Monday 23 January 2023

Playdown Party 2023 Part II

 #BetweenTheSheets: Playdown Party Rages On

Completing the Scotties field and adding to the Brier

From the shot heard around the rings to domination station, last weekend may have only had two provincial championships but both brought plenty of drama.

Which leads to a common question this time of year: How are you holding up rock heads?

Staying hydrated? Still full of energy? Still dancing the night away in celebration of provincial and territorial championship victories?

Well I hope you have all learned the number one rule of party raging: Pace Yourselves!!

The Playdown Party of 2023 is bringing back vintage coverage, circa 2020, and we are just warming up! 

The drinks are still pouring, the celly's are still coming and the Scotties and Brier are starting to fill their dance cards.

Ready for more?

ICYMI the Playdown Party officially kicked off last weekend with a full preview of provincial Scotties action in Alberta and New Brunswick. If you missed the kick-off, take a quick look back at the opening act HERE.

Worth noting the blog made some pretty accurate predictions along the way, correctly tagging both Alberta finalists and the NB winner. Not bad, not bad!

Who is already packing their dancing shoes to the BIG DANCE and who punched their ticket recently? Lets get caught up on the updated national championship fields.


#ABStrong - Team Skrlik: As mentioned above, the shot heard around the rings from club to club. Team Scheidegger looked to be in control for the 10th end, up one but without hammer. The final rock came to rest and it appeared we may be heading to an extra end. Not so fast said opposing skip Kayla Skrlik. The #NextGen skip went for the full win, calling a nearly impossible thin double FTW. The rock was released, the front end went to work and we were left hearing "We are going to wine country!" We have our first #TeamUpset result of playdown season and a rookie team in the Scotties field. Congratulations Team Skrlik, who went undefeated in claiming their first Alberta Scotties title. As for finalists Team Scheidegger, more on them below.

#TeamAcadia - Team Kelly: She's back, back, back again! Andrea Kelly's foursome dominated the New Brunswick Scotties field, going a perfect 7-0 to claim the title and earn a return trip to the Scotties. The 2022 Scotties bronze medal winners owned their opposition last week, outscoring them 65-16, resulting in an average final score of 9-2. They defeated Team Burgess in the final 10-5, an identical scoreline to their RR game. This is going to be a dangerous team in Kamloops, especially with a podium taste in their mouth from last season while also looking for some revenge.

Already dancing:

#TeamCanada - Team Einarson
#TeamPacific - Team Grandy
#Labelleprovince - Team St-Georges
#PolarPower - Team Galusha
#TeamArctic - Team MacPhail
#PurplePower - Team Birnie


There were no provincial championships held last weekend. But we will have some Brier playdown parties to attend this week.

As a reminder, here are the teams already dancing:

#TeamCanada - Team Gushue
#TeamPacific - Team Gauthier
#Labelleprovince - Team Asselin
#TeamArctic - Team Higgs
#PurplePower - Team Scoffin

Let the drama continue with more provincial/territorial championship action this week.




Estevan, SK

2022 Champion: Team Barker

Format: 12 team triple knockout with 4 qualifiers.


Respect given to the defending champs Team Barker. They are the highest ranked team in the field, currently sitting #22 on the world rankings.

They have won 3 Sask tour events this season, including the Players Championship. They have also qualified in 5 of their 6 tour events overall.

To be the best, you have to beat the best. Right now, Team Barker holds down that distinction in Saskatchewan.

It also helps they only have suffered 3 losses against the field this season, although 2 have been to main contender Nancy Martin.


Could a #NextGen junior team make some noise at the women's provincial championship?

If so, watch out for Team Kleiter!

Madison Kleiter and her team from Saskatoon will arrive in Estevan fresh off competing at the Sask Junior Championships last weekend, where they reached the final.

Yes, they will arrive on the heels of a tough provincial final loss; however, they have the opportunity to park that loss and make some noise in a wide open field.

