teams, with the No. 1 seed rewarded with a bye to that day’s final.

‘A role model’

Jones has won everything there is to win in women’s curling, including two world titles a decade apart in 2008 and 2018.

Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen went undefeated en route to an Olympic gold medal in 2014.

“I can’t believe this is my 11th year with Jennifer and the girls,” Lawes said. “I still feel like I’m the 21-year-old kid when I joined the team.

“I was just so eager to learn from the best. I’ve always looked up to Jen. She’s a role model and how special is it to be able to play with people that you’re inspired by?”

Jones and former second Officer own the record for most Hearts final appearances (9). Dawn McEwen, who is pregnant and sitting out this year, played lead for Jones in seven of them.

Jones has appeared in the most playoff games (33) and shares the playoff win record (21) with Officer.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have the best human beings as teammates that have supported me throughout I don’t know how many years,” Jones said.

In her 16th Hearts appearance, Jones trails only Colleen Jones (19) for the most by a skip.

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The cream is already rising to the top at the Scotties

This is an excerpt from The Buzzer, which is CBC Sports’ daily email newsletter. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in sports by subscribing here.

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is off and running

With a full weekend of action and the first seven draws now in the books, here’s a quick lay of the land at the Canadian women’s curling championship in the Calgary bubble:

The cream is already rising to the top. Kerri Einarson’s defending-champion Team Canada became the first rink to reach four wins today by beating the Northwest Territories to improve to 4-0. Three-time champ Rachel Homan and her Ontario team are right behind Canada in Pool A at 3-0. The Pool B leader is the wild-card rink skipped by two-time champ Chelsea Carey, who’s filling in for Tracy Fleury. Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones, who’s going for her record seventh Scotties title, is 2-1, with the loss coming to Carey’s team. Sarah Hill’s Newfoundland & Labrador rink is 2-0, but has played opponents with a combined record of 0-6.

Homan is curling 86 per cent — at eight months pregnant. “It’s challenging because your body changes,” Homan told The Winnipeg Sun’s Ted Wyman. “But so far, so good.” Very good, actually: among skips, only Carey (88 per cent) is throwing better statistically. Homan believes she’ll get through the tournament fine. But alternate Danielle Inglis, who usually skips her own team, is ready to step in if needed.

The tournament survived its first health scare. Today’s Canada-Northwest Territories game was supposed to be played Saturday afternoon. It was postponed after an unidentified member of the Northwest Territories team fell ill with a suspected case of food poisoning. Tests for the coronavirus came back negative, so the game went ahead this morning.

One more thing: If you’re watching the Scotties but you haven’t seen That Curling Show, you really should check it out. Every night, six-time champ Colleen Jones and CBC Sports curling reporter extraordinaire Devin Heroux discuss what’s happening on and off the ice with some of the tournament’s biggest stars. Jennifer Jones, Chelsea Carey and Kerri Einarson have already joined them as guests, and last night’s show featured a tribute to the late, great Sandra Schmirler (see below). Also, Devin and show producer Sophie Baron made Colleen cry with a touching montage of all her Scotties championships. Tonight’s guest is Laurie St-Georges, the young Quebec skip who’s 2-1 and winning over fans in her first Scotties. Watch the show tonight and every night at 7:30 p.m. ET on the CBC Olympics Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels.

Jennifer Jones, Sara England and Joan McCusker join hosts Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones during the annual Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon. 46:17

Quickly…

Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence from the New York Rangers. The team says the 2019-20 NHL MVP finalist “vehemently and unequivocally denies” the allegations in what it calls a “fabricated” report by a Russian newspaper claiming Panarin physically assaulted an 18-year-old woman at a bar in Latvia a decade ago. The allegations were made by Alexei Nazarov, a former NHL player who coached Panarin’s KHL team at the time of the alleged incident. Nazarov has been critical of Panarin’s public opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, which included a recent Instagram post supporting vocal Putin critic Alexei Navalny. The Rangers called the newspaper report an “intimidation tactic” and said Panarin, who has family living in Russia, “is obviously shaken” and “will take some time away from the team.” Read more about this bizarre situation here.

A first-year Raptors assistant got hired as head coach of the Timberwolves. Chris Finch is making the big leap to replace Ryan Saunders, who steered Minnesota to a league-worst 7-24 record before getting fired. Finch worked with T-wolves president of basketball ops Gersson Rosas when they were with the Houston Rockets. Rosas called him “one of the most creative basketball minds in the NBA.” Read more about Finch and his new job here.

