Curling fans everywhere were glued to their televisions last weekend as provincial finals wrapped up across the country. In every region, it seemed a tested veteran reached the final as the favourite, and in most provinces they were defeated. As everyone tries to wrap their heads around the upsets, we look forward to doing it all over again this weekend, as several more provinces will be hosting their championships.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Both the men’s and women’s provincial playdowns will take place this week at the RE/MAX Centre in St. John’s. Brad Gushue, currently No. 1 on the Canadian Team Ranking System leaderboard, will be looking to book his annual trip to the Tim Hortons Brier. He’s been there 12 times, representing Newfoundland and Labrador, and barring a major upset, he’ll likely return. It is clear that Gushue has his sights set on a men’s national championship, the one trophy he’s never claimed, but he’ll have to survive the six-team provincial first.
On the women’s side, another N.L. powerhouse is the favourite. Heather Strong also has won the province 12 times and is certainly the team to beat in the three-team field. They’ll play a double round-robin to decide a winner.
Championships will also be held for the men and women of the Northwest Territories. They’ll start Wednesday night at the Hay River Curling Club. Jamie Koe will be looking to defend the title he’s won nine times. There are seven teams vying for the spot, but whoever wins will face the pre-qualifying round at this year’s Brier, due to Koe’s disappointing results last year in Calgary.
Koe’s twin sister Kerry Galusha is also looking to defend her provincial women’s title, which she’s won 12 times. The winner of the four-team tournament will also enter the pre-qualifying round at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Twelve teams will be fighting over their right to the “green jacket” as the provincial playdowns take place in Prince Albert. Stefanie Lawton is the highest ranked team on the CTRS (No. 9), but there is no shortage of teams who would like to dethrone the four-time champ.
Michelle Englot (CTRS No. 14) and Sherry Anderson (CTRS No. 27) have both been active on tour this year, and would both like to return to the Scotties. The twelve teams are split into two pools, and will play a round robin before crossing over during the playoffs.
Games will be streamed on CurlSask.ca, starting January 27th and the playoffs will be shown on Access 7 Sask on the 31st.
Sylvie Robichaud will look to defend her 2015 provincial title as a field of five teams takes to the ice at Curl Moncton. Robichaud, who went 4-7 at last year’s national championship will start her journey back to the Scotties with a Wednesday evening game vs. Sarah Mallais of the Thistle St. Andrew Curling Club.
BellAliant TV1 will be televising one draw per day and offer streaming.