Cup promises to be festive

JOE PAVIA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

The 15th might be bigger than the 25th.

On Dec. 15, the winner of the John Shea Insurance Canada Cup Qualifier will be determined, but qualifying might just be enough.

This event is crucial in deciding which teams get a pass to the pre-Olympic tournament in Prince George, B.C., next November.

But with the strongest women's field ever assembled in Ottawa, qualifying is going to be difficult.

Six of the seven teams who already have berths in Prince George will be in the capital. Others, like Ottawa's Rachel Homan and Quebec City's Marie-France Larouche, are close to earning a ticket to B.C.

Larouche helped herself last Sunday by winning the Sobey's Slam in Nova Scotia. She's in fourth place in the point standings, while Homan sits ninth.

With only 38 points separating 20th place from 10th, finishing high here is a must. The Canadian Team Ranking System points available at the JSI are 18, 22, 27 and 36 from qualifying to winning (qualifying in a regular cashspiel awards only 9.6 points).

There's another carrot that also yields a cornucopia of points. The top four JSI finishers gain berths at the upcoming Canada Cup.

World champ Jennifer Jones (with Ottawa's Dawn Askin at lead), top-ranked Shannon Kleibrink and the always dangerous Kelly Scott -- 44 rinks in all -- can destroy a contender's Olympic dream.

Passes to the event, which runs from Dec. 11-15, are available at the Rideau and Ottawa clubs.

WINNING ROUNDUP

Sunday's WM Carp Classic $3,000 winner was J.P. Lachance, who curled with Frank O'Driscoll, Calvin Christiansen and Barry Conrad. The $1,800 women's winner was Jenn Hanna with Stephanie Hanna, Lee Merklinger and Lauren Mann ... Ottawa's Cathy Kerr Wheelchair bonspiel last Sunday went to B.C.'s Jim Armstrong. The win makes Armstrong Canada's representative at the world championship and Paralympics in Vancouver ... Ottawa's Howard Rajala earned $4,000 in a semi-final at the Casino de Charlevoix bonspiel Sunday, while Gatineau's J.M. Menard qualified, earning $2,500. Bob Goodson and Bud Garrod won Friday's Stick Spiel. The Ottawa foursome of Jim Stewart, John Galligan, Geoff Colley Jr. and Andre Proulx captured the Labatt Cornwall Men's Bonspiel -- Stewart's sixth.

OCA WINNERS

Regional junior men and women advancing to provincials are: 1A: Rachel Homan and Neil Sinclair; B: Katie Morrissey and Christian Tolusso. Senior men and women zone winners were: 1A: Roy Vallillee and Betty Anne Baker; B: Bob Rodney and Raja Wysocki; 2A: Layne Noble and Cheryl McBain; B: Bruce Delaney and Sharon Bergstrom; 3A: Leo Buckley and Shirley Reddick; B: Bill Vance and Gini Funnell. Gore schoolboy and girl zone 2 winners were: A: Emily Au and Brett Lyon-Hatcher, B: Katie Keighley and Chris Lewis.

MIXED MESSAGE

It was the first bonspiel in which I ever won anything -- a small, electric food processor. Sign up for the OVCA mixed bonspiel now. The event runs Jan. 15-18. Register at www.ovca.com.

CURLING THIS WEEK

TSC Stores Tankard and Scotties Tournament of Hearts Zone 1 takes place at the Navan club. The National, Capital One Grand Slam of Curling begins today. The final is at noon on Sunday (CBC). Another $1-million draw to the button qualifier will be determined during the final.


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