Over the last few seasons, there have been two names consistently atop the women’s leaderboards. Two-time Scotties champion Rachel Homan (Ottawa) and 2015 Scotties champ, and 2014 Olympic gold-medallist Jennifer Jones (Winnipeg).
So far this year, however, only one of those names sits at the top of the Canadian Team Ranking System leaderboard, while the other sits several spots back.
Homan, with her squad of Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney, and Lisa Weagle, started the year off with a win at the Oakville Stu Sells Tankard, and a runner-up finish at the first Grand Slam of the year.
The Jones rink, with Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer, and a variety of fill-ins for new mother Dawn McEwen, hasn’t hit their stride yet in this young season. After a quarterfinal finish in Oakville, they missed the playoffs at the Slam, and as a result, sit in an unfamiliar 13th place on the CTRS list. Granted, most teams have only played a few events, and a few points could move them up as high as fifth pretty quickly, they’re not used to seeing so many teams between them and the top.
Which brings us to this weekend… Homan and Jones are the only two Canadian entries in the European Champions Tour event being held in Sweden. The Stockholm Ladies Cup boasts a stacked 20-team field of Olympians, World Champions, European Champions, and Grand Slam winners. It comes with a purse of 270,000 Swedish Krona (roughly $43,000 CDN) and will also pay out some hefty CTRS/World Order of Merit points.
A win for Jones would put her right back near the top of the list. A win for Homan would put her miles ahead of the competition.
Jones is in a 5-team pool with Russian Olympian Anna Sidorova, while Homan’s main competition is Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni. Tirinzoni stole the championship from Homan at the last Grand Slam in their last meeting.
Elsewhere, the men are going to battle over $41,000 and a pile of CTRS points at the Point Optical Curling Classic in Saskatoon. With Brad Gushue (St. John’s) taking the week off, Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) and Mike McEwen (Winnipeg) will have a chance to make up some ground, after Gushue won two of his first three events, and lost the Grand Slam final in the other.
This triple-knockout event also features Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers, Toronto’s John Epping, and Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock. As usual, the international contingent is well represented by Sweden’s Niklas Edin, Switzerland’s Sven Michel, and USA’s John Shuster.