Congratulations to Team Morris and Team Thompson, who have received invitations to the Road to the Roar Pre-Trials set for Summerside, P.E.I, in November.
The Road to the Roar Pre-Trials will determine the final two direct-entry berths (in each gender) into the 2017 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings — the event that will decide Canada’s four-player men’s and women’s team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Team Morris features Alberta’s John Morris and BC’s Jim Cotter (Vernon), Tyrel Griffith (Kelowna) and Rick Sawatsky (Kelowna). Team Thompson features Karla Thompson (Kamloops), Kristen Recksiedler (Coquitlam), Shannon Aleksic (Abbotsford) and Trysta Vandale (Port Moody). The teams gained enough qualifying points on the Canadian Team Ranking System (CTRS) to nail down one of the 12 invitations (in each gender) to the Pre-Trials. However, there is a caveat attached to Team Thompson’s invitation.
Curling Canada rules stipulate that, for the final spot, if one team’s points are within 1% of another team’s, a tiebreaker must take place in order to determine the winner. So although Team Thompson had more points than Team Meilleur, they finished in a “virtual tie” for the 12th and final invitation. Should no teams above them decline their invitations, the teams will play a tiebreaker for the berth; date and location TBC. Read more about the “virtual tie” rule here under point 5.
The teams qualified through their results on the CTRS — individual-season results for the 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17 season, as well as a two-year total for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
It’s notable that Team Morris qualified from the 2013 Road to the Roar Pre-Trials in Kitchener, Ont. and then made it all the way to the final of the 2013 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings in Winnipeg. Brad Jacobs, of course, would go on to win the spot and an Olympic gold a few weeks later in Sochi, Russia.
Invitations to take part in the Pre-Trials were issued earlier this week. While teams are already making some off-season lineup changes, to accept the Pre-Trials invitation they must retain three of the original players who earned the qualifying points for the berth, and have them on the ice at all times. In some cases, the invitations will have to be declined because of that stipulation.
Invited teams are being given some time to decide on their status for the Pre-Trials. An announcement of the official field will be made at a later date.
Here’s a listing of the teams that have been invited to the Road to the Roar Pre-Trials:
Greg Balsdon, Kingston, Ont.
Brendan Bottcher, Edmonton
Adam Casey, Charlottetown/Regina
Dayna Deruelle, Brampton, Ont.
Matt Dunstone, Winnipeg
Jason Gunnlaugson, Winnipeg
Glenn Howard, Penetanguishene, Ont.
Bruce Korte, Saskatoon
William Lyburn, Winnipeg
Jean-Michel Ménard, Gatineau, Que.
John Morris, Kelowna/Vernon, B.C.
Charley Thomas, Calgary
Nadine Chyz, Calgary
Kerri Einarson, Winnipeg
Tracy Fleury, Sudbury, Ont.
Jacqueline Harrison, Mississauga, Ont.
Shannon Kleibrink, Okotoks, Alta.
Stefanie Lawton, Saskatoon
Krista McCarville, Thunder Bay, Ont.
Briane Meilleur, Winnipeg
Sherry Middaugh, Coldwater, Ont.
Darcy Robertson, Winnipeg
Kelsey Rocque, Edmonton
Karla Thompson, Kamloops, B.C.
Julie Tippin Woodstock, Ont.
The Pre-Trials teams will be seeded one through 12 based on their 2016-17 CTRS rankings, and then split into two pools of six for the round-robin competition.
The top three teams from each pool will advance to the playoffs, with the first- and second-place teams crossing over to meet each other in the first round of the A-side. The winners will then meet for the first available Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings berth.
The first-round losers, meanwhile, will drop to meet the third-place teams in each pool in the first round of the B-side. The winners of the two games will then meet, with the winner taking on the A-side final loser for the second available Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings berth.