Here we are at the start of our competitive season and we have some very familiar names atop the leaderboard at the events so far. I’m writing this Sunday afternoon and there are two major events (Shorty Jenkins in Ontario and the Shoot-Out in Edmonton) that are completing their playoff rounds today. In Ontario Kevin Martin is facing off against Brad Gushue in the men’s side – Gushue coming off a big win last weekend in Baden, Switzerland beating Norway’s Olympic Rep Thomas Ulsrud in the final. (Team Ferbey finsihed 3rd). In Edmonton Trials/Pre-Trials teams still playing are Ursel, Ferbey and Simmons.
In the women’s side of things Rachel Homan (yes that junior team!) is facing off against Eve Belisle in the women’s final in Ontario.. Ironically Team Homan, coached by Earle Morris, will face Team Belisle in the opening round of the Pre-Trials in November. In Edmonton Trials bound Team Bernard are in one semi-final while Pre-Trials bound Team King are in the other semi. Team King went through some re-tooling in the off-season adding two-time Canadian Junior Champion Skip Kaitlyn Lawes at third – and she hasn’t seemed to miss a step. Look out for this new combination – the experience Cathy King brings along with the youthful vibrance and pure talent from Lawes could be a very successful combination!
A number of teams will be taking a different approach to scheduling this season as points are taking a back seat to trying to peak at the proper time. You will see teams having a two on – two off theory and some that are going every other weekend. It is hard to theorize the perfect schedule however from listening to the teams describe the process there has been a tremendous amount of thought put into it.
One of the bigger stories in this whole process is that of the aforementioned Team Homan from Ottawa. Three of the four players are still junior – Rachel Homan (Skip), Emma Miskew (Third) and Lynn Kreviazuk (Lead) with Alison Kreviazuk being the only ‘adult’ on the team!! They have added a fifth player to fill in for the junior events this season as they are continuing their hunt for a world junior championship this season having lost the Canadian final to Kaitlyn Lawes last season. Having two major goals in place this season, the world juniors and Olympics, will make for some tricky scheduling. They have one Canada’s top coaches in Earle Morris (John is his son!) leading the way and he will provide great leadership for this young squad.
I was lucky enough to be invited out last week to practice with Team Homan in Ottawa. We spent two full days on and off the ice working on some top secret stuff……however I did get the chance to sit down and speak with Lynn Kreviazuk regarding her title as the youngest player in our Trials process. Lynn, a solid 18 years old now, states that “it is awesome to be the youngest person” and that “it is cool that she has had this opportunity to help show that juniors can compete with some of the top women’s teams”. She mentions that their age shouldn’t be a big hinderance, however they have gained some confidence over the past two years beating some of Canada’s top women’s teams – a few times.
Good luck to Team Homan in the final of the Shorty Jenkins event!! I’ll update the blog Sunday evening!