And in case you missed it…

A few other things from the weekend that you should know about:

Bianca Andreescu is hurt again. She withdrew from this week’s tournament in Adelaide and will also miss upcoming events in Doha and Dubai due to what Andreescu and her agent called a “lower-body issue.” Andreescu said the setback was a result of “playing long, tough matches” at the Australian Open and the Phillip Island Trophy after a 15-month layoff. Her agent said it was “not concerning at all but she has to think about the longevity of the season and of her career.” Andreescu hopes to return for the Miami Open, a high-end event that starts March 23. Read more about her latest absence here.

Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open singles titles. Osaka beat Jennifer Brady in straight sets to capture her second Aussie title. She also owns a pair of U.S. Open titles and has won four of the last nine Grand Slams. No other woman has won more than one in that span. Djokovic crushed Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to win the men’s title for the third straight time. He now owns nine Australian Open singles titles — two more than anyone else has won in the Open era. With 18 Grand Slam titles, Djokovic trails Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal by two for the all-time men’s lead.

Auston Matthews is making a strong case for MVP. With three two-goal performances in his last four games, the Leafs star now has 18 goals in 18 games this season and leads the Rocket Richard Trophy race by six goals. Connor McDavid has a seven-point lead in the Art Ross chase (and is eight up on Matthews), so buckle up for some heated Hart Trophy debate over the next few months. Matthews seems to have the edge at the moment, partly because he’s led Toronto to a league-best 14-3-2 record.

The Canadian women’s soccer team got its first win in more than a year. After returning from a long, pandemic-induced layoff with a 1-0 loss to the U.S. last Thursday at the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando, Canada beat Argentina 1-0 yesterday. The Canadians’ final match at the four-team, round-robin-only tournament is Wednesday vs. Brazil. With seven key veterans unavailable for the event, rookie head coach Bev Priestman has been testing out some younger players. Four have earned their first senior-level caps at the SheBelieves Cup. Read more about Canada’s win over Argentina and watch highlights here.

Mikaela Shiffrin’s world championship streak was snapped. The American’s bid for her fifth consecutive slalom world title fell short when she placed third Saturday in northern Italy. But Shiffrin still had a terrific meet, finishing with four medals (including gold in the combined) at her first world championships since her father’s unexpected death last year. Only 25 years old, she already owns six world titles and two Olympic gold medals. Read more about Shiffrin’s astounding numbers here.

The NHL’s Lake Tahoe games didn’t go smoothly, but they still looked fantastic. It was a bad look for the league when Saturday afternoon’s game between Vegas and Colorado had to be halted after the first period and delayed until midnight ET because the sun was melting the ice. On the, uh, bright side, it led to this accidentally immortal quote from Gary Bettman: “… The sunshine has always been our enemy.” Sunday’s Boston-Philly game was also pushed to the evening for fear of the sun. But, let’s face it, the games themselves never really mattered. This was a glorified Instagram shoot, and we got plenty of gorgeous pics like the one below. You can see more here.


Hang it in the Louvre. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Scotties match between Northwest Territories, Canada postponed due to illness in bubble

The Saturday afternoon curling game between Northwest Territories and Team Canada has been postponed after a member of Kerry Galusha’s Yellowknife foursome fell ill in the middle of the night Friday with a suspected case of food poisoning.

Galusha, speaking exclusively to CBC Sports, said they found out the game was cancelled Saturday afternoon.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

“We had to report an illness. Curling Canada made the decision to postpone it,” she said from her hotel room in Calgary.

“The team member was feeling ill in the middle of the night.”

WATCH | Collen Jones surprised with Scotties winning montage on That Curling Show:

During the opening episode of That Curling Show, Colleen Jones is surprised with a montage of her Scotties Tournament of Hearts victories. 3:23

All members of Galusha’s rink are now isolating in separate rooms in the hotel as they await a negative test result from the player who is ill.

The game has been moved to Monday morning.

“The doctor came and saw her and took her temperature. She has to do another test and until she is cleared we have to isolate in our rooms,” Galusha said.

Curling Canada released a statement shortly after the match was postponed, with respect to a player for Northwest Territories.