They also have the advantage of playing high-pressure competitive curling over the past week. If they can avoid Mr. Sandman and getting run down with back-to-back provincial championships, they could surprise a few of the most experienced teams in the field.

And what an opener for the young team. They draw 5-time Canadian Senior champ Team Sherry Anderson. #NextGen vs. Experience to kick off the event!


This is a WIDE OPEN field. Yes, Barker is the #Fav. And yes, Kleiter has #TeamUpset potential. But look at some of the other teams in this field:

Team Nancy Martin
Team Ashley Howard
Team Amber Holland
Team Sherry Anderson
Team Lorraine Schneider

And of course we welcome back Team Robyn Silvernagle. The #SilverSquad will return to the ice with a slight new look as Silvernagle returns with lead Kara Thevenot and adding vice Kelly Schafer and second Sherry Just.

Schafer used to curl out of Scotland, winning world championship silver (2010) and bronze (2007, 2017) medals. Just has skipped her own team in the past and has competed in 4 Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championships as well as the 2018 Canadian MD Olympic trials with Tyrel Griffith (now partnered with fellow SK competitor Nancy Martin).

Don't overlook another past Sasky champ in the field either. Michelle Englot will be competing too, playing second with Team Brooklyn Stevenson.

With a triple knockout format, anything can happen.

With a wide open field on top of it, perhaps we should expect the unexpected.

With no team in this field close to wildcard consideration, this is a make it or break it event for these teams. 

Qualifiers: Team Martin, Team Barker, Team Holland, Team Howard

Saskatchewan Championship: Team Martin def. Team Holland


East St. Paul, MB

2022 Champion: Team Zacharias

Format: 12 team RR with 2 pools of 6. Top 3 in each pool advance to Championship Pool. Top 3 from Championship Pool advance to playoff bracket with 1st place team earning a bye to the final.


Similar to the Sask preview above, Jennifer Jones is the Queen of Manitoba and until someone comes along and knocks her off the throne, the title of #Fav remains in her hack.

Now she has a very different team in front of her of course, joining forces with #NextGen stars and defending provincial champs Team Zacharias but we still have the same old Jenny Jones consistency.

We saw this team start the season strong in winning the Saville Shoot-Out and PointsBet Invitational but then the results tapered off a bit.

Yes they are still qualifying in events but they were coming up short in QF and SF games, including QF results in 3 #GSOC events (National, Masters, Canadian Open). They DNQ at the Tour Challenge.

Provincial championships are also when Jones hits her zone. She is dialed in and loves winning that Buffalo.

They draw, arguably, the "easier" opening RR group so they should reach the Championship Pool with a strong, if not undefeated, record and look good for the playoffs.


Speaking of Jones' group, watch out for Team Ackland.

We saw what happened at the Canadian Open to open 2023, with the team making their #GSOC debut and reaching the playoffs. This is a SOLID team who is very capable of knocking off those "bigger names" in the field.

They won the DEKALB Superspiel at the end of December and have reached 2 other finals this season.

They are also ranked #15 in the world ranking so they are in a great spot to perhaps nab a #WC berth to Kamloops if they slip up this week.

Yes, I realize a #15 ranked team does not seem like they should qualify as a #TeamUpset challenger; however, when the field is listed with names like Jones, Lawes, Carey...where would you fit them?


We have past Manitoba champions in the field: Jones/Zacharias, Lawes, Carey, Robertson.

We have past Canadian champions in the field: Jones, Lawes, Carey.

We have a #NextGen team with championship leadership.

We have an upstart team looking to wave the #TeamUpset flag and surprise the field.

We have a possible return to the ice of a past champion with Jill Officer taking the alternate position with Team Lawes.

And we have a team who has been to the Scotties as a #WC and is looking to return to the "big ice" once again.

We know Manitoba has one of the strongest and deepest fields every season, coupled with a strong Manitoba Curling Tour where many of these teams excel.

