CIS/CCA championships kick off Wednesday in Kamloops

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The CIS/CCA University Curling Championships get underway Wednesday at the Kamloops Curling Club. Eight men’s and eight women’s teams will participate in a round robin, with the first place teams advancing to their respective finals on Sunday at 2 p.m. PDT. The second- and third-place teams meet in semifinals on Saturday evening to determine the other finalists. This marks the sixth year of partnership between CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) and the CCA (Canadian Curling Association) to officially sanction and help stage the Canadian University Curling Championships, which began in 2008 in Guelph, Ont., and have since been held in Montreal, Edmonton, St. John’s and Welland, Ont.

The University of Alberta is hoping for a second straight CIS-CCA men’s curling national championship (Photo, CCA)

Five different Universities have won the men’s championship (Wilfrid Laurier, Regina, Queen’s, Memorial and Alberta) while Wilfrid Laurier has taken four of five women’s crowns, with the University of Regina winning the other. This year’s lineup on the men’s side includes Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher, not only the defending CIS/CCA champion, but also the 2012 M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors (in Napanee, Ont.) and World Juniors  (in Östersund, Sweden) gold-medallist. Bottcher, representing the University of Alberta Golden Bears of Edmonton, returns with third Mick Lizmore and second Brad Thiessen. Lead Parker Konschuh was his alternate at the CIS/CCA Championships in Welland last year when Bottcher defeated the Waterloo Warriors, skipped by Jake Walker, 7-1 in the final. The team alternate this year is Evan Asmussen, who was Bottcher’s third when winning the Canadian and world junior titles. For winning this event last year, Bottcher will represent Canada at the 2013 FISU World Universiade in Trentino, Italy, in December. Walker, who skipped Ontario to victory at the 2010 M&M Meat Shops in Sorel-Tracy, Que., before earning a bronze medal at the World Juniors in Flims, Switzerland, is also making a return appearance as skip of the Waterloo Warriors. Host Thompson Rivers University will be represented by skip Darren Nelson of the Thompson Rivers WolfPack. The women’s field includes a number of former provincial junior champions, such as Manitoba’s Breanne Meakin, Prince Edward Island’s Veronica Smith and Nova Scotia’s Sara Spafford. Meakin, who played lead for Kaitlyn Lawes when winning the 2009 Canadian Juniors in Salmon Arm, B.C., then a silver medal at the World Juniors in Vancouver, also skipped Manitoba at the 2010 and 2011 Canadian Juniors. Her University of Manitoba Bisons team includes provincial junior champions Ashley Howard at third, Selena Kaatz at second and Krysten Karwacki at lead. The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack team will be skipped by Kamloops native Tiffany Krausher. “It’s a chance to see many of the future stars on ice,” said host committee chair Linda Bolton. “It should be an exciting week of curling. And we’re pleased to welcome, as our Opening Banquet guest speaker, Kaitlyn Lawes, a two-time Canadian junior champion and three-time Scotties participant from the Jennifer Jones team. Kaitlyn is being sponsored by the Sandra Schmirler Foundation and will be sharing her thoughts on ‘What makes a champion’.” Tickets are $20 for full-event passes or $5 per draw. Draw results will be available at while event information can be found at