“A member of Team Northwest Territories came down with a suspected case of food poisoning overnight. She has been assessed by the event’s Chief Medical Officer, and it is believed that this will not impact the team’s ability to continue in the event,” the statement read. “The rest of the team is not showing any similar symptoms, and have all tested negative on previous COVID tests, as recently as Friday, and have passed all twice-daily wellness checks, including this morning.

“The player will receive a COVID PCR test today, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to reschedule this afternoon’s Northwest Territories-Canada game to Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. ET, which was to be a bye in the schedule for all teams. The Northwest Territories team will self-isolate until the results of the test are known.”

WATCH | 2-time Scotties champion Chelsea Carey on That Curling Show:

For the premiere episode of That Curling Show, hosts Colleen Jones and Devin Heroux talk with 2-time Scotties champion Chelsea Carey. 44:05

Curlers have had to provide three negative tests before the competition. Saturday marks the first full day of competition at this year’s Scotties.

Galusha’s team lost to Northern Ontario 8-7 on Friday evening.

“We had a tough game last night, we blew it. We were in control of that whole game and we let it slip away,” Galusha said.

While Galusha did express concern over the situation unfolding in the bubble, she was quick to praise Curling Canada for the way they’re handling everything so far.

“They have protocols, Curling Canada was on top of it. They’ve been very informative. It’s safety first. Teams need to report if there’s an illness,” she said.

“I think Curling Canada has done an amazing job. I know things have gone off the rails the first couple days but they’ve handled themselves so well and have been in contact with us.”

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Curlers ready for a Scotties like no other — all in the face of the unknown

In the backdrop of empty seats, cardboard cutouts of fans sprinkled across some of them, and restricted movement unlike anything ever seen at a women’s national championship, the 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts is set to begin Friday night in Calgary — in the midst of pandemic.

And while the journey to get to this point has been anything but smooth, 18 of the top women’s teams from across the country have finally made it to the curling bubble and are sitting in hotel rooms ready to take the pebbled ice for the national championship.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

This is anything but an ordinary Scotties, with curlers having taken extraordinary measures to find ice time, stay in shape and prepare for the event. Some were even sliding on backyard rinks and ponds and whatever they could find to remind them what it feels like. 

Staying mentally sharp for the next nine days of competition is going to be as much a part of the story as the curling playing out across the four sheets. 

Curling Canada is adamant the bubble setting will be “strictly enforced,” and curlers will not be seeing much light of day as they travel from hotel, to vehicle, to arena and back.


Most teams idle and handpicked

For months, the majority of curlers have been sitting around, locked away like the rest of Canada, without being able to practise properly — and in an overwhelming amount of cases, most teams didn’t even play in a provincial or territorial tournament at all. The majority of teams were handpicked to represent their area of the country. 

They’re going from idle time to a national championship overnight and the player’s health and safety, as well as being in championship form, will certainly be something to watch as the event drags on. 

Getting off to a solid start at the Scotties has always been paramount to success, but perhaps this year those first few games will be that much more important because nobody really knows what to expect after so much time away. 

And as if the situation wasn’t dramatic enough, Curling Canada has changed the playoff format this year, taking away the Page Playoff system, which saw four teams advance to the weekend. Now just the top-three teams from the preliminary and championship advance to the playoffs, with the best record going straight to the final game and the second- and third-place teams battling to also reach the final. 


From left to right: Team Canada skip Einarson, third, Val Sweeting, second, Shannon Birchard and lead, Briane Meilleur, pictured posing with the Scotties trophy in 2020, are looking to repeat as national champions. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Margin of error never slimmer

The margin of error at a Scotties has never been slimmer, all in the face of a dizzying amount of unknowns.

This year’s event marks 40 years of the women’s national championship being named the Scotties and it’s a stacked field. Defending champion Kerri Einarson’s team from Manitoba will take the ice as Team Canada having won the title against Rachel Homan in Moose Jaw, Sask., last year. 

Skips who have won the past 13 editions of the Scotties will all be in the bubble in Calgary. There is undoubtedly a richness of history and legacy to this event, and the throwback retro uniforms the teams will wear is a tip of the cap to all the great moments from the past. 

There is no shortage of storylines.

Will Jennifer Jones be able to capture a historic seventh Scotties title, allowing her to surpass Colleen Jones for most championships ever as a skip?

