#BetweenTheSheets: A Month To Remember
Bye Bye Rocktober, Hello November
It does not help #growthesport. It, in effect, actually makes the sport look more grassroots/amateurish.
Canadian Mixed Curling Championship
Swift Current, SK
2022 Champion: Quebec (Team Asselin)
Format: 14 team RR with 2 pools of 7. Top 3 in each pool advance to Championship Pool. Top 4 qualify to playoff bracket (#1 vs. #4 and #2 vs #3).
Provinces/Territories: Northern Ontario, Nova Scotia, Ontario, PEI, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon
#Fav: Northern Ontario
Trevor Bonot is back. The 2017 champion and 2022 runner-up is ready to reclaim the ice and take back his title.
And he returns with the exact same lineup that reached the championship final a year ago.
How could we not place the #Fav tag on them?
Tyler Smith may be considered a playoff longshot in this experienced mixed curling pool but do not undersell his abilities either.
Smith has become the men's face to run the place..errr, island...over the past few years.
Brier experience can help him and he could surprise a few of his opponents who may have mixed experience but not Brier/Scotties experience on the same level.
Dark horse? Yes. Longshot? Yes. Write The Islanders off? Hardly.
This is a STACKED pool of experience.
Northern Ontario and Saskatchewan have previous championship pedigree.
Ontario reached the Championship Pool last season.
As did Nova Scotia...who now have Colleen Jones joining them as lead.
And Quebec...well we already know La belle province has proven itself to be the mixed capital of Canada over the past 3 years (all with different teams).
And to think, of just those 5 teams named above, at least 2 will be going home early.
Strap in for these games. This entire RR has #PopcornMatch potential.
Projected Standings: 1. Northern Ontario 2. Ontario 3. Saskatchewan 4. Nova Scotia 5. Quebec 6. PEI 7. Yukon
Provinces/Territories: Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, NWT, Nunavut
The #PolarPower is back!
Is this FINALLY the year Jamie Koe claims a Canadian championship?
This will be Koe's 9th Canadian Mixed appearance, having won bronze at the past 3 championships.
And remember, back in 2015, Koe reached the championship final.
Fun fact, Koe lost the final to Saskatchewan in 2015. And who is back this year representing #TeamGreen? The same front end, Chris Haichert and Teejay Heichert.
Hmmm, wouldn't Koe love a little revenge on them in the Championship Pool?
#TeamUpset: New Brunswick
Charlie Sullivan is back chasing down that elusive Canadian Mixed Curling Championship crown.
For Sullivan, 2023 marks his 7th appearance at this event.
And while New Brunswick may be considered a curling longshot for a Canadian title, Sullivan has shown in the past he can make deep playoff runs at this event.
In fact, in his past 3 appearances, all ended with a SF result (2016, 2017, 2018).
Maybe don't overlook #TeamAcadia this week?
Pool A is full of experience. Pool B is full of opportunity.
While there is some mixed experience in this pool, mainly highlighted by our #Fav and #TeamUpset mentions, there are also a few fresh faces to watch for.
Kyle Kurz will try to follow in his brother's slide path in winning a Canadian mixed title. Colin won the title representing Manitoba in 2019. And Kyle will be joined by wife Melissa Gordan and well-known Manitoba skip Beth Peterson.
There could be a few "surprises" emerging from this pool.
The question is, should those "surprise" teams advance to the Championship Pool, will they have the pedigree to knock off what *should be* 3 very experienced teams coming from Pool A?
Projected Standings: 1. NWT 2. Manitoba 3. New Brunswick 4. Alberta 5. B.C. 6. Newfoundland and Labrador 7. Nunavut
Championship Pool Qualifiers: Northern Ontario, NWT, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick
Playoff Qualifiers: Northern Ontario, NWT, Ontario, Saskatchewan
#CMCC2023 Championship: Northern Ontario (Team Bonot) def. NWT (Team Koe)
Stu Sells 1824 Halifax Classic
2022 Champion: Team Lawes
Format: 15 team RR with 3 pools of 5. Top 8 qualify.
#Fav: Team Jones
Do you want to bet against a team who just won a Grand Slam of Curling title?
The Tour Challenge Tier I champs return to the ice and look to build off their momentum from Niagara Falls.
The slam win is the biggest win for this team, currently in their sophomore year together.
And it is a good rebound from the Scotties loss last season, making them dangerous contenders once again.
Of course take note Chelsea Carey will be a #SuperSpare this weekend, subbing at skip for Jones.
Watch out for that draw though. Italy's Team Constantini will be no push over, especially after winning a title last weekend.
And there are dangerous #TeamUpset challengers lurking in Pool B as well...
#TeamUpset: Team Daigle
Enter Halifax's Jessica Daigle into the discussion. And competing in Pool B!
Team Daigle will have have some home ice advantage this weekend and that could provide a difference maker towards pushing for a playoff spot.
