Trials underway Saturday!
2021 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials begin Saturday in Saskatoon
Dreams of Olympic gold will be on the line for Canada’s best men’s and women’s teams when the 2021 Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials, presented by AGI, get underway Saturday at SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.
The nine-day competition, which concludes with the women’s and men’s finals on Sunday, Nov. 28, will decide the Canadian four-player teams for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The field competing in Saskatoon — nine men’s and nine women’s teams — will be a who’s-who of Canadian curling, including numerous past Olympic gold-medallists and world champions.
On the women’s side, Team Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg, which won gold in 2014 at Sochi, Russia, also features 2018 mixed doubles gold-medallist Kaitlyn Lawes at vice-skip.
Meanwhile, former world champion Rachel Homan and her Ottawa team, which represented Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, will be looking for another chance to wear the Maple Leaf at the Winter Games.
Meanwhile, two-time reigning Scotties Tournament of Hearts champions Team Kerri Einarson (Gimli, Man.) will be looking to reach the pinnacle of Canadian curling with an Olympic berth.
Also in the field is two-time World Junior Women’s champ Kelsey Rocque, who will be skipping an Edmonton team in her Trials debut.
Rounding out the women’s field will be Team Tracy Fleury (East St. Paul, Man.); Team Jacqueline Harrison (Dundas, Ont.); Team Krista McCarville (Thunder Bay, Ont.); Team Casey Scheidegger (Lethbridge, Alta.); and Team Laura Walker (Edmonton).
On the men’s side, Calgary’s Kevin Koe will be looking for back-to-back trips to the Winter Olympics, and his team will have two new faces from the one that won in Ottawa four years ago — two-time Olympic gold-medallist (2010 in four-player with Kevin Martin; 2018 in mixed doubles with Lawes) John Morris at second/vice-skip and third B.J. Neufeld. Ben Hebert, a 2010 Olympic gold-medallist with Team Martin, rounds out the team at lead.
In fact, there are four teams competing in Saskatoon featuring past Olympic gold-medallists.
Members of Team Brad Jacobs (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) all have won gold — Jacobs, second E.J. Harnden and lead Ryan Harnden won in 2014 at Sochi, while vice-skip Marc Kennedy was a member of Team Martin in 2010.
Team Brad Gushue (St. John’s) has Gushue and vice-skip Mark Nichols, who claimed gold in 2006 at Torino, Italy.
And Team John Epping (Toronto) features vice-skip Ryan Fry, who was a member of the Jacobs team in 2014 at Sochi.
Meanwhile, Team Brendan Bottcher (Edmonton) will arrive in Saskatoon as the reigning Tim Hortons Brier champions, having played in the last four Canadian men’s championship title games.
Also in the men’s field at Team Matt Dunstone (Regina); Team Jason Gunnlaugson (Morris, Man.); Team Tanner Horgan (Kingston, Ont.); and Team Mike McEwen (West St. Paul, Man.
The teams will play a round-robin draw beginning Saturday at 2 p.m. (all times Central) and running through to Friday, Nov. 26. The top three teams will make the playoffs, with the first-place teams advancing directly to the Sunday, Nov. 28, championship games (women at 11 a.m., men at 7 p.m.).
The second- and third-place teams will meet in the semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 27, with the women playing at 2 p.m. and the men at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available online at www.curling.ca/2021trials/tickets; by phone by calling (306) 938-7800 or 1-800-970-SEAT (7328); or in person at the SaskTel Centre Box Office.
All seats at the SaskTel Centre are available for the Trials, but as per Curling Canada’s recently announced policy, all fans in attendance must provide proof of double vaccination to enter the building.
Leading up to, and during, the Trials, Curling Canada will be in regular contact with local, regional and national health authorities to ensure the safest possible environment for athletes and fans at the SaskTel Centre.
It will be the seventh edition of the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials since curling was brought back as an official medal sport for the 1998 Winter Games at Nagano, Japan, and the second time the event has been played in Saskatchewan. Previous editions were staged in 1997 at Brandon, Man., 2001 at Regina, 2005 at Halifax, 2009 at Edmonton, 2013 in Winnipeg and 2017 in Ottawa.
TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, will provide complete coverage of the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials. As well, streaming coverage will be available on ESPN3 to fans in the U.S. with valid U.S. cable or satellite accounts.
To download a copy of the event media guide, CLICK HERE.
For ticket information, team lineups and the schedule, go to the event website: www.curling.ca/2021trials.