Strong teams are going to go home after the RR. And surprises may be in store for some of the "favourites".

Plus we could get the classic friendly rivalry game fans want to see: Jennifer Jones vs. Kaitlyn Lawes!

This provincial championship will be watched by many teams from other provinces as the final result WILL impact the Wildcard berths.

Championship Pool Qualifiers: Team Lawes, Team Carey, Team Peterson, Team Jones, Team Ackland, Team Watling

Playoff Qualifiers: Team Jones, Team Lawes, Team Ackland

Manitoba Championship: Team Jones def. Team Lawes 


Kenora, Ont

2022 Champion: Not Held (Team McCarville appointed)

Format: 7 team RR with Top 4 advancing to page playoff.


No question Krista McCarville will be the overwhelming favourite this week. The 2022 Scotties runner-up will be seeking her 9th Northern Ontario title and 10th Scotties appearance.

McCarville is a two-time Scotties runner-up remember (also in 2016) and won Scotties bronze in 2010 under the Ontario flag.

McCarville did play in 2 #GSOC events this season, failing to qualify at the National and Tour Challenge Tier II.

The team is coming off a finals appearance at their last tour event however, the Curl Mesabi Classic in mid-December.

The #Fav theme continues here. To be the best, you must beat the best. McCarville is the Queen of the North(-ern Ontario).


Could a player who has competed as lead, second and vice make the move to skip and challenge the Queen?

If so, watch out for Nicole Westlund-Stewart.

Westlund-Stewart may be more known for her time curling as lead with Clancy Grandy (yes, new B.C. champ Clancy Grandy) and as vice with Megan Balsdon but she has made the leap to skip and will be chasing the Moose in Kenora.

One advantage Westlund-Stewart may have over many of the other challengers to the kingdom is her team has been competing in the Thunder Bay Major League of Curling. The league just wrapped up play last weekend with Westlund-Stewart losing the consolation SF to Queen McCarville.

Those were the only female teams to play in the league and it could give a slight advantage to both.


Who can step up and take down the kingdom?

Is this the season Krysta Burns makes her move?

Burns went to the Scotties in 2021 inside the #IceBubble when McCarville turned down the offer and she fell to McCarville in the 2020 final. The 26 year old may be ready to make a run at the castle.

Qualifiers: Team McCarville, Team Burns, Team Westlund-Stewart

Northern Ontario Championship: Team McCarville def. Team Burns


Port Elgin, ON

2022 Champion: Team Homan

Format: 12 team RR with 2 pools of 6. Top 2 in each pool advance to the Championship Pool with Top 3 advancing to the playoffs. #1 seed from Championship Pool earns a bye to the final.


Our theme continues rock heads! The best in the land wears the crown until someone takes it from her.

Rachel Homan is the Queen of Ontario and we have yet to see a team really stand up and challenge her for the title. 2016 was the last Ontario loss for this team, losing the final to Jenn Hanna.

Since 2016, Homan has worn the crown in winning the provincial title in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2022. The team did not compete in 2018 as they were designated to be Team Canada at the Scotties, although they competed in the Olympics instead of course. 2021 was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Homan enters the competition with as little pressure as possible. The team is already assured a Scotties berth as the top ranked team in Canada (behind already qualified Team Einarson). Should Homan falter this week, they will be offered the #WC1 spot.

But we also know Homan is a fierce competitor and she wants to #DefendTheIce and retain the Ontario crown for another season.

They won the Tour Challenge Tier I slam and reached the final of the Masters. They also had QF results at the other 2 slams (National, Canadian Open).

They also won a tour event in Red Deer and reached another tour final in Edmonton.

This is going to be a tough team to knock off the throne.


Welcome back to the skipper's table Allison Flaxey! The 2014 Ontario champ is back in the house after jumping around a few teams over the past few seasons (Clancy Grandy, Jacqueline Harrison).

