Fresh off a win in Toronto, Reid Carruthers looks to defend a different title this weekend in Portage la Prairie, Man.
Carruthers (with Mike McEwen, Derek Samagalski, and Colin Hodgson) won the Stu Stells Toronto Tankard on Monday, but are back in Manitoba trying to win the Canad Inns Men’s Classic; an event they’ve won the past two years.
By no means, however, will the three-peat be an easy task. There are 23 other teams vying for the $56,000 purse, including most of the biggest names in men’s curling.
Canada’s 2018 Olympic team skipped by Calgary’s Kevin Koe headline the field, coming off a World Cup win in China and a quarter-final exit at the first Grand Slam of the season.
Canada’s 2014 Olympic team skipped by Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) is also there, looking for their first championship of the season after a runner-up finish at the Shorty Jenkins Classic in Brockville, and a semifinal finish at the Elite 10 Slam.
Glenn Howard (Penetanguishene, Ont.), Brendan Bottcher (Edmonton), Jason Gunnlaugson (Winnipeg) and USA’s Olympic gold-medallist John Shuster have also all made the trip to Portage, trying to cash in their first event wins.
Adding in a slew of former Canadian Junior champions (Braden Calvert, Matt Dunstone, and Tyler Tardi), and some Canadian Mixed Doubles champions (Charley Thomas, Kirk Muyres), the degree of difficulty for this event means that there will be significant points up for grabs along with the cash.
The Canadian Team Ranking System (and World Curling Tour Order of Merit) points will determine which teams qualify for future events including the Home Hardware Canada Cup of Curling, and upcoming Grand Slams.
There are also smaller events in Abbotsford, B.C., Winnipeg, and Stroud, Ont.
Most of the top women’s teams are taking the weekend off, gearing up for a busy schedule over the next month.