Daigle already has a tour win under the slider this season, winning The Curling Store Cashspiel in Lower Sackville, NS. Plus a QF appearance at the Dave Jones Mayflower Cashspiel a few weeks ago.
While they have only qualified in 2 of their 5 events this season, both of those events took place in the friendly confines of home province Nova Scotia.
Those other 3 events? Oakville, Barrie and Moncton.
Maybe home ice is nice afterall?!
Keep your eyes on Switzerland's Team Tirinzoni and Italy's Constantini.
With the European Curling Championships only a few weeks away in Aberdeen, Scotland, this is one of those final tune-up events for both teams.
Of course we also have the next GSOC event starting next week, The National.
Tirinzoni and Constantini will be there. As will Jones. And a few other competitors hitting the ice at the event this weekend: Team Ha, Team Grandy, Team Black.
Can the slam teams dominate the field or will we get a #TeamUpset result showcasing more parity in the sport?
Team Constantini vs. Team Daigle - Draw 5: If Daigle is to be a #TeamUpset flag bearer, leaving a mark in their opener against the Italians will be key.
Team Tirinzoni vs. Team Ladouceur - Draw 9: Can the #NextGen knock off the world champs?
Team St-Georges vs. Team Ha - Draw 10: If a non-slam team is going to knock off a slam team and "steal" a playoff spot, could it be the young rock stars from La belle province?
Team Jones vs. Team Constantini - Draw 14: Obviously!
Team Grandy vs. Team Ha - 15: Could decide the Pool C winner heading into the playoffs?
Qualifiers: Team Tirinzoni, Team Jones, Team Ha, Team Black, Team Constantini, Team Grandy, Team Hilliard, Team Daigle
Championship: Team Black def. Team Constantini
2022 Champion: NEW EVENT
Format: 10 team RR with 2 pools of 5. Top 6 qualify.
#Fav: Team Dupont
The home team will be the hottest team on ice.
Team Dupont is fresh off a Tour Challenge Tier II finals appearance.
But they have also been very consistent all season, reaching a SF, QF and a TB.
And remember, they are the defending Euro champions so they are in full preparation mode to head to Aberdeen and #DefendTheIce.
What better way to gain momentum than winning a tour title on home ice?
#TeamUpset: Team Bjoernstad
The "other" Norwegians.
Team Roervik made waves last year in reaching the world championship final.
Torhild Bjoernstad and the team from Oppdal, Norway would love to start challenging Roervik for that Norwegian title and Euro/world spot.
After failing to qualify in their 2 season opening events, they had a breakout performance last weekend in Sundbyberg, Sweden by going 3-0 in the RR and reaching the final.
They have momentum arriving in Copenhagen and could surprise a few of those higher ranked teams in the field.
Euro prep mode is underway. And this field has a few teams looking to get off on a good start.
Dupont will be there. As will Roervik.
Czech Republic's Team Kubeskova and Germany's Team Abbes will also be in Aberdeen.
Keep an eye on these 4 teams and how they perform this weekend. It could be a telling sign to what happens in a few weeks from now in Scotland.
But also watch out for challenger like Switzerland's Team Schwaller, on a two-event winning streak right now.
Team Abbes vs. Team Kubeskova - Draw 1: What an opener for 2 teams who will probably be battling for one of the final world championship spots at Euros. Who takes the upper hand early?
Team Dupont vs. Team Bjoernstad - Draw 4: The #Fav opens against #TeamUpset, who will already have a game in hand.
Team Roervik vs. Team Schwaller - Draw 4: One of the hottest teams on tour facing off against the world champion runner-up.
Qualifiers: Team Roervik, Team Dupont, Team Schwaller, Team Kubeskova, Team Dryburgh, Team Abbes
Championship: Team Dupont def. Team Schwaller
Moose Jaw SaskTour Spiel
Moose Jaw, SK
2022 Champion: Team Barker
Format: 20 team RR with 4 pools of 5. Top 8 qualify.
#Fav: Team Campbell
Jolene Campbell returns to Saskatchewan...to compete with her new Manitoba foursome.
The former Sasky champ has found great success in the rival province.
The team just reached the Tour Challenge Tier II SF, in addition to winning a tour title earlier this year. Plus reaching 1 additional tour final and another QF.
Chalk them into a spot on the playoff bracket now.
#TeamUpset: Team Ricci
Experience matters folks! And Cindy Ricci has experience.
A name familiar with Saskatchewan curling fans, Ricci is back and ready to fight her way to the top of Sask mountain.
The team has already had a successful start to their season, winning the Rocktoberfest event Thanksgiving weekend.
Can they build on the momentum in their second event and turn some heads in Saskatchewan?
19 teams from Saskatchewan.
1 team from Manitoba. And they are the #Fav.
Outside of Team Campbell being a strong title contender, this field is made up of Saskatchewan Scotties challengers.
And a great opportunity for each of them to head into the winter season laying claim to being one of the teams to watch out for as the next #TeamGreen.
Nancy Martin. Penny Barker. Sherry Anderson. Michelle Englot.