Flaxey's team consists of Calissa Daly (who used to skip her own team), Lynn Kreviazuk (back with Flaxey from the 2014 championship) and Laura Hickey.

They were the final team to earn a berth in the field, securing their ticket at the Last Chance Open Qualifier.

Flaxey is skipping for Jacqueline Harrison at this event.

When you are a past champion and #GSOC champ (2016 Masters), you deserve a shout out mention.

The team may have been the last one in and may be rocking a slightly altered lineup for the championship, it does not mean you underestimate what Flaxey can do!


Homan may be the overwhelming favourite and Flaxey could be the underdog but in between them are 10 other teams quite capable of making a deep run here.

And this format could be tricky. The field has expanded to 12, previously being 8 or 9 teams.

The RR remains the same but now we have 2 pools of 6 with only 2 teams advancing to a Championship Pool. Once in the Champ Pool, 3 of the 4 teams will reach the playoffs.

Homan highlights Pool A, being joined by fellow contenders Team Inglis and potential challengers Team Froud, Team Mann, Team Flaxey (Harrison) and Team Warriner.

Team Duncan highlights Pool B, being joined by fellow contender Team Ladouceur and challengers Team Armstrong, Team Brandwood, Team Howard and Team Wasylkiw.

If a team is to qualify for the Championship Pool, their RR records carry over with them. And the Champ Pool RR will be only 2 games for each team, playing the qualifiers from the other pool.

3 losses may get you into the Champ Pool but could hinder your odds of reaching the playoff bracket. Heck, even 2 losses might end up being 1 too many.

Also worth noting, watch for Team Ladouceur. They have been a dark horse all season, having made their #GSOC debut this season and could factor into the wildcard discussion.

Championship Pool Qualifiers: Team Homan, Team Inglis, Team Duncan, Team Ladouceur

Playoff Qualifiers: Team Homan, Team Ladouceur, Team Inglis

Ontario Championship: Team Homan def. Team Ladouceur


New Glasgow, NS

2022 Champion: Team Black

Format: 8 team triple knockout with 3 qualifiers. A-qualifier advances to provincial final.


When you are the defending champions and sport a remarkable season record of 28-6, can anyone really bet against you in the provincial championship?

Christina Black and her team from Halifax look to remain Bluenose Queens this week and earn a second straight trip to the Scotties.

They have 3 tour wins this season, another final appearance, a SF (Tour Challenge Tier II) and a QF showing.

They enter this event as the top seed but also on a remarkable 11-game winning streak and a 16-1 record over their previous 3 events.



Is 42 the new 24? As someone who shares the same age as Jennifer Crouse, I can certainly hope so.

Crouse is a two-time Nova Scotia champion but will now be skipping her own team at the provincial championship.

Crouse won a NS title playing with Nancy McConnery (2009, 2010) and Mary-Anne Arsenault (2018). In 2018, the team would win Scotties bronze.

Crouse has the experience of winning this championship. But can she do it as skip?

She will have experience with her of course, especially in vice Julie McEvoy.


Who will be the main challenger for Team Black?

Jill Brothers jumped provincial boundaries. #NextGen Canadian junior champ Taylour Stevens is playing alternate for Sarah Murphy.

So who can step up and try to overthrow the current Queen?

Jessica Daigle has made deep provincial runs in the past and she will be joined by Colleen Jones as her alternate.

Tanya Hilliard has proven to be a consistent threat at tour events in Atlantic Canada over the past few seasons.

Kristen MacDiarmid has done similar.

And Sarah Murphy, previously playing second for Jill Brothers, has moved up to skip and is still joined at vice by Erin Carmody (2010 Scotties finalist) and lead Jenn Mitchell.

Or maybe the #TeamUpset flag bearer surprises them all and makes another deep run to the title?

Worth noting, this year there were no qualification standards for the provincial championships. Any team could register to participate.

