Kelowna Pan Continentals!
Kelowna Curling Club ready to host 2023 Pan Continental Curling Championships starting Sunday
Canada’s men’s and women’s curling teams are targeting the top of the podium as the second edition of the Pan Continental Curling Championships gets underway in Kelowna, B.C., this Sunday.
The 2023 Pan Continental Curling Championships, from Oct. 29-Nov. 4 at the Kelowna Curling Club, will determine which countries from the Americas, Asia and Pacific regions will compete at the 2024 BKT Tires World Women’s Curling Championship (March 16-25 at Sydney, N.S.) and 2024 LGT World Men’s Curling Championship (March 30-April 7 at Schaffhausen, Switzerland). Five berths are available in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
The reigning Scotties and Brier champions, Team Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., and Team Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., will once again wear the Maple Leaf at the event after representing Canada at the inaugural edition last year.
As the host nation of the 2024 BKT Tires World Women’s Curling Championship, Canada’s spot at the event is guaranteed. While the remaining teams will compete for the final four spots available, Canada’s Team Einarson must still execute a gold-standard performance to avoid relegation to the B-event next season and eliminate Canada’s chances of qualifying for worlds next year.
Gold will be the colour skip Einarson, vice-skip Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard, lead Briane Harris alternate Dawn McEwen are aiming for. The unit is receiving support in Kelowna from national coaches Viktor Kjell and Renée Sonnenberg, who are filling in for regular coach Reid Carruthers due to a schedule conflict.
Team Einarson – which earned bronze at last season’s Pan Continentals, followed by a third-place finish at the 2023 World Women’s Curling Championship – starts the event with a two-game day on Sunday.
First, it takes on Team Cynthia Lu of Chinese Taipei in a morning game at 8:30 a.m. (all times PT). After winning last year’s B-championship in Calgary, the Chinese Taipei team earned its right to compete in the A-event.
Canada follows with an evening game at 7:30 p.m. against the reigning Pan Continental women’s champions, Japan’s Team Satsuki Fujisawa, which bested Team Einarson last year in the semifinals before earning gold.
Here’s the Canadian women’s team’s full schedule:
8:30 a.m. – vs. Chinese Taipei (Team Cynthia Lu)
7:30 p.m. – vs. Japan (Team Satsuki Fujisawa)
2 p.m. – vs. Australia (Team Jennifer Westhagen)
9 a.m. – vs. New Zealand (Team Jessica Smith)
7 p.m. – vs. United States (Team Tabitha Peterson)
2 p.m. – vs. South Korea (Team Eunji Gim)
9 a.m. – vs. Mexico (Team Adriana Camarena)
7 p.m. – Women’s semifinals*
2 p.m. – Women’s bronze-medal game*
10 a.m. – Women’s gold-medal game*
Canada’s Team Brad Gushue will defend its title after winning last season’s inaugural event.
Skip Gushue, vice-skip Mark Nichols, second E.J. Harnden and lead Geoff Walker defeated South Korea to earn the gold medal last year, and as luck would have it, that’s the nation the Canadians will face during their opening game on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The South Korean team has a new lineup this season, led by skip Jong-Duk Park.
The Canadian men’s lineup also features Jim Cotter as alternate, Caleb Flaxey as coach and Jeff Stoughton as national coach.
Team Gushue must finish in the top five to ensure Canada’s participation at this season’s world men’s championship.
Here’s the Canadian men’s team’s full schedule:
1:30 p.m. – vs. South Korea (Team Jong-Duk Park)
9 a.m. – vs. New Zealand (Team Anton Hood)
7 p.m. – vs. United States (Team Korey Dropkin)
2 p.m. – vs. Japan (Team Riku Yanagisawa)
9 a.m. – vs. Chinese Taipei (Team Randy Shen)
7 p.m. – vs. Australia (Team Jay Merchant)
2 p.m. – vs. Guyana (Team Rayad Husain)
9 a.m. – Men’s semifinals*
7 p.m. – Men’s bronze-medal game*
3 p.m. – Men’s Gold-medal game
The eight teams in men’s and women’s competition play a seven-game round-robin schedule. The top four teams advance to the semifinals. The winners of those games advance to the gold-medal games and the losers compete in the bronze-medal games.
Click here to see the full schedule.
Tickets are available for curling fans to take in the action. For more information, visit the host committee’s website.
TSN, Curling Canada’s longtime Season of Champions broadcast partner, will broadcast two games daily during the round robin, followed by complete playoff coverage. Click here for the full broadcast schedule.
All other games will be available via the World Curling Federation’s streaming platform, Recast. Visit the World Curling Federation’s website for more details.
The Pan Continental B Division Championships will also occur at the Kelowna Curling Club and run concurrently with the main draw. The winners will earn spots in the main draw next season, while the teams that finish last in the A event will be relegated to the B Division.
The men’s event features Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. The women’s event has teams from Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya and the Philippines.
There are plenty of notable Canadian coaches guiding teams in both the A and B Divisions, including Bob Ursel (Japan men), Mike Harris (South Korea men), Barry Westman (Australia women), J.D. Lind (Japan women), Guy Hemmings (South Korea women), Cathy Overton-Clapham (United States women) and Darren Moulding (India men).