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Qualifying process for 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings unveiled

An expanded field for the final step of qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will be part of Canada’s bid for an unprecedented repeat as men’s and women’s Olympic curling gold-medallists, it was announced today by Curling Canada.

The winners of the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, and eventual 2014 Winter Olympics gold-medallists. From left, top, Brad Jacobs, Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden, Ryan Harnden. Bottom, from left, Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, Dawn McEwen. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

The winners of the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, and eventual 2014 Winter Olympics gold-medallists. From left, top, Brad Jacobs, Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden, Ryan Harnden. Bottom, from left, Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, Dawn McEwen. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

The Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, scheduled for Dec. 2-10, 2017, at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre, will feature nine men’s and nine women’s teams (up from eight of each gender in 2013) battling for the right to represent Canada at the 2018 Winter Games in hopes of repeating the gold-medal victories of Canada’s Brad Jacobs and Jennifer Jones in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.

“We’ve shown time and time again that our depth of competitive curling teams is unmatched around the world, and we want to make sure that all of our top teams will be in Ottawa so that the teams wearing the Maple Leaf in Pyeongchang truly give us our best shot at gold,” said Greg Stremlaw, Chief Executive Officer of Curling Canada. “The system to qualify for the 2017 Canadian Curling Trials ensures that teams that perform the best at curling’s marquee events, and perform the best and most consistently over the next two seasons, will have the chance to play in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings and keep alive Canada’s perfect record of winning medals in every Olympic curling competition since 1998.”

The qualifying system for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings has been tweaked mildly from the system leading to the 2013 Canadian Curling Trials.

In addition to the expanded field, the winners of the 2016 and 2017 Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts will gain direct entry to the Trials, with the proviso that they must finish on the medal podium at the world championships in the same year.

As was the case leading up to the 2013 Trials, the winners of the Home Hardware Canada Cup will gain direct entry to the Trials. As well, two qualifiers will come out of the 2017 Road to the Roar Pre-Trials, Nov. 6-12 in Summerside, P.E.I., while the remainder of the field will be based on Curling Canada’s Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS)

Here’s a look at how the nine-team Trials fields will be put together:

Men
1. Winner of 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup, Dec. 2-6, Grande Prairie, Alta.
2. Winner of 2016 Tim Hortons Brier, March 5-13, Ottawa *
3. Winner of 2016 Home Hardware Canada Cup, (site, dates TBA)
4. Winner of 2017 Tim Hortons Brier (site, dates TBA) *
5. CTRS leader for 2015-17 (two-year total)
6. CTRS leader for 2016-17 (one-year total)
7. CTRS runner-up for 2016-17 (one-year total)
8. Pre-Trials Qualifier
9. Pre-Trials Qualifier
Women
1. Winner of 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup, Dec. 2-6, Grande Prairie, Alta.
2. Winner of 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Feb. 20-28, Grande Prairie, Alta. *
3. Winner of 2016 Home Hardware Canada Cup (site, dates TBA)
4. Winner of 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts (site, dates TBA) *
5. CTRS leader for 2015-17 (two-year total)
6. CTRS leader for 2016-17 (one-year total)
7. CTRS runner-up for 2016-17 (one-year total)
8. Pre-Trials Qualifier
9. Pre-Trials Qualifier

* teams winning the national championship must ‘medal’ at the worlds to earn the invitation.

In cases where teams qualify in multiple scenarios (for instance, a team wins both the Home Hardware Canada Cup and Tim Hortons Brier/Scotties Tournament of Hearts), the next highest non-qualified team on the 2016-17 CTRS standings would get a berth. The exception to that is the two-year CTRS qualifier. In that case, the next highest non-qualified team on the two-year list would get the spot.

The Road to the Roar Pre-Trials fields, meanwhile, will consist of 12 teams of each gender playing off for two berths in the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings.

The 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup men’s and women’s champions have already qualified for the Pre-Trials, while the remainder of the field will come from the Canadian Team Ranking System, as follows:

Men and Women
1. Winners 2014 Home Hardware Canada Cup (Mike McEwen, Winnipeg; Val Sweeting, Edmonton)
2. Highest ranked team on the 2014–15 CTRS not already qualified for the Trials or Pre-Trials (Brad Jacobs, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.; Jennifer Jones, Winnipeg)
3. Highest ranked team on the 2015–16 CTRS not already qualified for the Trials or Pre-Trials
4. Highest ranked team on the 2015–16 CTRS not already qualified for the Trials or Pre-Trials
5. Highest ranked team on the 2015–16 CTRS not already qualified for the Trials or Pre-Trials
6. Highest ranked team on the 2015–16 CTRS not already qualified for the Trials or Pre-Trials
7. Highest ranked team on the 2016–17 CTRS not already qualified for the Trials or Pre-Trials
8. Highest ranked team on the 2016–17 CTRS not already qualified for the Trials or Pre-Trials
9. Highest ranked team on the 2016–17 CTRS not already qualified for the Trials or Pre-Trials
10. Highest ranked team on the 2016–17 CTRS not already qualified for the Trials or Pre-Trials
11. Highest ranked team on the 2015–17 (two years) CTRS not already qualified for the Trials or Pre-Trials
12. Highest ranked team on the 2015–17 (two years) CTRS not already qualified for the Trials or Pre-Trials

Canadian teams have never failed to medal at the Winter Olympics since the sport was re-introduced as a medal discipline at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Previous medal winners include:
2014, Sochi, Russia — Brad Jacobs, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. (gold), Jennifer Jones, Winnipeg (gold)
2010, Vancouver — Kevin Martin, Edmonton (gold), Cheryl Bernard, Calgary (silver)
2006, Torino, Italy — Brad Gushue, St. John’s (gold), Shannon Kleibrink, Calgary (bronze)
2002, Salt Lake City — Kevin Martin, Edmonton (silver), Kelley Law, New Westminster, B.C. (bronze)
1998, Nagano, Japan — Mike Harris, Toronto (silver), Sandra Schmirler, Regina (gold)

Previous hosts of the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings are Brandon, Man., in 1997; Regina in 2001; Halifax in 2005; Edmonton in 2009; and Winnipeg in 2013.