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Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials start Sunday in Edmonton

The much-anticipated Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials, presented by Monsanto, get underway Sunday at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

Over the course of the week, eight men’s and eight women’s teams will compete for the opportunity to represent Canada at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, when the curling competition takes place February 16-27 at the Olympic/Paralympic Centre.

The Trials competition format is a round robin, with the first place teams advancing to their respective finals, while the second and third place teams meet in a semi-final to determine the other finalist.  TSN will televise all draws, leading to the women’s final on Saturday evening, December 12 at 6:00 pm MT/8:00 pm ET and the men’s final Sunday afternoon, December 13 at 1:00 pm MT/3:00 pm ET.

CurlTV.com will also provide internet coverage to its subscribers of a game from every round robin draw.

The opening women’s draw is at 1:00 pm on Sunday, followed by the men’s first draw at 6:00 pm. The round robin continues Monday through Thursday, with draws at 8:30 am, 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm.  The only exception is Wednesday evening’s draw, which begins at 7:30 pm MT.

The women’s line-up is headed by Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones and Calgary’s Shannon Kleibrink, the top two seeds.   Jones is the reigning Canadian champion, a three-time (2005, 2008, 2009) winner of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the 2008 Ford world women’s champion.

Kleibrink won the 2005 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials in Halifax and went on to a bronze medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.  They are joined by Calgary’s Cheryl Bernard and Saskatoon’s 2008 Canada Cup winner and 2005 Trials third place finisher Stefanie Lawton, both of whom also received berths directly into the Trials, as the number three and four seeds, respectively.

Four other women’s teams qualified by winning finals at the Pre-Trials triple knockout competition in Prince George, British Columbia, November 10-14.   Calgary’s Crystal Webster won the A final while Thunder Bay’s Krista McCarville took the B final.  Two-time (2006, 2007) Canadian champion, 2005 Trials runner-up and 2007 world women’s champion Kelly Scott of Kelowna, along with Amber Holland, of Kronau, Saskatchewan, also earned berths via victories in the C finals.

On the men’s side, four-time (1991, 1997, 2008, 2009) Brier winner and 2008 world champion Kevin Martin of Edmonton is the number one seed.   Martin also captured the 2001 Trials in Regina en route to a silver medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Three-time (1987, 1993, 2007) Brier and world champion Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ontario is the second seed, with Edmonton’s Kevin Koe and Randy Ferbey, the third and fourth seeds, respectively.  Koe won the 2008 Canada Cup while Ferbey is a record six-time Brier winner. His team has won four Briers (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005) and three Ford world men’s titles (2002, 2003, 2005).

Challenging the top four are the winners of the Pre-Trials competition – Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton, a two-time (1996, 1999) Brier winner, 1996 world champion and Trials runner-up in 2005, who won the A final; Pat Simmons of Davidson, Saskatchewan, winner of the B final; Toronto’s two-time (1993, 1998) Brier and world champion Wayne Middaugh and Jason Gunnlaugson of Beausejour, Manitoba, both of whom won C finals in Prince George.

Edmonton already holds attendance records for a Tim Hortons Brier (281,985 in 2005) and a Ford world men’s championship (184,970 in 2007).  It is expected to surpass the current record of 159,235 for the Trials, set in Halifax in 2005.

Draw results via CurlCast will be instantly available on the Canadian Curling Association’s website, www.curling.ca <http://www.curling.ca>.

In celebration of the Trials, curlers who represented Canada in past Olympics were invited to be part of the Opening Weekend festivities, including Friday’s Opening Banquet at the Expo Centre and Sunday’s Opening Ceremonies, which begin at 11:00 am.   Among those attending will be members of the late Sandra Schmirler’s gold medal team and the Mike Harris silver medallist team of 1998, Kelley Law and her bronze medal team from 2002 and Russ Howard, a member of the gold medal-winning Brad Gushue team of 2006 and now a TSN curling commentator.

Other guests taking part in the Opening Ceremonies include Jim Armstrong, the 2009 world wheelchair curling champion who will also skip Canada at the 2010 Paralympic Games curling competition, March 13-20 in Vancouver.

For Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings ticket information, visit www.ticketmaster.ca <http://www.ticketmaster.ca> or phone 780-451-8000.

These Trials will be the fifth such competition to determine Canada’s representatives at the Winter Olympics.

In 1987, the Labatt National Curling Trials were held in Calgary and won by Vancouver’s Linda Moore and Calgary’s Ed Lukowich.  Moore would go on to win a gold medal while Lukowich received a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, when curling was a demonstration sport.

