Joe Pavia, Ottawa Sun Curling Columnist

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ill this be Glenn Howard’s ninth?Howard lead Craig Savill of Manotick says the team is pumped for the Tankard next week in Smiths Falls.”Our showing at the (Olympic) Trials was a real disappointment so we can’t wait to right the ship, starting at the Ontario provincials,” said.

Howard’s three losses and second place finish at last year’s Tankard means he can be beaten, but by who?

Of the two Ottawa entries, Bryan Cochrane from City View has beaten Howard before. This is Cochrane’s 16th Tankard. He is also playing with two young sharp shooters in the Camm brothers (Mat and Jason) while his second, Brad Kidd, has a raft of provincial appearances.

The Mark Homan team from the Ottawa is nothing but determined. Homan, the older brother of Team Canada’s Rachel Homan, has been putting his rink through daily practices. He has a provincial junior banner — with John Morris — and second Paul Winford has competed in a previous Tankard.

Many of the other teams are populated by young players who have multiple men’s provincial appearances. Mark Bice, John Epping, Rob Rumfeldt and Jake Higgs know what to do to win. Rob Lobel has finished as high as fourth in this event having played in it twice. Rookie Tankard skips Jake Walker, Craig Van Ymeren and Shannon Beddows will have a lot to get used to quickly. The first two are used to arena ice. Walker skipped his junior rink to win the national championship in 2010. Van Ymeren was his vice. Cannington’s Beddows actually went into the playdowns for the Travelers Tankard because there weren’t enough teams in zone 5.

Who’ll still be standing the last weekend? My prediction is Howard, Rumfeldt, Cochrane and Higgs.

The Travelers Tankard is taking place at the Smiths Falls Memorial Community Centre from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2. Daily draws are at 2 p.m. and 7 with three draws on Wednesday.

Team Jennifer Jones will be in attendance one of the days to practice. On Feb. 1, the Special Olympics provincial finals will take place with the Ottawa team, skipped by Conall MacMillan, taking part. Ticket packages are available as are single draw tickets. If you purchase single draw tickets at the arena it is cash only.

Rogers is showing all the games on its digital channels 368 and 369. Sportsnet is expected to carry the semi-final and finals.

In Val-d’Or, Que., Gatineau’s Jean-Michel Menard is going to his seventh Brier after winning the provincial final on his 38th birthday Sunday. In the same location, Ottawa’s Melissa Gannon played third for Allison Ross’s Montreal squad to advance to the Scotties in Montreal. Ross represented Quebec last year as well.

The Ottawa area has another provincial champion. Brian Lewis, Chris Lewis, David Staples and Kyle Thompson captured the OCA’s Fairfield Marriott Challenge.

OVCA MIXED SPIEL

The Main Event was won by the junior team from Quinte of Mac Calwell, Erin Butler, Morgan Calwell and Jordan Mark. They defeated last year’s champion team skipped by Spencer Cooper. The senior event was captured by Dave Stanley while Michel Barsalou took the Colts division. Other Main event winners were A. Bugg, Chris Gardner and V. Sheppard. Senior event winners were Norm Clement and Richard Faguy.

WINNER’S CIRCLE

The Carleton Place Leather Works spiel was won by Lee Mantha, John Phillips, Ted Phillips, Stephanie Phillips and Melanie Conti.

END NOTES

The finals of the M&M Meat Shops Canadian Juniors will be seen on TSN at 3 pm. The women’s final is Saturday while the men play Sunday. Curling will be featured on the Weather Network’s national morning show Thursday.

joe@hoglinecurling.com

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joe@hoglinecurling.com

While Joe knows many renowned curlers, he’s most at home serving club curlers, rookies, children, youth and senior curlers who might not want to shop but just want to chat about the game we all love.

Joe has been involved with the curling world for decades as a player, organizer and curling commentator. He’s the weekly curling columnist for the Ottawa Sun where his Wednesday column is eagerly anticipated and is indeed available across the country.