Qualifiers: Team Black, Team Murphy, Team Crouse

Nova Scotia Championship: Team Black def. Team Murphy


Crapaud, PEI

2022 Champion: Not Held (Team Birt assigned)

Format: 4 team triple knockout. If one team wins A, B and C-events, they win the championship.


The Queen of the Island: Suzanne Birt! No questions asked.

Birt has been PEI champ since 2019 and has won 6 titles in the last 10 years (2022 not included).

The team is 18-10 on the season and has won 2 tour titles. They have yet to face any of their provincial competitors though.

Our #Fav theme continues here though. You know the drill....


The field? Seriously!


With all due respect to the other 3 teams in the competition, the biggest question leading into this event is whether Birt will be defeated in one game, let alone 3.

The PointsBet wager may be Birt vs. The Field, in such Birt winning the A, B and C-events to win the title outright.

Birt's last defeat at this event was in the 2020 B-qualifier vs. Veronica Smith.

Last year she went 3-0 against her only opposition, Team London, outscoring them 34-3.

Can Team London, Team MacLean and/or Team Morrow knock her off this year?

Morrow does own a win against Birt here, defeating her in the 2019 A-SF by a score of 13-3.

Qualifiers: Team Birt

Prince Edward Island Championship: Team Birt


2022 Representatives: Team Fleury (#WC1), Team Carey (#WC2), Team Homan/Miskew (#WC3)

Format: Top three teams who did not win their provincial/territorial championship based on CTRS.

Teams In Contention: Team Homan, Team Jones, Team Lawes, Team Scheidegger, Team Ackland, Team Ladouceur


Team Scheidegger's surprise loss in the Alberta Scotties final eliminated the slim hopes for Team Black, Team Barker and Team Inglis. The loss also severely dents the chances for Team Ladouceur.

As for Scheidegger, unless we see a massive upset in Ontario and the 2 favs in Manitoba fail to win, they should secure one of the wildcard spots.

All eyes will be on those two provinces though. Ontario has 2 teams in consideration (Homan, Ladouceur) and Manitoba has 3 (Jones, Lawes, Ackland).

2 Manitoba teams are going to earn WC spots, which 2 is unknown.

Homan and Jones are in the Scotties field regardless of results this weekend, being the Top 2 teams in contention. Should both lose, Scheidegger better hope Lawes is the one to win Manitoba.

If Ladouceur and Team Ackland win Ontario and Manitoba (or any other teams), which could happen, Scheidegger will be the odd team out.

Nobody will be a bigger Homan/Jones/Lawes fan this week than Casey Scheidegger!

Wildcard Picks: Team Lawes, Team Scheidegger, Team Ackland



New Glasgow, NS

2022 Champion: Not Held (Team Flemming assigned)

Format: 13-team triple knockout with 3 qualifiers. A-qualifier earns bye to provincial final.


Whenever the name Paul Flemming is listed in the field, one has to want to hedge their bets to his slider.

Flemming has played in 11 Briers, including the past 3, as Nova Scotia champion/delegate.

He is also a two-time Ross Harstone Trophy winner, awarded to the most sportsmanlike player. He is well-liked by his competitors and fans. Having been to a few of those Briers and having met him a few times, he is a nice dude.

The Flemming, Scott Saccary (vice) and Philip Crowell (lead) trifecta seems to be a winning formula for the Deloitte Tankard. And once again rounding out the team at second will be Ryan Abraham.

The team finished 3-5 at the 2022 Brier, missing Championship Pool qualification.

We have only seen the team compete in 3 tour events this season, reaching the QF in their last 2 events near the end of 2022.

They are #Fav by name and championship resume but they do enter the event ranked only #83 in the world and not the top ranked team in the province.

Who is the #1 ranked Nova Scotia team you ask? Well....


Have you heard of a #NextGen stud named Owen Purcell?