Can Homan regain her winning form, having lost the past two Scotties finals in extra ends? 

Then there’s Chelsea Carey, who didn’t think she’d be playing this year after her team disbanded during the off-season — only to get the call from Team Tracy Fleury to take the place of Fleury herself, who is staying home with her daughter due to health concerns. 

There are five Manitoba teams with the addition of two extra wild-card spots, including MacKenzie Zacharias’ world junior champion team. How will some of the younger teams handle the bright lights of the big bonspiel?

What about upsets? There could be plenty. And one of those dark horse teams could very well be Suzanne Birt’s Prince Edward Island foursome who are always in the mix — and have been on the ice for much of the winter. 

There are familiar faces. There are new faces. And there’s not a lot of time to figure things out. A couple of early losses will spell disaster for teams — and so it’ll be fascinating to see if the veterans can lean on their experience or if it’ll be the younger teams that don’t really have a lot to go on who rise to the top early. 


A seventh Scotties victory in 2021 would give all-time great Jones the most women’s national titles ever. (Geoff Robins/Canadian Press)

Tournament format

The teams in Calgary are separated into two pools of nine, and have been seeded based on their final standing in the 2019-20 Canadian Team Ranking System.

They will play a full round robin within their respective pools, and then the top four teams in each pool will move on to the championship pool starting Friday, Feb. 26. They will then play four more games against the teams from the other pool with their preliminary pool records carried forward.

From there, the top three teams will make the playoffs — the first-place team after the championship round will go straight to the gold-medal game, while the second and third-place teams will meet in the semifinal.


Team Manitoba’s Chelsea Carey is a two-time Scotties champion, including in 2016 and 2019. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Winning teams earns Olympic trials berth

The winning team earns a spot at the Olympic trials in November and also will play as Team Canada at the Scotties next year in Thunder Bay. 

It also takes home $ 100,000.

Normally the winning team would also represent Canada at the women’s world championship — but the World Curling Federation had to cancel the event that was slated for mid-March in Switzerland. At this point there’s no word on whether the event will be in a different location this winter or spring or if they plan to move it to next fall. 

It will be a crucial event when it does take place with Canada needing a top-six finish to qualify for the 2022 Winter Olympics. 

There is a lot at stake, but with Scotties curling is officially back.

The teams

Pool A 

  • No. 1. Team Canada, Kerri Einarson (Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard, Briane Meilleur, Krysten Karwacki, Heather Nedohin; Gimli).
  • No. 4. Ontario, Rachel Homan (Emma Miskew, Sarah Wilkes, Joanne Courtney, Danielle Inglis, Randy Ferbey; Ottawa).
  • No. 5. Alberta, Laura Walker (Kate Cameron, Taylor McDonald, Rachel Brown, Dana Ferguson, Shannon Pynn; Edmonton).
  • No. 8. Wild Card No. 2, Mackenzie Zacharias (Karlee Burgess, Emily Zacharias, Lauren Lenentine, Rachel Erickson, Sheldon Zacharias; Altona, Man.).
  • No. 9. Wild Card No. 3, Beth Peterson (Jenna Loder, Katherine Doerksen, Brittany Tran, Cathy Overton-Clapham; Winnipeg).
  • No. 12. Northwest Territories, Kerry Galusha (Jo-Ann Rizzo, Margot Flemming, Shona Barbour, Jim Waite; Yellowknife).
  • No. 13. Nova Scotia, Jill Brothers (Erin Carmody, Jennifer Brine, Emma Logan, Kim Kelly, Daryell Nowlan; Halifax).
  • No. 16. Northern Ontario, Krysta Burns (Megan Smith, Sara Guy, Amanda Gates, Kira Brunton, Rodney Guy; Sudbury).
  • No. 17. Yukon, Laura Eby (Lorna Spenner, Tamar Vandenberghe, Laura Williamson, Darlene Gammel, Scott Williamson; Whitehorse).

