Canada’s top university curling teams begin play Wednesday, March 18 in the 2015 CIS-Curling Canada University Curling Championships, presented by Travelers, at the KW Granite Club at Waterloo, Ont.
Eight teams of each gender will compete in the eighth edition of these championships, which are staged in partnership between Canadian University Sport (CIS) and Curling Canada.
The teams play a round robin ending Friday evening, followed by semifinals pitting 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3 on Saturday morning, with the winners advancing to their respective finals Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. ET. At the same time, the bronze-medal games will be played involving the losers of the semifinals.
Host Wilfrid Laurier University will field an entry in each of the men’s (skip Aaron Squires) and women’s (skip Carly Howard) competitions. Both Squires and Howard finished third last year.
The women’s field is topped by University of Alberta Pandas skip Kelsey Rocque, a two-time consecutive reigning Canadian junior and world junior champion. Rocque won gold for Alberta at the 2014 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors at Liverpool, N.S., then took the world junior women’s crown for Canada at Flims, Switzerland.
This year, she successfully defended both titles, winning the Canadian Juniors at Corner Brook, N.L. and then repeating as the world junior women’s champ at Tallinn, Estonia — joining Scottish star Eve Muirhead has the only female skips to win back-to-back world junior titles. Rocque has also been the runner-up at the past two CIS-CCA Championships.
One of her rivals, once again, will be Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack skip Corryn Brown of Kamloops, B.C. Brown won the 2013 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors at Fort McMurray, Alta., and won bronze at the 2015 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors in Corner Brook, N.L.
Among the notable men’s skips are University of Alberta Golden Bears’ Thomas Scoffin, who appeared in a record seven M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors as skip – six for Yukon and one for Alberta, University of Winnipeg Wesmen’s Kyle Doering, who finished third at the 2012 Canadian Juniors and the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds’ Josh Barry, who played third for P.E.I. skip Adam Casey in the recently concluded 2015 Tim Hortons Brier at Calgary.
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks swept the men’s and women’s titles in the inaugural CIS-CCA Championships in 2008, which were staged at the Guelph and Elmira Curling Clubs, with Mike Anderson’s team taking the men’s crown and Hollie Nicol capturing her first of two consecutive titles.
Since then, the Golden Hawks have won two more women’s championships — both by skip Laura Crocker and her team in 2011 (at St. John’s) and 2012 (at Welland, Ont.). Previous women’s winning skips also include the University of Manitoba’s Breanne Meakin in 2013 and the University of Regina’s Brooklyn Lemon in 2010.
Last year at Regina, Matt Dunstone of the University of Manitoba Bisons and Jamie Sinclair of Carleton University Ravens directed their teams to the men’s and women’s titles respectively.
No university has won the men’s title more than once. Previous winners are the University of Waterloo’s Jake Walker in 2013 (at Kamloops, B.C.), University of Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher in 2012 (at Welland, Ont.), Memorial University’s Colin Thomas in 2011 (at St. John’s), Queen’s University’s Jonathan Beuk in 2010 (at Edmonton) and the University of Regina’s Chris Busby in 2009 (at Montreal).
Fans will be able to experience online coverage through curlinggeek.com, which will provide graphics showing the rocks, etc. for selected games. Visit http://games.curlinggeek.com.