The 2015 Home Hardware Canada Cup, presented by Meridian Manufacturing, will bring together the 15 best men’s and women’s teams in the country when it kicks off Curling Canada’s Season of Champions, Dec, 2-6 at Grande Prairie, Alta.
And they’ll have plenty to play for at Revolution Place, as both the men’s and women’s champions will be the first qualifiers for the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Canadian Curling Trials — the event that will decide Canada’s four-player curling teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
That’s in addition to prize money of $14,000 to the winners, plus $2,000 for each round-robin win, as well as berths into the 2016 World Financial Group Continental Cup, Jan. 14-17 in Las Vegas.
Both 2014 Olympic champions — Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones and Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. — will be in the field, as will the reigning champions of the Tim Hortons Brier (Calgary’s Pat Simmons), Scotties Tournament of Hearts (Jones) and the defending Home Hardware Canada Cup champions (Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen, Edmonton’s Val Sweeting).
The women’s field is rounded out by two-time Scotties champion and 2014 world silver-medallist Rachel Homan of Ottawa; two-time reigning world junior champion Kelsey Rocque of Edmonton; 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings runner-up Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ont.; reigning Northern Ontario champion Tracy Fleury of Sudbury, Ont.; and 2014 Scotties bronze-medallist Kristy McDonald of Winnipeg.
The men’s side, meanwhile, will offer up the likes of 2006 Olympic champ and current Canadian Team Ranking System men’s leader Brad Gushue of St. John’s; two-time Tim Hortons Brier and 2010 world champ (and former Grande Prairie resident) Kevin Koe of Calgary; 2015 Tim Hortons Brier bronze-medallist Steve Laycock of Saskatoon; 2015 Manitoba champ Reid Carruthers of Winnipeg; and John Epping of Toronto.
There are eight teams in the men’s field because Carruthers and Epping finished in a virtual tie in the 2014-15 CTRS standings for the seventh and final men’s berth.
The teams qualified for the Home Hardware Canada Cup by either winning last season’s Tim Hortons Brier/Scotties Tournament of Hearts, or by their standing on the 2014-15 Canadian Team Ranking System.
They will play a round robin at Revolution Place, beginning on Wednesday, Dec. 2, with the top three qualifying for the playoffs. The first-place teams advance directly to their respective finals on Sunday, while the second- and third-place teams meet in semifinals to determine the other finalists. All draws will be televised on TSN or TSN2, along with RDS2 in French. The women’s final goes at 11 a.m. MST/1 p.m. EST, while the men’s final will be played at 5 p.m. MST/7 p.m. EST on Dec. 6.