Pool B

  • No. 2. Wild Card No. 1, Tracy Fleury (NOTE: Fleury will not be participating; Chelsea Carey to skip; Selena Njegovan, Liz Fyfe, Kristin MacCuish, Clancy Grandy, Sherry Middaugh; East St. Paul, Man.).
  • No. 3. Manitoba, Jennifer Jones (Kaitlyn Lawes, Jocelyn Peterman, Lisa Weagle, Raunora Westcott, Viktor Kjell; Winnipeg).
  • No. 6. British Columbia, Corryn Brown (Erin Pincott, Dezaray Hawes, Samantha Fisher, Stephanie Jackson-Baier, Allison MacInnes; Kamloops).
  • No. 7. Prince Edward Island, Suzanne Birt (Marie Christianson, Meaghan Hughes, Michelle McQuaid, Kathy O’Rourke, Mitch O’Shea; Montague).
  • No. 10. Saskatchewan, Sherry Anderson (Nancy Martin, Chaelynn Kitz, Breanne Knapp, Amber Holland, Shane Kitz; Saskatoon).
  • No. 11. Quebec, Laurie St-Georges (Hailey Armstrong, Emily Riley, Cynthia St-Georges, Florence Boivin, Michel St-Georges; Laval).
  • No. 14. New Brunswick, Melissa Adams (Jaclyn Tingley, Nicole Bishop, Kendra Lister, Monique Massé; Fredericton).
  • No. 15. Nunavut, Lori Eddy (Sadie Pinksen, Alison Griffin, Kaitlin MacDonald, Donalda Mattie; Iqaluit).
  • No. 18. Newfoundland/Labrador, Sarah Hill (Beth Hamilton, Lauren Barron, Adrienne Mercer, Brooke Godsland; St. John’s).

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What we know and don’t know about the Scotties, Brier

It has been another chaotic week of curling cancellations in Canada as more member associations finally surrendered to a seemingly inevitable fate, in the most fair way possible, hand picking their representatives for this year’s Scotties and Brier. 

And while there is more clarity about what the fields will look like just over a month from the beginning of the curling frenzy set to take place in the Calgary curling bubble, there are still a lot of unknowns. 

To recap, eight jurisdictions across Canada have now cancelled their playdowns — they include: B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Northern Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. 

Nunavut played a best-of-five men’s showdown last weekend. P.E.I., N.L., N.B., N.W.T., and Yukon are all still endeavouring to play some sort of championship to determine their representatives.

With so many cancellations, many curlers and fans continue to wonder why Curling Canada is so determined to go on with the show in Calgary. 

There are a number of factors — we know money and keeping sponsors happy is at the top of that list. 

But there’s more to it.

Niche sport

Outside of Canada, curling is a niche sport in most countries. However, in Canada, it’s on TV throughout the winter and early spring a lot between Curling Canada events and the Grand Slam of Curling. It’s disappeared from the sports landscape for nearly a year.

It’s not lost on officials close to the sport as well as the curlers to continue to be relevant and hold onto valuable sponsors – they need to be on the ice and on TV. 

And it’s also important to note that this is all leading to 2022 Beijing Olympics. Remember, Canada is coming off its worst performance ever at the Games, having missed the podium in the women’s and men’s events. The pressure on Curling Canada and athletes is immense. 

What many people take for granted and have assumed, incorrectly, is that Canada already has a place at the Olympics with just over a year away.

Canadian curlers will need a top-six finish at both the men’s and women’s world championships to lock up a spot. That shouldn’t be a problem if past history is any indication. But in a pandemic, with curling mostly shut down across the country because of health restrictions, Curling Canada knows how crucial it is for the top curlers to be on the ice — that’s why they’re pushing forward with the Scotties and Brier.

It should be noted that the United States and Scotland, and there could likely be more countries, are not holding playdowns to determine their representatives for the world championships. 

Denmark’s national championships were halted in December after 14 of the 16 curlers competing got COVID-19.

The women’s worlds are scheduled to take place in Switzerland in late March and the men’s world championship is set for the Calgary bubble in early April. 

WATCH | Heroux, Jones break down Calgary bubble: 

Devin Heroux is joined by six-time Scotties medallist Colleen Jones to discuss the announcement of the Calgary curling bubble. 5:34

Expanded field

Which brings us to an expanded field at this year’s championships. 

It’s looking more and more likely there will be 18 teams at both the Scotties and Brier — the largest fields in the history of both events.

The reason this is happening is because there will be no wild-card game this year. That match, played on the Friday night before the main event, has been a dramatic one-game showdown for the top two Canadian teams that did not qualify through their regional championships. Win and you’re in, lose and you head home. 

