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GSOC Meridian Canadian Open kicks off in North Battleford, Sask.

After a few quiet weeks over the holidays, curling fans everywhere have been itching to see their favourite game on TV again. They’re in luck, as this week’s Meridian Canadian Open gets underway in North Battleford, Sask.

Glenn Howard knocked off two-time reigning Canadian champion Brad Gushue in an extra end during the first game at the Meridian Canadian Open. (Photo, Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

The fifth Grand Slam of Curling event got underway Tuesday night, and will continue through the weekend. Television broadcasts begin Thursday at 12:30pm EST on Sportsnet.

Early winners on the men’s side included Kevin Koe (Calgary), John Epping (Toronto), Brendan Bottcher (Edmonton) and Glenn Howard (Penetanguishene, Ont.). Howard knocked off two-time reigning Canadian champion Brad Gushue (St. John’s, N.L.) in an extra end during the first game of the triple-knockout event.

On the women’s side, Casey Scheidegger (Lethbridge, Alta.) and Darcy Robertson (Winnipeg) were first-round winners, although as of Wednesday morning, many of the top teams hadn’t played yet.

Ottawa’s Rachel Homan will face Edmonton’s Laura Walker in her first game, while Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones will face Sweden’s Isabella Wranå. Another intriguing first-round match-up is Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg and Scotland’s Eve Muirhead.

Like the men’s event, the women’s side is a triple-knockout bracket. It essentially boils down to winning three games before losing three games to advance to the playoffs in the sixteen-team event.

On both sides, the purse is $125,000 with the winner of the event pocketing $30,000 and valuable CTRS points.

After Sunday’s final, fans won’t have to wait long for more televised action as the World Financial Group Continental Cup of Curling gets underway in Las Vegas on Thursday. Eleven more draws will air on TSN.

Elsewhere…

Sarah Anderson and Korey Dropkin of the U.S. beat Jocelyn Peterman (Winnipeg) and Brett Gallant (St. John’s, N.L.) in the final of the Qualico Mixed Doubles Classic in Banff, Alta. Their win was worth $10,000, while the runners-up took home $5,000.

For all scores and results, please visit CurlingZone.com.

About Brian Chick

Brian Chick is a life-long curler and coach, and a frequent contributor to the Curling Canada's multimedia and development projects.