For the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France, rather than conduct a Trials competition, the CCA decided in advance that the winners of the 1991 Labatt Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts, ultimately Edmonton’s Kevin Martin and Victoria’s Julie Sutton, would represent Canada.   Martin finished fourth while Sutton won a bronze medal, when curling was still a demonstration sport.

In 1997, the Trials were held in Brandon, Manitoba and won by Toronto’s Mike Harris and Regina’s Sandra Schmirler.  Schmirler went on to capture the first official gold medal for women at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano (Karuizawa), Japan while Harris earned a silver medal.

In 2001, the Trials were staged in Regina and won by Edmonton’s Kevin Martin and New Westminster’s Kelley Law.  Martin then earned a silver medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City (Ogden), Utah, while Law won a bronze medal.

At the 2005 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials in Halifax, the Brad Gushue team of St. John’s, which was being skipped by Russ Howard, and Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary emerged victorious.   Gushue’s team won a gold medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin (Pinerolo), Italy, while Kleibrink earned a bronze medal.

2009 TIM HORTONS ROAR OF THE RINGS CANADIAN CURLING TRIALS
DECEMBER 6-13, REXALL PLACE
EDMONTON, AB

WOMEN

Teams listed in order of skip, third, second, lead, alternate and coach

TEAM BERNARD
Calgary CC, Calgary, AB

Cheryl Bernard
Susan O’Connor
Carolyn Darbyshire
Cori Bartel
Kristie Moore
Dennis Balderston

TEAM HOLLAND
Kronau CC, Kronau, SK

Amber Holland
Kim Schneider
Tammy Schneider
Heather Kalenchuk
Jolene Campbell
Merv Fonger

TEAM JONES
St. Vital CC, Winnipeg, MB

Jennifer Jones
Cathy Overton-Clapham
Jill Officer
Dawn Askin
Jennifer Clark-Rouire
Janet Arnott

TEAM KLEIBRINK
Calgary Winter Club, Calgary, AB

Shannon Kleibrink
Amy Nixon
Bronwen Webster
Chelsey Bell
Heather Nedohin
Ron Meyers

TEAM LAWTON
Nutana CC, Saskatoon, SK

Stefanie Lawton
Marliese Kasner
Sherri Singler
Lana Vey
Beth Iskiw
Brian McCusker

TEAM McCARVILLE
Fort William CC, Thunder Bay, ON

Krista McCarville
Tara George
Kari MacLean
Lorraine Lang
Ashley Miharija
Rick Lang

TEAM SCOTT
Kelowna CC, Kelowna, BC

Kelly Scott
Jeanna Schraeder
Sasha Carter
Jacquie Armstrong
Helen Radford
Gerry Richard

TEAM WEBSTER
Calgary CC, Calgary, AB

Crystal Webster
Lori Olson-Johns
Sam Preston
Stephanie Malekoff
Sherry Anderson
Gord Trenchie

2009 TIM HORTONS ROAR OF THE RINGS CANADIAN CURLING TRIALS
DECEMBER 6-13, REXALL PLACE
EDMONTON, AB

MEN

Teams listed in order of skip, third, second, lead, alternate and coach

TEAM FERBEY
Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, AB

Randy Ferbey (third stones)
David Nedohin (fourth stones)
Scott Pfeifer
Marcel Rocque
Dan Holowaychuk

TEAM GUNNLAUGSON
Beausejour CC, Beausejour, MB

Jason Gunnlaugson
Justin Richter
Braden Zawada
Tyler Forrest
Ted Appelman
Calvin Edie

TEAM HOWARD
Coldwater & District CC, Coldwater, ON

Glenn Howard
Richard Hart
Brent Laing
Craig Savill
Steve Bice
Scott Taylor

TEAM KOE
Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, AB

Kevin Koe
Blake MacDonald
Carter Rycroft
Nolan Thiessen
Jamie King
John Dunn
TEAM MARTIN
Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton, AB

Kevin Martin
John Morris
Marc Kennedy
Ben Hebert
Adam Enright
Jules Owchar

TEAM MIDDAUGH
St. George’s Golf and Country Club, Toronto, ON

Wayne Middaugh
Jon Mead
John Epping
Scott Bailey
Trevor Wall

TEAM SIMMONS
Davidson CC, Davidson, SK

Pat Simmons
Gerry Adam
Jeff Sharp
Steve Laycock
Warren Jackson
Barry Fiendell

TEAM STOUGHTON
Charleswood CC, Winnipeg, MB

Jeff Stoughton
Kevin Park
Rob Fowler
Steve Gould
Randy Dutiaume
Norm Gould