Curling Canada did not want two wild-card teams traveling to the bubble to play one game and possibly have to leave if they lost. These unprecedented times called for unprecedented measures, says Curling Canada. They want to make sure the best teams in the country are on the ice. 

“So much is riding on this Olympic qualifying season, we had to make sure that the fields for both the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier includes Canada’s top teams. With many of them not having the chance to earn their way into these events through the traditional route, we feel this is the best possible way to remedy that issue,” said Katherine Henderson, CEO of Curling Canada. 

For instance, Alberta has yet to name their representatives but should they go with the format many others have, Brendan Bottcher will get the nod as he was last year’s provincial champion. Here’s the snag: Kevin Koe’s team did not compete in provincials as they wear Team Canada colours after winning the previous Brier. 


Kevin Koe is one of the teams hoping to be competing inside the Calgary curling bubble. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Making space for Koe

So instead of punishing Koe for not winning last year’s championship and not letting him in this year’s event, Curling Canada is making space for them. 

A lot is hinging on who Alberta selects as its representatives — that will then create a domino effect on the rest of the field. 

The expanded field is increasing from 16 to 18 teams — the two teams that would have played in the wild-card game and then a third team. Third team that is going to be selected based on criteria is unknown at this point. There will be no shortage of drama over who that third team is on both the men’s and women’s side.

A quick note on team’s who made off-season changes. To be eligible, three of four players need to be returning. If it’s two of four, then they are ineligible for, at the very least, the two wild-card spots. We’ll see if Curling Canada is willing to make exceptions for that third spot.

Here is the field as it stands right now:

Women

  • Canada — Kerri Einarson.
  • B.C. — Corryn Brown.
  • Saskatchewan — Sherry Anderson.
  • Manitoba — Jennifer Jones.
  • Ontario — Rachel Homan.
  • Northern Ontario — Krysta Burns.
  • Quebec — Laurie St-Georges.
  • Nova Scotia — Jill Brothers.
  • Nunavut — Lori Eddy.

Men

  • Canada — Brad Gushue.
  • B.C. — Steve Laycock.
  • Saskatchewan — Matt Dunstone.
  • Manitoba — Jason Gunnlaugson.
  • Ontario — John Epping.
  • Northern Ontario — Brad Jacobs.
  • Quebec — Michael Fournier.
  • Yukon — Dustin Mikkelsen.
  • Nunavut — Peter Mackey.

Manitoba’s Jennifer Jones is seeking her seventh Scotties crown. (Geoff Robins/Canadian Press)

There are six major curling events planned for the Calgary curling bubble starting with the Scotties on Feb. 19. That will then lead into the men’s national championship beginning of March. 5.

Following these two events, the mixed doubles championship will take place all leading to the men’s world curling championship, set to begin in early April.

The final two events held inside the bubble include two Grand Slam of Curling bonspiels. 

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Calgary selected to host Brier, Scotties, other major bonspiels in hub-style format

Calgary is about to become a curling mecca.

Weeks after CBC Sports first reported the Alberta city had been selected to host a number of important bonspiels, Curling Canada made it official on Tuesday that the Scotties, the Brier, the men’s world championship and mixed doubles national championship will all be hosted at Canada Olympic Park.

There is no timeline at this point for when the events will take place.

There are also two Grand Slam of Curling events being planned for the Calgary curling bubble as well.

Curling Canada officials said they continue to have dialogue with all levels of government and health officials to come up with the safest protocol, using many of the lessons learned from the NHL and NBA bubbles.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux, Colleen Jones discuss Calgary curling hub:

Devin Heroux is joined by six-time Scotties medallist Colleen Jones to discuss the announcement of the Calgary curling bubble. 5:34

Six-time Scotties winner Colleen Jones says with COVID-19 cases in Calgary rising, there are still concerns about how the event will happen.

“For a lot of people this is great news,” Jones said. “The other side of the coin, though, is with COVID cases rising across the country there’s a lot of trepidation about how the provincial championships will go. 

“Provincial associations are all meeting right now as we speak. There’s surveys going out asking curlers how this should look.”

In an email to CBC Sports, the Department of Canadian Heritage said it has received a request from Curling Canada to hold an international event in Canada — that would be the men’s world curling championship.

“An authorization will only be granted if plans offer robust protocols to mitigate the risk of importation and spread of COVID-19 in Canada,” the email said.

