Elite curling rinks competing for important points at Grand Slam
BY JOE PAVIA
Brad Gushue. (Postmedia Network file)
There’s a lot of cash to be made this weekend but that’s not the point. Points are.
The Boost National Grand Slam that started Tuesday boasts 15 men’s and women’s teams split into three pools of five teams for round robin play. Eight teams qualify for the playoffs to determine the two winners.
But its Canadian Team Ranking System points they want. The $250,000 cash prize purse is nice, but there are still spots left in the nine-team (per gender) field destined to entertain crowds at the Canadian Tire Centre. Alison Flaxey is best positioned to earn a berth at the end of the season but she has to continue to play well. Brad Gushue is also in a tremendous position to grab a spot. He is making his return to the wars at this event if all goes well. Gushue spare for most of the season, Charlie Thomas will be piloting his own team, which includes Ottawa’s Craig Savill.
Cathy Overton-Clapham is subbing as a super spare for Switzerland’s Team Tirinzoni owing to an injury to her regular third. Two sponsor exemption rinks are competing. With the tournament taking place in Sault Ste. Marie, two northern teams have been included — Thunder Bay’s Krista McCarville and 18-year-old Tanner Horgan from Sudbury. His sister Tracy is very much in the hunt for a trip to South Korea.
Sportsnet and CBC are sharing the TV coverage. The men’s final is at noon on Sunday on CBC. The women play their final on Sportsnet at 4 p.m. later that day.
Jean-Michel Menard took first place in the WFG Jim Sullivan Curling Classic in Saint John. Menard drew attention to mental health issues as the spiel was dedicated to the popular curler who took his own life a few years ago. And Menard’s brother and lead won the fully stocked beer fridge. Ottawa’s Don Bowser helped power his Kingston-based rink, skipped by Greg Balsdon, to the championship of the new Secker Ross & Perry inaugural Cashspiel on the weekend.
In area Masters qualifying for provincials those that advance are Jennifer Langley, Diana Favel, Ed Warren, Randy Garland and Bruce Delaney. In Mixed Doubles, those moving on to provincials were Ryan and his mom Christine McCrady who captured the A-side, while Lauren Horton and Cameron Goodkey took the B. The Best Western and Fairfield Marriott Challenges saw these people advance: Luc Brazeau, Bill Woods, Ryan Shillington, James Cave, David Cormier, Leo Buckley, Rooke Meiklejohn and Jake Attfield.
CURLING AND THE SENS
Despite being displaced from their arena next December by the Tim Hortons Roar of the Ring, the Senators have allied with curling to give the sport a prominence on Feb.19 when the Sens take on the Winnipeg Jets. Curlers can get specially priced $20 seats when using the promo code “SWEEP.” All curlers will be seated together and there will be a curling meet-up at the Molson Fan Deck during the first intermission. Non-curlers can also try Street Curling. Go to ottawasenators.com/SWEEP.
HOMAN GIVES BACK
The Ottawa Youth Curling League just announced the recipients of Team Homan/ Pacific Exploration and Production grants of $300 each to 10 youths who attended curling camps: Emma Artichuk, Emilie Lovitt, Jessica Thorne, Meesa Lydiate, Jack Ragan, Jessica Guilbault, Kieran Bisson, Cloe Bourguignon, Ben Whitehouse and Lucas Bourguignon.
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