History of the Home Hardware Canada Cup of Curling

The concept for creating one of the most significant cash spiels 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, who had also won the 2005 Canada Cup, took home a total of $28,200.

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. The Martin team also pocketed $28,200 for the win. Attendance for the week was an excellent 27,188.

The 2010 Canada Cup was played in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and once again, 10 men’s and 10 women’s teams competed. Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon emerged the winner on the women’s side, defeating Calgary’s Cheryl Bernard, 7-3 in the final, earning $28,200. In men’s, Coldwater, Ontario’s Glenn Howard finally got the best of Edmonton’s Kevin Martin, winning the final, 10-7 while earning $29,000. The total attendance was 29,126, the second highest in its eight-year history, behind only Kamloop’s 2007 mark of 30,034.

A number of changes were made for the 2011 edition, which was staged in Cranbrook, British Columbia, November 30-December 4.

Capital One became the title sponsor for both the 2011 and 2012 Canada Cups, with St. Eugene Golf Resort Casino as the presenting sponsor for 2011. There was also a major format change. Now, seven teams of each gender would participate in a round robin leading to a playoff, whereby the first place teams advance to their respective finals, while the second and third place teams meet in semi-finals. Previously, 10 teams of each gender competed in two pools, leading to a crossover Page Playoff system.

And, of even greater importance, as the first event in the Canadian Curling Association’s Season of Champions, the two winning teams would also be the first ones to qualify directly into the 2013 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials Roar of the Rings, December 1-8 in Winnipeg, which will determine Canada’s representatives for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

The winning teams also received berths into the 2012 Capital One Canada Cup, November 28-December 2 in Moose Jaw, SK and the 2013 World Financial Group Continental Cup, January 10-13 in Penticton, BC.

When all was said and done, Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones and Edmonton’s Kevin Martin prevailed. Just as both teams had become the first ones to qualify for the 2009 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials in Edmonton, they became the first ones to qualify for the Trials again in 2013.

Jones, who had won the 2007 Cup, just managed to make the playoffs by counting two in the 10th end against Amber Holland to finish the round robin at 3-3. The four-time Scotties winner then advanced to the final by defeating second place finisher Calgary’s Shannon Kleibrink, 6-3 in the semi-final.

In the final, the Jones team destroyed Chelsea Carey of Morden, Manitoba, who had completed the round robin in first place with a 5-1 mark, 9-4, to earn berths into the 2013 Trials, the 2012 Capital One Canada Cup and the 2013 World Financial Group Continental Cup. The team also earned $26,000 for the victory.

On the men’s side, 2010 Olympic gold medallist Martin won a record fourth Cup, defeating a familiar foe, Ontario’s Glenn Howard, 7-4 in the final. Martin completed the event unbeaten with a 7-0 mark and took home $26,000, in addition to berths into the above events. The only other team to go unbeaten at the Canada Cup was the Randy Ferbey foursome in 2003 in Kamloops, finishing at 6-0. Martin’s previous Cup wins came in 2005, 2006 and 2009.

The 2012 Capital One Canada Cup, presented by Mosaic, was held November 28- December 2 at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, with berths into the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials on the line.

The seven-team round robin format was the same as in 2011. The winning teams received $14,000, but teams also earned an additional $2,000 for each round robin win.

Back to defend their Canada Cup titles were Kevin Martin and Jennifer Jones (although her team was skipped by Kaitlyn Lawes because Jones had recently given birth to a daughter, Isabella, and was on maternity leave).

The women’s lineup also included Stefanie Lawton, Heather Nedohin, Crystal Webster, Chelsea Carey, Sherry Middaugh and Cathy Overton-Clapham. The men’s field, in addition to Martin, listed Jeff Stoughton, Glenn Howard, Mike McEwen, Kevin Koe, John Epping and Brad Gushue.

Stoughton finished the men’s round robin in first place with a 5-1 mark to advance to the final, while Howard, Koe and McEwen tied for second with 4-2 records. McEwen then eliminated Koe, 9-7 in a tiebreaker, before losing to Howard, 9-6 in the semifinal.

In the tight final, Stoughton secured a 4-3 win over Howard, taking one in the 10th. Stoughton’s team won a total of $24,000 and a coveted berth into the Trials.

In women’s, Lawton wound up first with a 5-1 mark to advance to the final. Nedohin and Lawes, who had finished with 4-2 records, met in the semifinal, with Lawes prevailing 9-5. In the final, though, Lawton edged Lawes, 6-4 to win her third Canada Cup. Her team also banked $24,000 for the victory, as well as a Trials berth.

The week proved a record-setting one, as Moose Jaw established a new Cup attendance mark of 33,160, eclipsing the former record of 30,034 in Kamloops in 2007.

After a one-year hiatus (when the Canada Cup is replaced by the Roar of the Rings on the event schedule), the 2014 event, now sponsored by Home Hardware and presented by Meridian Manufacturing, will be held December 3-7 at the Encana Arena in Camrose, Alberta, which was also the site of the 2008 World Financial Group Continental Cup.

The seven-team format for each gender remains the same. Heading the line-ups are the 2014 Olympic gold medallists Jennifer Jones and Brad Jacobs. In addition to prize money, berths into the 2015 WFG Continental Cup, January 8-11 in Calgary, the 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup and 2017 Road to the Roar (sites/dates to be announced for the latter two) will also be awarded to the winning teams.

CANADA CUP – PAST WINNERS

Year Location Men’s Winner Women’s Winner
2014 Camrose, AB Mike McEwen Val Sweeting
2012 Moose Jaw, SK Jeff Stoughton Stefanie Lawton
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