Top teams looking for Thanksgiving weekend cash at Tour events

It seemed like the curling season was getting off to a slow start. There was the Everest Challenge mixed event in August, there was a Grand Slam of Curling event nearly a month ago, but then teams were picking and choosing which events to play, catering their schedule to the grind that comes with the completion of the Olympic cycle.

Kevin Koe and his Calgary team are playing this weekend at a World Curling Tour event in Edmonton. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

But if you thought that the 2017-2018 campaign stumbled out of the gate, hold on… it’s about to hit the gas.

This weekend there are major curling events going on across the country, and unlike other weeks thus far, almost every top team is involved.

In Edmonton, the Direct Horizontal Drilling Fall Classic is underway with 24 teams battling for a share of $50,000. That field includes Calgary’s Kevin Koe, Winnipeg’s Reid Carruthers, Saskatoon’s Steve Laycock and Vernon, B.C.’s John Morris, just to name a few. There’s a strong international presence as well, featuring China’s Rui Liu, Japan’s Yusuke Morozumi, and South Korea’s Soo Hyuk Kim. Laycock won the event last year, but Koe won the two prior to that.

Sticking in Alberta, most of the country’s top competitive women’s teams are taking part in the Curler’s Corner Autumn Gold Curling Classic. The 32-team field features the top six teams on the Canadian Team Ranking System leaderboard. Ottawa’s Rachel Homan, Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones, Caledon, Ont.’s Ali Flaxey, Edmonton’s Val Sweeting, Lethbridge, Alta.’s Casey Scheidegger (the defending champion) and Winnipeg’s Michelle Englot, are all looking for a share of the Autumn Gold’s $50,000 purse.

U.S. Olympic hopefuls Nina Roth and Jamie Sinclair are in the mix, as are other international entries from Germany (Daniela Jentsch) and South Korea (Un Chi Gim).

In Toronto, the second edition of the StuSells Tankard is underway at the High Park Club (the first StuSells event took place in Oakville, Ont. in September). With 20 teams in the field, eight will qualify for a share of $42,000. World Curling Tour No. 1, and reigning World Champion Brad Gushue headlines a field that also includes John Epping (Toronto), Glenn Howard (Etobicoke, Ont.), and three Home Hardware Road to the Roar Pre-Trials qualifiers Greg Balsdon (Kingston, Ont.), Mark Bice (Sarnia, Ont.) and Dayna Deruelle (Kingston, Ont.).

This event also features some international flavour with Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud and South Korea’s Olympic team skipped by Chang-Min Kim.

On the women’s side, Sherry Middaugh (Coldwater, Ont.) will look to defend last year’s title against an 18-team field that includes Jacqueline Harrison (Mississauga, Ont.), Krista McCarville (Thunder Bay, Ont.), and Julie Tippin (Toronto). All four are competing at the Home Hardware Road to the Roar Pre-Trials, Nov. 6-12 in Summerside, P.E.I.

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