Lac Leamy features Brier experience

JOE PAVIA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

They could almost call it the Tournament of Champions.

The 28 rinks slated to play in this weekend's Challenge Casino Lac Leamy bring with them plenty of Brier experience. Of the 112 players, 41 have represented their provinces at the national championship for a total of 138 Brier appearances.

Among the headliners is the new-look Brad Gushue rink from Newfoundland, which has added six-time Brier champion Randy Ferbey at vice, with Mark Nichols and Ryan Frey supplying the sweeping might.

Gushue is among five skips playing in Gatineau who competed at this year's Brier in Halifax. The others are Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie; James Gratton of New Brunswick; Serge Reid of Quebec; and Nova Scotia's Ian Fitzner-Leblanc. Jacobs' Northern Ontario rink, which finished third in Halifax, will be playing an Ottawa team in its first draw Thursday at 7 p.m. -- either Bryan Cochrane or Shane Latimer.

The 2006 Brier champion, Jean-Michel Menard of Gatineau, is also in the field. Shawn Adams of Bridgewater, N.S., who lost to Ferbey in the 2005 national final, will be there as well. Then there's Gatineau's Pierre Charette, who has made 10 appearances at the Brier.

Another rink has national exposure. Kingston's Jonathan Beuk is the current Canadian university champion.

In its second year, the Challenge Casino du Lac-Leamy has a purse of more than $46,000. The elite event, won last year by Menard, offers $37,500 in prize money. It's being played in the Cholette arena at 156 Cite des Jeunes Blvd. in Hull. The open event is mostly scheduled for the Buckingham Curling Club. Some games, including the final, will take place at the Cholette arena.

The elite event winner earns more than just cash -- the team also gets an entry into the 2010 Canada Cup in Medicine Hat, Alta., in December, where $125,000 in prize money will be up for grabs.

Event passes are $20 and available at the arena. Thursday and Friday passes are $7 a day, while weekend passes are $10 per day. The finals are Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

WINNERS' CIRCLE

Lead Lynn Kreviazuk of Ottawa and her southern Ontario-based team won last weekend's junior cashspiel in Brampton. The skips advancing to the JSI OVCA Junior Superspiel after qualifying Sunday are Ryan McCrady, Andrew Minty, Kara Ruiter, Stephanie Brown, Trevor Ferrier and Nicole McNiven.

SEEKING A SILVER LINING

Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard has not been able to capitalize financially on her achievement in Vancouver. Bernard's rink, which has no title sponsor, has launched a billboard campaign in Calgary featuring a photo of the team with the tagline "SPONSORS WANTED...Hurry Hard!"

BITERS

Gatineau's France Charette is playing for former world champion Marilyn Bodogh's senior women's team out of St. Catharines ... Ottawa's Rachel Homan came close to qualifying for the Canada Cup last Monday, but lost the final of the Southwestern Ontario Women's Charity Cashspiel to Newfoundland's Shelley Nichols.

JOE@HOGLINECURLING.COM


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