World champs taking a pass

CON GRIWKOWSKY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

Even though most of Canada's top curling teams will be at this weekend's $65,200 Canada Cup qualifier, the world's best team has given the event a pass.

"Glenn Howard is the only big guy who won't be here," said Rob Steward, events manager at the Saville Centre.

Howard's team won the world championship title at Rexall Place in 2007.

Olympic gold medallist Brad Gushue is expected to be here, along with Wayne Middaugh, who beat Gushue in last weekend's Grand Slam event.

This weekend's event will determine the final seven men's teams for the Canada Cup at Yorkton in March.

Howard, along with Edmonton's Kevin Martin and Kevin Koe have already earned spots in the Canada Cup lineup.

The four semifinalists this weekend will have a chance to head off to Yorkton with the remaining spots going to the top three Canadian Teams Ranking Systems squads not already qualified.

Edmonton-based teams currently hold five of the top nine spots (Martin, Randy Ferbey, Chris Schille, Ted Appelman and Koe) on the World Curling Tour money list, but that has not translated into a high ranking on the CRTS list.

That means the best chance for up-and-coming teams like Edmonton's Ted Appelman and Chris Schille, No. 14 and 15 respectively on this year's CTRS list, is to nail down a spot in the final four.

Appelman won the first North American event on this year's World Curling Tour calendar at the Saville Shootout in September, the first of three Alberta Tour spiels he won.

Schille won the Skookum Spiel in Whitehorse, Yukon three weeks ago and lost three qualifiers at the Saville Shootout in the team's first event.

Schille knows it's possible to grab a points spot this weekend.

He did it twice with Gushue in this event.

"If we ended up making a quarter-final and some other teams now ahead of us didn't qualify, it could come down to points," said Schille.

"The difference from 15th to seventh is 14 points, You can jump up the ladder so fast because there's so many points available here."


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