The concept for creating one of the most significant cashspiels in the country had been discussed for several years. But it wasn’t until September of 2001 when it was formally announced that the first Strauss Canada Cup would take place in January of 2003 at Sport Mart Place in Kamloops.
The inaugural edition of the Cup offered an astounding purse of $220,000, split equally between the men’s and women’s competitions. It was the richest purse ever for a combined men’s and women’s event. Among the 20 competing teams were world champions Colleen Jones and Kelley Law on the women’s side, while Randy Ferbey, Russ Howard and Pat Ryan held world titles on the men’s side.
The inaugural winners were Edmonton’s Randy Ferbey, who pocketed $53,000 after defeating John Morris, 7-5 in the men’s final and Coldwater, Ontario’s Sherry Middaugh, who earned $52,250 after beating Kelley Law, 8-7 in the women’s final.
There were additional incentives to win this first Cup, since the victors also earned berths into the 2003 Continental Cup in Thunder Bay and even more importantly, the 2005 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials in Halifax, which would select Canada’s representatives for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.
The 2004 Cup was worth $90,000 each for the men’s and women’s events and again offered berths into the 2004 Continental Cup in Medicine Hat and 2005 Trials. Once more, it attracted exceptional fields, including defending champion Ferbey, plus former world champions Wayne Middaugh, Kerry Burtnyk, Russ Howard and Jeff Stoughton on the men’s side, while the women’s line-up included Colleen Jones, Sherry Anderson, Kelly Scott and Shannon Kleibrink.
Ferbey emerged victorious, once again defeating two-time world junior champion John Morris in the final, 10-3, pocketing a total of $33,000 while on the women’s side, Jones edged Anderson, 8-7, also taking home $33,000.
Since both Ferbey (2003 Canada Cup winner) and Jones (2003 Scotties Tournament of Hearts winner) had already qualified for the 2005 Trials, the berths went to the runners-up, Morris and Anderson.
In 2005, the Strauss Canada Cup officially became part of the Season of Champions and was held in March. Again, Trials berths were on the line. The winners were Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary and Kevin Martin of Edmonton. Kleibrink edged Jan Betker, 7-6 in the final, earning $35,750, while Martin’s team collected $37,250 after beating Randy Ferbey, 6-5.
Since Kleibrink had already qualified for the Trials, via the Canadian Team Ranking System, Betker was awarded the Trials berth.
The 2006 Strauss Canada Cup, again offering $90,000 to each of the men’s and women’s competitions, was held in early February at the newly-named Interior Savings Centre.
Kevin Martin successfully defended his title, defeating Glenn Howard, 5-4 in the final, en route to earning $37,250. On the women’s side, Cathy King of Edmonton defeated Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg, 10-9 and collected $36,500. As in past years, both winners also received berths as defending champions into the following year’s renewal.
In 2007, the men’s and women’s events were each worth $75,000. The men’s final pitted the only two skips to have won the Cup – Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin. The final went to an extra end, before Ferbey edged Martin, 9-8. His team earned $28,200.
The women’s final pitted the previous year’s finalists, Cathy King and Jennifer Jones, but this time it was Jones who emerged victorious, 10-7, while earning $27,400. The 2007 renewal, held in mid-March, also attracted a record six-day crowd of 30,034.
Both winners also received berths into the 2007 Continental Cup, December 13-16 in Medicine Hat and became part of the pool of 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams eligible for the 2009 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials, in addition to berths as defending champions in the 2008 Strauss Canada Cup.
In 2008, $75,000 in prize money was offered for both men and women, with $25,000 to each winner. Each team also received $800 for each round robin win.
The Stefanie Lawton team from Saskatoon won the women’s final, defeating Kelowna’s Kelly Scott, 7-4 in the final, while Edmonton’s Kevin Koe edged clubmate Kevin Martin, 6-5 in the men’s final.
During its six year run in Kamloops, the Cup raised significant funds for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, as Kamloops-based Strauss Herb Company, a worldwide distributor of health products, helped finance the competition from the beginning. Aquafina was also a presenting sponsor of the event for five years.
Both 2008 winners earned $25,000 for the victories, received berths into the 2008 Continental Cup in Camrose, Alberta and, as defending champions, also gained berths into the 2009 Canada Cup, March 18-22 in Yorkton, when the ‘Cup’ moved to a new town and a new province for the first time. The victories also helped secure berths directly into the Trials for the Koe and Lawton teams.
At the 2009 Canada Cup, presented by Richardson International, Calgary’s Shannon Kleibrink became the first woman skip to win the Cup twice, defeating Quebec’s Marie-France Larouche of St-Romuald, 6-4 in the final. Kleibrink had also won the 2005 Canada Cup.
On the men’s side, Edmonton’s Kevin Martin, fresh from another record-setting undefeated week at the Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary, knocked off rival Randy Ferbey, 8-5 in the final at the Farrell Agencies Arena in the Gallagher Centre, for his third Cup win, following victories in 2005 and 2006. Attendance for the week was an excellent 27,188.
CANADA CUP – PAST WINNERS
|Year||Location||Men’s Winner||Women’s Winner|
|2011||Cranbrook, BC||Kevin Martin||Jennifer Jones|
|2010||Medicine Hat, AB||Glenn Howard||Stefanie Lawton|
|2009||Yorkton, SK||Kevin Martin||Shannon Kleibrink|
|2008||Kamloops, BC||Kevin Koe||Stefanie Lawton|
|2007||Kamloops, BC||Randy Ferbey||Jennifer Jones|
|2006||Kamloops, BC||Kevin Martin||Cathy King|
|2005||Kamloops, BC||Kevin Martin||Shannon Kleibrink|
|2004||Kamloops, BC||Randy Ferbey||Colleen Jones|
|2003||Kamloops, BC||Randy Ferbey||Sherry Middaugh|