You know, the guy who just won a bronze medal at the World Winter University Games. The guy who won a bronze medal at the 2022 World Junior Curling Championships.

Yeah, that guy! His super team of Joel Katz, Adam McEachren and Scott Weagle are the top ranked team in the province, currently sitting #41 in the world.

They were runner-up at the season opening #NextGen Classic in Edmonton, won a tour title in Halifax and have qualified in their last 4 tour events (1 SF, 3 QF).

So why a #TeamUpset?

The jump from junior to men's is never easy. Yes, this team has strong results. And yes, they are capable of hanging with (and beating) any of the more experienced teams in this field.

But, competing for a provincial tankard is a different set of nerves and feelings and experiences.

We have yet to see them on the Tankard ice (especially since this event was last held in 2020).

If they handle the experience well, they will be a threat.

But, again, the jump to men's is more of a leap over the Grand Canyon. Just ask previous #NextGen studs Brendan Bottcher, Matt Dunstone, Braden Calvert and Tyler Tardi. All Canadian junior champs. All great curlers. All had to bide their time to try and make a Brier (some are still looking for that 1st).

But who says Purcell cannot jump the line and get there this year? It COULD happen folks! 


This is an interesting format. It is not often we see a 13-team field. But this is what can happen when you have no set qualification system but rather use an open registration.

Is it good? Bad? Meh, who knows really. The top teams are all here so does it even matter?

Nova Scotia does not get enough credit for how deep of a province it is.

Look at these names: Flemming, Purcell, Stuart Thompson/Kendal Thompson, Ian Fitzner-Leblanc, Andrew Gibson, Travis Colter, Bryce Everist, Nicholas Deagle, Matt Manuel, Tom Sullivan/Brent MacDougall. 

There are some really good curlers in this province and this championship is stacked with winner's blood.

Arguments could be made for a number of the teams entered here to make a deep run for the Tankard.

And remember, only 3 teams will advance to the championship playoff bracket.

This will be a fun one to watch and follow.

Qualifiers: Team Thompson, Team Purcell, Team Flemming

Nova Scotia Championship: Team Thompson def. Team Purcell


Crapaud, PEI

2022 Champion: Not Held (Team Smith assigned)

Format: 11-team triple knockout with 3 qualifiers. A-qualifier earns bye to championship final.


<Insert "Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?" theme song>

Found yourself asking "Where in the world is Adam Casey?" this season?

He is back in PEI and chasing down another Tankard title and berth in the Brier.

Casey has been to 9 Briers, as recent as last year with Team Gunnlaugson as #WC3.

He has represented the following provinces: PEI, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Manitoba.

But the Islander has come home looking to toss the green jacket back on for the 1st time since 2016.

Who is joining him this year? A few guys you may be familiar with: Craig Savill (vice), Steve Burgess (second) and Robbie Doherty (lead).

Sounds like a formidable team, hey? And a team full of experience!

They may not have a ton of events under the slider this season but they did compete in 1 tour event, the Dave Jones Mayflower Cashspiel in November.

How did they do? They went 5-0 and won the title...of course.


The more we look ahead, the more we must remember the past.

Enter Bryan Cochrane and Eddie MacKenzie into the discussion.

The 2020 champ (Cochrane) joins forced with the 2021 champ (MacKenzie) to try and keep the PEI Tankard between them.

MacKenzie is a PEI legend, having won the title 6 times since 2011.

Cochrane has been to 2 Brier's (2003, 2020) and is a two-time Canadian Senior Champion (2017, 2019) and a World Senior Champ (2019).

With all the talk and focus being on the #NextGen, maybe we should not overlook the resumes of experienced competitors?


This should be a very interesting Tankard championship. The Return of Casey. The Experienced Combo.

And lets not forget the "defending" champ Tyler Smith.

Smith has represented PEI at the past two Brier's, competing in 2021 as vice for MacKenzie.

