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M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors start Saturday in Napanee

The M&M Meat Shops Canadian Junior Men’s and Women’s Curling Championships begin Saturday in Napanee, Ontario.

Thirteen men’s and 13 women’s teams (representing the 10 provinces plus Northern Ontario, Northwest Territories and Yukon) will compete. Round robin games will be played at both the Strathcona Paper Centre and Napanee & District Curling Club. At the conclusion of the round robin, and, after any tiebreakers, the first place teams advance to their respective finals, while the second and third place finishers meet in semi-finals.

The ice is ready for curling in Napanee's Strathcona Paper Centre.

Both the women’s and men’s finals will be played at the Strathcona Paper Centre and will be televised live across Canada on TSN & RDS (in Quebec). The women’s final takes place on Saturday, February 11 at 7:00 pm ET while the men’s final is on Sunday, February 12, also at 7:00 pm ET.

This is the seventh year of title sponsorship by M&M Meat Shops, Canada’s leading retail chain of specialty frozen foods, since beginning its association with the 2006 Canadian Juniors in Thunder Bay.

On the men’s side, among this year’s skips are Newfoundland/Labrador’s Colin Thomas of St. John’s, who finished third at last year’s M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Calgary, won last year’s CIS/CCA University Curling Championship and most recently earned a silver medal at the Karuizawa Invitational in Japan and Yukon’s Thomas Scoffin of Whitehorse, bronze medallist at the recent Winter Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria, who will be making a record-tying sixth straight appearance as skip.

On the women’s side, Northern Ontario skip Kendra Lilly of Sudbury, third place finisher in 2010, will be making her fourth appearance, joining others who competed in last year’s championship as well, such as New Brunswick’s Jennifer Armstrong of Rothesay, Newfoundland/Labrador’s Erica Trickett of St. John’s, Northwest Territories’ Taryn Williams of Yellowknife, Prince Edward Island’s Sarah Fullerton of Cornwall and Yukon’s Sarah Koltun of Whitehorse, who will be making a record sixth Juniors appearance as skip.

The Canadian Junior Men’s Championship began in 1950 in Quebec City. Alberta has since won a leading 15 titles, Saskatchewan is next with 14, while Ontario has nine, the last by Jake Walker in 2010 in Sorel-Tracy.

Saskatchewan has won a leading 11 Canadian Junior Women’s titles since 1971, while Ontario has just three crowns, the last by Rachel Homan in 2010 in Sorel-Tracy. The men’s and women’s championships were contested separately until being combined, beginning in 1987 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Ontario will be represented this year by Jamie Sinclair’s Manotick Curling Centre team in women’s and Brett DeKoning’s Omemee Curling Club team in men’s.

Up-to-the-minute draw results will be available on the Canadian Curling Association website (www.curling.ca).

The Opening Ceremony is slated for 6:30 pm ET on Saturday, February 4 at the Strathcona Paper Centre, prior to Draw 3 at 7:30 pm. The M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors get underway with Draw 1 at 10:00 am Saturday at both the Strathcona Paper Centre and Napanee & District Curling Club, followed by Draw 2 at 2:30 pm.

Single Draw tickets starting at $8 and week and weekend passes are now on sale at the Strathcona Paper Centre Box Office or by calling 613-354-4423.

The winning teams will represent Canada at the 2012 World Junior Curling Championships, March 3-11 in Östersund, Sweden. Canada has won a leading 16 world junior men’s titles since 1975 and eight women’s crowns, tied with Scotland, since 1988.

Last year in Calgary, Saskatchewan’s Trish Paulsen and Braeden Moskowy, who went undefeated at 13-0, won Canadian titles. Paulsen would go on to earn a silver medal at the World Juniors in Perth, losing to Scotland’s Eve Muirhead in the final, while Moskowy finished fourth.

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