In these trials every team is its own judge, jury and executioner.
The Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials, beginning Sunday in Edmonton, features eight men’s and eight women’s rinks. Each player must play her/his best every game in a field so strong that picking the two rinks who will go to the Olympics is a crapshoot.
The round-robin format is familiar, but this time this first-place team gets a bye to the finals. Teams No. 2 and No. 3 square off in a sudden death semi-final.
Leads will play a crucial role in Edmonton and two of the best are from Ottawa — Dawn Askin from Team Jennifer Jones and Craig Savill from Team Glenn Howard.
“It’s going to be the toughest competition we’ve ever played in,” Askin says.
“Just looking at the teams, anyone can win,” Savill says.
“Everyone beats everybody. Strange things happen at the Trials.”
What do they think is the key to success?
“We all go out there and just play the way we can, we’ll have a good shot,” Askin says.
“Teams are better prepared this time,” Savill says. “They realize what the week is like and how to overcome it.” He continued “A big difference is the Slams. It’s arena ice, playing against all the big teams. All the teams that are in it are Slam teams so it evens out the field. It’s going to be tough to win every game. Getting off to a good start is important.”
A big factor in determining the eventual winners might be how tough rinks hang in when they are out of the running and playing for pride.
Tossing the cards in the air might be the best way to predict a winner.
My choices for the last three standing are Jones, Crystal Webster and Kelly Scott from the women’s side and Kevin Martin, Howard and Kevin Koe from the men’s.
Krista McCarville and Jason Gunnlaugson are the respective dark horses.
The draws will be aired on TSN at 10:30 a.m., 3 and 8 p.m..Three evening draws will be on TSN2.
The women’s final airs Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. while the men’s championship is Dec. 13 at 3 p.m.
Curl-TV has one pay-per-view non-televised game per draw.
Region 1 junior men’s and women’s winners: A, Rachel Homan and Kurtis Byrd; B, Jamie Sinclair and Mat Camm. Junior provincials are in January. Scotties winners: Zone 3A, Jenifer Harvey; 3B, Nancy Wickham; 4A, Laura Payne; 4B, Jaimee Gardner. Senior zone men’s and women’s winners: 1A, Joanne McIntosh and Wally Morris; 1B, Raja Wysocki and Bill Dickie; 2A: Cheryl McBain and Bryan Cochrane; 2B, Sandra Chisholm and Layne Noble; 3A, Susan Schmidt and Kerry Powell; 3B, Laurel McKay and Frank Kinahan; 4A, Pauline Bakonyi and Bob Ray; 4B, Dianne Wylie and Rick Ward. Senior regions are this weekend.
Ontario swept the inaugural Dominion Curling Club Championships. Kelly Cochrane (Jenn Hanna’s vice) skipped her Toronto rink to the national title over Manitoba, while Chatham’s Bob Stafford downed B.C. … The top team at the Granite Club’s Ken Murchison Senior Men’s Bonspiel was Buckingham’s Raymond Belanger, who beat John Leafloor.