Similar to Casey, we only saw Smith compete in 1 tour event this season. How did he do? He won the Monctonian Challenge in December.

And, according to the PEI website, Smith will have home ice advantage as the Crapaud Community Curling Club is the team's affiliation club.

Qualifiers: Team Casey, Team Smith, Team Newson

Prince Edward Island Championship: Team Casey def. Team Smith


New Liskeard, NOnt

2022 Champion: Team Jacobs

Format: 10 team triple knockout with 4 qualifiers to the page playoff.


Mr. Jacobs is back but has not been competing regularly this season and will be entering the competition with a new team. More on them below.

If we take Jacobs out of the #Fav discussion, the team who takes the top spot has to be Team Horgan.

Tanner and Jacob Horgan have been #NextGen stars in the making for a few seasons now. Is this finally their year?

We saw Horgan makes waves on the ice in 2021, qualifying for the Olympic Trials through the Pre-Trials. The team finished 1-7 at the Trials but it was a slide in the right direction, setting them up for where they are now.

The brothers, joined by Brier champ Darren Moulding at vice and past Manitoba champ Colin Hodgson at lead, have played in 2 slams this season (Tour Challenge, Canadian Open) and are currently ranked #19 in the world. They have also qualified in 4 of 8 events (2 SF, 2 QF). 


If you are looking for a #TeamUpset flag bearer this week, feast your eyes on Brian Adams Jr.

This team, featuring Mark Koivula, Colin Koivula and Joel Adams, will arrive at this championship fresh off winning the Thunder Bay Major League of Curling title. The Major League of Curling starts in October and wraps up right before the Northern Ontario championship.

They were the top ranked team after the RR, finishing with a 10-3 record, and knocked off Team Bonot 7-1 in the championship final on Sunday.

Considering the Major League of Curling features only teams in the Northern Ontario region, to slide away with the title right before competing here will be a huge confidence boost and garner major momentum.

Of the 9 teams also entered in this field, only 3 (plus Adams Jr.) actually competed in the Major League of Curling. But Adams Jr. did go 4-1 in those games.


The Return of Brad Jacobs!

Ok, it cannot really be considered a "return" when he really hasn't gone anywhere. After last season Jacobs' team broke up and Jacobs announced he would be stepping away from the game for a bit.

It was literally a hot minute until we saw him back on the ice, joining forced with Team Carruthers at the slam as a Super Spare and announcing a new team to compete at this championship.

Joining him will be past rivals Jordan Chandler and Kyle Chandler alongside Jamie Broad. Smart move by Chandler. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Jordan Chandler actually played second for Team Jacobs during their NOnt win last season and was their alternate at the Brier so he and Jacobs are very familiar with one another, advantage for the new team.

But we haven't seen them on the competitive ice together this season so there is still an unknown factor at play. Do you ever count out an Olympic gold medal winner though?

This may be the most wide open and competitive Northern Ontario Tankard we have ever seen folks.

Horgan and Jacobs will get most of the attention but there are strong teams here as well. Keep your eyes on last year's finalist Team MacEwan, Team Bonot (with Al Hackner listed as alternate) and Team Glibolta alongside #TeamUpset Team Adams Jr. All of these teams look to make some noise.

Qualifiers: Team Jacobs, Team Horgan, Team Bonot, Team Adams Jr.

Northern Ontario Championship: Team Jacobs def. Team Horgan 


Cornwall, ON

2022 Champion: Team Howard

Format: 12 team RR with 2 pools of 6. Top 2 in each pool advance to the Championship Pool with Top 3 advancing to the playoffs. #1 seed from Championship Pool earns a bye to the final.


He may not be the top ranked team in the field, heck not even the Top 3, but when you see the name "Howard" you don't bet against it.

Glenn Howard is back, looking to #DefendTheIce from last year. Ok, yes, we know Scott Howard skipped the team last year due to the Glenn injury but you get the message here still.

