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2011 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors Start Saturday In Calgary

The M&M Meat Shops Canadian junior men’s and women’s curling championships get underway Saturday in Calgary.

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 Glencoe Club and North Hill Community Curling Club from Saturday through Thursday.

At the conclusion of the round robin, and, after any tiebreakers (to be played at The Glencoe, if necessary, on Friday), the first place teams advance to their respective finals, while the second and third place finishers meet in semi-finals.   The women’s semi-final takes place Saturday morning while the men’s semi-final is Sunday morning, both at the North Hill.

The women’s and men’s finals will also be played at the North Hill and will be televised live across Canada on TSN.   The women’s final takes place on Saturday, February 5 at 5:30 pm MT/7:30 pm ET, while the men’s final is on Sunday, February 6, also at 5:30 pm MT/7:30 pm ET.

Breanne Meakin at the 2010 Juniors

It’s the sixth year of title sponsorship by M&M Meat Shops, Canada’s leading retail chain of specialty frozen foods.

The winners will then represent Canada at the 2011 world junior curling championships, March 5-13 in Perth, Scotland.   Canada has won a leading 16 world junior men’s titles since 1975 and eight women’s crowns since 1988.

The host province is represented this year by two teams from Calgary, skipped by Nadine Chyz and Colin Hodgson.  Chyz, who finished fifth at last year’s M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, when won by Ontario’s Rachel Homan, will be facing some familiar foes, including British Columbia’s Dailene Sivertson of Victoria, Northern Ontario’s Kendra Lilly of Sudbury and Saskatchewan’s Trish Paulsen of Saskatoon, the second, third and fourth-place finishers, respectively, in 2010.

On the men’s side, Saskatchewan’s Braeden Moskowy of Regina, last year’s third place finisher to Ontario’s Jake Walker, is returning.   His challengers include Northern Ontario’s Cody Johnston of Thunder Bay, runner-up in 2009 and Ontario’s Mat Camm of Ottawa, who competed in December at the Canada Cup in Medicine Hat, facing the likes of 2010 Olympic gold medallist Kevin Martin and three-time world champion Glenn Howard.

Last year’s Canadian champions, Homan and Walker, went on to earn a silver medal and a bronze medal, respectively, at the World Juniors in Flims, Switzerland.

The Canadian junior men’s curling championship began in 1950 in Quebec City.  Alberta has since won a leading 15 Canadian junior men’s titles, the last by Charley Thomas in 2007, and five junior women’s crowns, the last by Heather Nedohin (Godberson) in 1996, since the inaugural event in 1971 in Vancouver.   The men’s and women’s championships were contested separately until being combined, beginning in 1987 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Alberta has previously hosted six Canadian junior men’s and five Canadian junior women’s championships, the last in Calgary in 1998, when won by Ontario’s John Morris and New Brunswick’s Melissa McClure.