“An authorization would be conditional on ongoing support from provincial and local public health authorities and the provincial government, as well as a risk mitigation measures plan, developed and implemented by Curling Canada and assessed by the Public Health Agency of Canada.”

The curling extravaganza will most likely begin with the crown jewel of women’s curling, the Scotties. All of the events will be played without fans at The Markin MacPhail Centre at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park.


Colleen Jones, seen in action at the 2013 Scotties, says with COVID-19 cases rising across the country there’s some trepidation about how provincial championships will unfold. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

While there are still many details to work through regarding player and coach safety, Alberta’s Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, Leela Sharon Aheer, said it’s a positive thing for the province.

“This series of championship curling events is a fantastic opportunity for Alberta to once again show the world that our ability to host major hub city sporting events is second to none,” she said.

“We look forward to delivering an exciting and memorable curling experience for all players, participants and fans.”

The Scotties was originally going to be held in Thunder Bay, Ont., but the pandemic quashed those plans. Pre-event tickets had been sold out. However, Thunder Bay has been awarded the 2022 Scotties.

The Brier was going to be played in Kelowna but is now also set to take place in the Calgary bubble. It marks the first time the Scotties and the Brier are being played in the same city in the same season.

‘I trust Curling Canada’

Defending Brier champion Brad Gushue is thrilled Curling Canada found a way to safely get curlers back to the pebbled ice.

“Every player I’ve talked to has wanted this to happen and [is] excited it’s going to happen,” Gushue said. “I’ve heard some players are a little hesitant but they are few and far between.

“I trust Curling Canada enough to do this in a safe manner. Our team is on board.”

Gushue says his team has had a number of conversations about what life in the Calgary bubble might look like, including potentially being away from family for nearly two months.

“That’s a hard one to swallow. To be honest though, it’s something we’ve discussed at length with our families,” Gushue said.

“There might be some teams that don’t do it. It’s hard not to do when you love the sport and you want to compete.”

Gushue is hoping to defend his Brier title and earn a spot back to the men’s world championship, having not been able to wear the maple leaf at last year’s championship in Scotland because of the pandemic.

WATCH | Gushue disappointed by cancellation of curling world championship:

In an Instagram Live with our curling aficionado Devin Heroux, Brier 2020 champion Brad Gushue said he was ‘disappointed but not surprised’ about the cancellation of the curling world championships. 1:34

“Missing a world championship is not the end of the world but when you’re a competitive curler it tears at you a little bit,” he said.

“It weighed on me. There were moments throughout the summer when people would bring up the worlds and I thought this just sucks that I’m not going to get there.”

Gushue is also planning on playing in the mixed doubles national championship and two Grand Slam events that will also be housed in the Calgary bubble.

Preparing for lack of fans

The grind of six to seven consecutive weeks of curling is something Gushue is already preparing for, including not having any fans inside the arena to motivate him.

“I feed off the crowd,” he said. “To not have them around is going to be a challenge for me. I’m working with our sports psychologist on how to handle that. I don’t know how it’s going to affect me.”

Gushue says his Newfoundland and Labrador team have only played in two competitions this season — by far the least amount of time they’ve been on the ice during a season in their careers.

And they haven’t even been a complete team.


Brad Gushue, left, seen discussing a shot with Geoff Walker in 2018, says coronavirus restrictions in different provinces can make the logistics of practice difficult. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

Geoff Walker is in Alberta with his wife, Laura, and their newborn baby. Walker opted to stay in the province as he didn’t want to leave and quarantine for two weeks before being able to play with Team Gushue.

“I still haven’t seen Geoff in person since the night we won the Brier,” Gushue said. “How do we get together to practise and play?”

Provincial restrictions make playdowns a puzzle

That’s a common question many of the top curling teams in the country are asking these days as most of the foursomes have at least one player living out of the province — restrictions in each jurisdiction of the country differ, making it increasingly challenging for curlers to get together on the ice.

That brings up the issue of provincial playdowns.

With many provinces imposing strict rules around gatherings, curling associations are trying to formulate plans that would allow them to safely and fairly select provincial and territorial representatives to attend both national championships.

The announcement of this Calgary curling bubble comes a year out from the Roar of the Rings Olympic qualifiers scheduled for Saskatoon next November into December.

This is a crucial quadrennial for Canadian curling after both the men’s and women’s teams failed to reach the podium for the first time at the 2018 Olympics.

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