Howard will be going for Brier appearance #20 folks. 20! Glenn's first Brier was in 1986.

By contrast, some of his opposition this week were not even born when he stepped on Brier ice for the first time.

When the blog talks about consistency, THIS is the epitome of consistent competitive curling.

Team Howard is ranked #32 on the world rankings, behind Team Epping, Team McEwen and Team Ferris.

But when did Howard ever let numbers and rankings stop him from winning titles?


There are a few potential flag bearers in this field. But two names stand out, for opposite reasons.

The experience factor comes into play for Pat Ferris. Ferris competed in 2 Canadian junior championships (1995, 1996) but has yet to find similar success in the men's game.

The team is ranked #3 in Ontario, sitting at #28 on the world rankings with a 31-19 record, 2 tour titles and 2 other tour finalist appearances.

This year marks his 8th Ontario Tankard appearance, could this be his year?

What about the #NextGen factor? If so, take a close look at Landon Rooney.

Team Rooney is ranked #46 on the world rankings, sitting with 3 SF tour results this season and qualified for this provincial championship by defeating Team McEwen in a qualifier event.

This team could surprise a few of the more "well-known" names in the field and make the RR portion very interesting.


Similar to the Ontario Scotties preview above, the new format is going to be the wildcard in play here.

Having 2 pools with 6 teams and only the Top 2 advancing to the Championship Pool could get very interesting.

Team Epping leads the way in Pool A but Team McEwen will be close on their sliders while Team Squires, Team Camm, Team Champ and Team Mooibroek (another possible #TeamUpset flag bearer) ready to challenge the big names.

Neither Epping nor McEwen have looked dominant this season. McEwen was the final team to clinch a spot in the field even, regardless of their #2 overall Ontario ranking of #25 in the world. Both could be prone to an "upset" or two.

As for Pool B, Howard is going to be the big favourite but this is a Pool of Death.

Joining Howard will be #TeamUpset challengers Ferris AND Rooney, alongside Team Deruelle and Team Willsey.

And that final team in Pool B? Just a guy named Michael Fournier. Yes, the same Michael Fournier who is a Quebec Tankard champion and 3-time Brier participant. Fournier is now curling out of Ontario with Kevin Flewweling, Sean Harrison and Zander Elmes. This new team won their season opening event so they will be a dangerous dark horse.

Who wins this year's Ontario Tankard? Your guess is as good as mine but the real winners will be curling fans because this is going to be a fun championship to watch. 

Championship Pool Qualifiers:

Playoff Qualifiers: Team Epping, Team Mooibroek, Team Howard, Team Ferris 

Ontario Championship: Team Howard def. Team Epping


2022 Representatives: Team Gushue (#WC1), Team Dunstone (#WC2), Team Gunnlaugson (#WC3)

Format: Top three teams who did not win their provincial/territorial championship based on CTRS.

Teams In Contention: Team Bottcher, Team Dunstone, Team Koe, Team Carruthers, Team Flasch, Team Epping, Team Sluchinski


All eyes will be on the Ontario Tankard this week. It will be the first provincial championship having direct impact to the wildcard picture.

Should Epping win Ontario, a spot potentially opens up for someone else.

Should Epping lose, he will be a huge fan of the favourites winning in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Wildcard Picks: Team Koe, Team Carruthers, Team Epping

NOTE: The Newfoundland and Labrador Scotties and Brier will also take place this week in St. John's. As of publish date, no information was made available on the teams and format for the event, thus a full preview could not be provided. Follow all the scores online HERE and good luck, good curling to those athletes competing.


The blog returns next week for the #PlaydownAfterParty as we summarize and celebrate this weekend's championship results while also preparing for the final provincial tankard championships to complete the 2023 Brier field.

Party on Garth....


  1. So love your newsletters. Always a fun read. Thanks for all your hard work!

    1. Thank You for reading and enjoying the post 🙏🙏 Much appreciated