Team Joanisse will be looking to repeat the feat of Steve Skillings’ BC Mixed team, who were national champions last time the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship was in Toronto.
The team of Dean Joanisse, third Shannon Aleksic, second Tyler Orme and lead Kelsey Steiger will have to battle 13 other teams for the title at the event which starts Sunday at the Weston Golf and Country Club in Toronto.
The last time the event was held in Toronto was in 1985 at the Bayview Country Club, with Skillings prevailing.
It’s the 53rd edition of the Mixed, which began in Toronto in 1964 and has been won a leading 10 times by both Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Once again this year, the championship will feature 14 teams (10 provinces plus Northern Ontario, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon) seeded and separated into two pools of seven teams each (based on their won-lost record at last year’s Mixed in North Bay, Ont.), who will first play a round robin within their pool.
At the conclusion of the round robin, the top four teams in each pool advance to the Championship Pool, when the teams play the teams from the opposite pool, carrying forward their full win-lost records.
Meanwhile, the bottom three teams in each pool will go to the Seeding Pool, where they will compete against the three teams from the opposite pool. These teams also carry forward their full win-loss records.
At the conclusion of the Championship Pool round on Friday, two semifinals will take place Saturday morning at 10 a.m. ET, pitting 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. The two winners then advance to the final Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. while the two losing teams meet in the bronze medal game at the same time.
Final results will determine seeding for next year’s Canadian Mixed in Yarmouth, N.S.
All games throughout the competition are eight ends. Also, no tiebreaker games will be played at the conclusion of either round. Instead, any unsolvable ties for position after head-to-head results will be determined by accumulated Draw Shot results.
The winning team will then represent Canada at the 2016 World Mixed Curling Championship, Oct. 15-22 in Kazan, Russia. Last year’s winning team, skipped by Saskatchewan’s Max Kirkpatrick, lost in the quarter-finals of the inaugural World Mixed Curling Championship this past September in Berne, Switzerland.
Among this year’s competitors are a number of players with Tim Hortons Brier or Scotties Tournament of Hearts experience, including skips Joanisse, New Brunswick’s Charlie Sullivan, Northern Ontario’s Colin Koivula, Steve Moss of the Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island’s Eddie MacKenzie, Quebec’s Maxime Elmaleh (a former Brier champ playing lead for Jean-Michel Ménard in 2006), Saskatchewan’s Bruce Korte and Yukon’s Bob Smallwood.
Sullivan also won the 1987 Canadian Juniors and 1988 World Juniors while Joanisse skipped his province to victory at the 1989 Canadian Juniors.
Over the years, the Mixed has been won by such well-known curlers as Jeff Stoughton, Rick Folk, Rick Lang, Kevin Koe, Mark Nichols, Colleen Jones, Barry Fry, Paul Flemming, Jean-Michel Ménard, Robert Campbell and Shannon Kleibrink, who is the only female to win the Mixed as skip, which she did in 2004 at Schumacher, Ont.