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World Financial Group Canadian Seniors begin Saturday in Digby

The World Financial Group Canadian Senior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships get underway Saturday in Digby, Nova Scotia.

Twelve men’s and 12 women’s teams will compete in the national championships, slated for March 19-26 at the Digby Area Recreation Centre, which houses both the Digby Curling Centre and Digby Area Arena.

At the conclusion of the round robin on Thursday evening, the first place teams advance directly to Saturday’s finals at 2:00 pm AT, while the second and third place teams meet in semi-finals on Friday evening, following any required tiebreakers.

The winners of the 2011 World Financial Group Canadian Seniors will then represent Canada at the 2012 World Seniors, at a site and date to be announced.

This year’s field includes a number of former Brier and Tournament of Hearts competitors. Among them, in men’s, are British Columbia’s Greg McAulay, who won the 2000 Labatt Brier and Ford Worlds while Alberta second Don McKenzie is a two-time Brier (1988, 1989) and 1989 world champion, when playing lead for Pat Ryan.

Other skips with Brier experience include New Brunswick’s Wade Blanchard, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Jeff Thomas, Northern Ontario’s Eric Harnden, Quebec’s Rob Maclean (who played third for both Don Aitken and Kevin Adams at several Briers) and Saskatchewan’s Brad Heidt, the 1995 Brier runner-up to Manitoba’s Kerry Burtnyk. Newfoundland and Labrador third Mark Noseworthy also skipped at several Briers. In addition, Nova Scotia skip Scott Saunders won the 1993 Canadian Mixed.

The women’s line-up boasts Nova Scotia’s Colleen Jones, a record six-time Scotties (1982, 1999, 2001-2004) and two-time (2001, 2004) world champion and Nancy Delahunt, a five-time Scotties and two-time world champion, when playing lead for Jones. This time around, though, in their Seniors debut, Delahunt is officially the skip, since she calls the game while throwing third stones, as Jones plays fourth stones only.

Also competing are Alberta’s Diane Foster, the 2007 Canadian and 2008 World Seniors champion, Ontario’s Joyce Potter, the 2005 Canadian Senior champion and 2006 World Seniors silver medallist, and veteran Scotties Tournament of Hearts skips Heidi Hanlon of New Brunswick, who finished second in last year’s Canadian Seniors, losing the final in Ottawa to British Columbia’s Christine Jurgenson, and Laura Phillips of Newfoundland/Labrador.

Nova Scotia has previously hosted the Canadian Senior men’s once – in 1971, and the Canadian Senior women’s twice – in 1974 and 1984, both in Halifax. The championships were conducted separately prior to being combined, beginning in 1985 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

Manitoba and Ontario have each won 10 Canadian senior men’s titles since the championship began in 1965 in Thunder Bay (Port Arthur), while Nova Scotia is still looking for its first title.

Ontario has also won a leading 10 women’s crowns since the inaugural championship in 1973 in Ottawa, while Nova Scotia has three triumphs – by skip Verda Kempton in 1982 and 1987 and by skip Colleen Pinkney in 2009.

Last year’s Canadian Seniors champions, Alberta’s Mark Johnson and British Columbia’s Christine Jurgenson, will represent Canada at the 2011 World Seniors, April 16-23 in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Draw results for the 2011 World Financial Group Canadian Seniors will be instantly available at www.curling.ca .

2011 World Financial Group Canadian Senior Women’s Curling Championship
March 19-26, Digby Area Recreation Centre (Digby Area Arena and Digby Curling Centre), Digby, Nova Scotia

WOMEN’S TEAMS (listed in order of skip, third, second, lead)

Alberta – Acadia Recreation Complex, Calgary
Diane Foster, June Campbell, Karen Morrison, Glenna Rubin

British Columbia – Qualicum and District Curling Club, Qualicum Beach
Lynne Noble, Lorraine Jeffries, Lorraine Gagnon, Kristin Nickells

Manitoba – Fort Garry Curling Club, Winnipeg
Deborah Popovic, Brenda Robinson, Monika Noakes, Sherrell McColm

New Brunswick – Thistle-St. Andrews Curling Club, Saint John
Heidi Hanlon, Kathy Floyd, Judy Blanchard, Jane Arseneau

Newfoundland and Labrador – Re/Max Centre, St. John’s
Laura Phillips, Diane Ryan, Marian Dawe, Jeannette Hodder

Northern Ontario – Port Arthur Curling Club, Thunder Bay
Barbara Ward, Janice Atkinson, Jan Alexander, Vicki Boland

Northwest Territories/Yukon – Yellowknife Curling Centre, Yellowknife, NT
Sandy Penkala, Ann McKellar-Gillis, Marie Coe, Louise Marcinkoski

Nova Scotia – Mayflower Curling Club, Halifax
Nancy Delahunt (third rocks), Colleen Jones (fourth rocks), Marsha Sobey, Sally Saunders

Ontario – Rideau Curling Club, Ottawa
Joyce Potter, Diana Favel, Jennifer Langley, Brenda Moffitt

Prince Edward Island – Montague Curling Club, Montague
June Moyaert, Sherren MacKinnon, Terri Thompson, Kathy Clarey

Quebec – Trois-Rivières Curling Club, Trois-Rivières
Odette Trudel, Suzanne Godin, Lynn Montambeault, Lorraine Levasseur

Saskatchewan – Wadena Curling Club, Wadena
Delores Syrota, Bev Krasowski, Gloria Leach, Sylvia Broad

2011 World Financial Group Canadian Senior Men’s Curling Championship
March 19-26, Digby Area Recreation Centre (Digby Area Arena and Digby Curling Centre), Digby, Nova Scotia

MEN’S TEAMS (listed in order of skip, third, second, lead)

Alberta – Saville Sports Centre, Edmonton
Brad Hannah, Gary Greening, Don McKenzie, Lance Dealy

British Columbia – Richmond Curling Club, Richmond
Greg McAulay, Ken Watson, Dale Hockley, Dale Reibin

Manitoba – Neepawa Curling Club, Neepawa
Kelly Robertson, Doug Armour, Peter Prokopowich, Bob Scales

New Brunswick – Thistle-St. Andrews Curling Club, Saint John
Wade Blanchard, Rick Perron, Alain Richard, Mickey Mazerolle

Newfoundland and Labrador – Re/Max Centre, St. John’s
Jeff Thomas, Mark Noseworthy, Peter Hollett, Ross Young

Northern Ontario – Sudbury Curling Club, Sudbury
Eric Harnden, Dion Dumontelle, Doug Hong, Mark Borgogelli

Nova Scotia – Bridgewater Curling Club, Bridgewater & Lunenburg Curling Club, Lunenburg
Scott Saunders, Curt Palmer, Dave Slauenwhite, Glenn Josephson

Ontario – Royal Canadian Curling Club, Toronto
Guy Racette, Brian Roblin, Tom Roblin, Brian Bobbie

Prince Edward Island – Charlottetown Curling Club, Charlottetown
Bill Hope, Craig Mackie, David Murphy, John Mullin

Quebec – Hudson Legion Curling Club, Hudson & Glenmore Curling Club, Dollard-des-Ormeaux
Rob Maclean, John Stewart, Lawren Steventon, Dan Belliveau

Saskatchewan – Kerrobert Curling Club, Kerrobert
Brad Heidt, *Peter Thiele (replaces Gerald Shymko), Dan Ormsby, Sandy Sutherland

Yukon/Northwest Territories – Whitehorse Curling Club, Whitehorse, Yukon
George Hilderman, Pat Molloy, Dale Enzenauer, Gordon Zealand