OTTAWA - Ontario has thrown the doors open to everyone to compete in the new mixed-doubles provincial.
The Ontario Curling Association announced last week: “If you and a friend are one of the first 32 teams to sign up, you will play in the OCA Mixed Doubles Challenge at Annandale, Jan. 18-20.”
The winning team advances to the new national mixed-doubles competition in March, which leads to the 2013 world mixed doubles championship in April.
Despite having to pay the $135 entry fee, despite having to travel to Annandale, despite having to pay for accommodation, curlers seem to be embracing the concept.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 27 teams had signed up.
Local curlers Cassandra De Groot and Gary Rowe signed up right away because they thought it would fill up quickly.
“I think it’s a fun opportunity to participate in the first year.” De Groot said. “The fact that it can lead to a national is a big drawing factor.”
Other provinces have not yet begun to sign up players, but some harbour reservations.
Curling Quebec’s Dwayne Fowler said: “The most discouraging thing for players is the fact that the CCA is not subsidizing provincial champions. Airfare and hotels are costs that the mixed doubles players will have to absorb themselves.”
Curl B.C.’s Scott Braley hopes they have 24 rinks competing in their February championship.
Jim Pringle from Alberta said: “At this point I don’t believe there have been a lot of entries. I am thinking that most entries (if there are a lot) will be last minute.”
Curl Manitoba’s Shane Ray said: “We have heard from some of the non-elite, but I wouldn’t say they are beating down the doors to get involved.”
The Tim Hortons masters men zone winners were: Zone 1A: Bob Rodney; B: Neil MacLean; 2A: Layne Noble; B: Brian Savill; 3A: Rob Warren; B: Reg Plaster; 4A: Mike Schneider; B: Ivan Suddergaard. With no women masters zones, those advancing to the regions are: Joanne McIntosh, Raja Wysocki, Joyce Potter, Gini Funell and Lois Graham. Pepsi junior women and men zone winners were: Zone 1A: Matt Allan, Erica Cull; B: Matt Jackson, Casandra Raganold; 2A: Colton Daly, Jamie Sinclair; B: Ben Miskew, Melissa Wong; 3A: Chris Lewis, Lauren Horton; B: Pascal Michaud, Marie-Elaine Little; 4A: Doug Kee, Katherine Nicholas; B: Peter Stranberg, Hannah Faris.
The Capital One Canada Cup begins Wednesday, with two Canadian Curling Trials berths up for grabs. Seven men’s teams and seven women’s rinks play a round-robin, with the first-place finishers advancing to the finals. The next two ranking teams play a sudden-death semi to advance. Kevin Martin, Glenn Howard, Jennifer Jones and Heather Nedohin have already earned Trials spots. Should any of them win, the Trials spot runner-ups do not get the Trials berths. Expect Kevin Koe and Chelsea Carey to emerge as the winners. TSN will cover all the draws.
Ontario took the Mixed Nationals and Dominion Curling Club championships on Saturday. The mixed team was Cory Heggestad, Heather Graham, Greg Balsdon and Amy Mackay from Orillia. The women’s side of the Dominion went to the Quinte Curling Club team of Caroline Deans, Sheri-Lynn Collyer, Kendra Lafleur and Lynne Stapley.
The world’s largest wheelchair bonspiel begins Thursday. The eighth annual Cathy Kerr Memorial Bonspiel features 16 competitive teams (from Scotland, the U.S. and many provinces) as well as four recreational squads. The finals take place Sunday afternoon at 2 ... The 2014 Continental Cup will be held in Las Vegas.