The "big" names are here.
But watch out for Skylar Ackerman. Sherry Just. Mandy Selzer. Jessica Mitchell. Jana Tisdale. Sherrilee Orsted. Jenna Pomedli.
The list of Sask challengers is longer than most give the province credit for.
Someone is going to slide out of Moose Jaw with huge bragging rights...and momentum.
Team Campbell vs. Team Martin - Draw 2: The favs of Pool A face off early.
Team Anderson vs. Team Englot - Draw 4: Sherry Anderson vs. Michelle Englot. Enough said!
Qualifiers: Team Campbell, Team Barker, Team Ackerman, Team Anderson, Team Martin, Team Pomedli, Team Mitchell, Team Englot
Championship: Team Barker def. Team Campbell
Tallinn Ladies International Challenger
2022 Champion: Team Kaldvee
Format: 12 team RR with 2 pools of 6. Top 7 qualify. Top RR team overall earns bye to SF.
#Fav: Team Kaldvee
Curling is coldEST in ESTonia. And Marie Kaldvee is the Queen of the Baltic!
Kaldvee is not only trying to #DefendTheIce at her home spiel but try to win a 3rd Tallinn Ladies championship, having also won the title in 2019.
Kaldvee and her team are also in Euro preparation mode, having won the B-Division last year and earning promotion back to A-Division in a few weeks.
The team has qualified in their last 2 tour events, winning bronze at the Match Town Trophy and reaching the QF in Sundyberg.
Expect another deep playoff run this weekend from the Estonian champs.
#TeamUpset: Team Paulauskaite
Speaking of Euro prep, watch out for Lithuania's Team Paulauskaite.
Last year was a breakout Euro result for the Lithuanian champs.
While they failed to earn A-Division promotion, they did slide out of the B-Division with a bronze medal, a best-ever finish for Lithuania.
They could be considered one of the #Favs heading into the B-Division competition in a few weeks.
They have been placed in their more challenging Pool A but could surprise a few teams and start showing their potential as a future Euro A-Division competitor?
This is a great opportunity to showcase the "other" European nations.
Europe is often discussed with the powers of Switzerland, Sweden, Scotland and, now, Italy.
But what about Estonia? Latvia? Hungary? Turkey? Lithuania? Austria? England? Poland? Ukraine?
They have national teams too and they are ready to compete.
From a #growthesport perspective, this is an interesting event to watch and keep your eyes on a few of these teams.
Turkey's Team Yildiz will be also competing at the Euro A-Division, looking to get back to the world championship.
And those other nations? Well they could be highlighting Euro A-Division fields in the future.
Team Kaldvee vs. Team Kalocsai-van Dorp - Draw 2: A tough opener for both as both should have playoff aspirations. And yes, that last name might look familiar. Skip Vera is the wife of Dutch player Jaap van Dorp but still represents her home nation of Hungary.
Team Yildiz vs. Team Paulauskaite - Draw 3: Yildiz is where Paulauskaite wants to be. And it was not too long ago Yildiz was winning B-Division bronze, knocking on the A-Division door.
Team Farnell vs. Team Paulauskaite - Draw 5: If either team wants to book a spot in the playoffs, a victory in this pivotal RR game could play the difference.
Qualifiers: Team Yildiz, Team Kaldvee, Team Regza, Team Barone, Team Farnell, Team Augustin, Team Paulauskaite
Championship: Team Kaldvee def. Team Yildiz
Stu Sells 1824 Halifax Classic
2022 Champion: Team Epping
Format: 15 team RR with 3 pools of 5. Top 8 qualify.
#Fav: Team Grattan
Rankings be damned, if we go off performances this season Team Grattan is riding the hot hand heading to Halifax.
2 tour events. 2 tour titles. 10-2 overall. Currently riding a 9-game winning streak.
If we placed that same resume to any team in the field, you would list them as a #Fav.
Plus, both tour titles this season have happened in Halifax. Can they go 3 for 3?
#TeamUpset: Team King
Jayden King and his team from Guelph, Ontario may not be well-known by as many curling fans but it might be time to sit up and take notice.
They have been curling, ALOT, this season and with success.
They have qualified in 5 of 6 events. Own a tour title (Ottawa). Reached another final (Stroud). And have 1 SF and 2 QF results.
They are also 15-3 in their last 3 events played, including victories over perennial Ontario fav/champ Team Howard and Japan's Team Morozumi.
Do not undersell this team folks.
This is a great event with strong Eastern Canada representation. We don't always get to showcase the talent out East but here is the opportunity for curling fans to see some great teams.
Nova Scotia will be well represented by Team Thompson, Team Purcell, Team Manuel, Team Everist and Team MacDougall.
New Brunswick will be led by Team Grattan and Team Jones.
Newfoundland will have representation from Team Smith.
Quebec will be in the house with Team Asselin and Team Arsenault.
And of course Ontario will have Team Epping, looking to #DefendTheIce, alongside #TeamUpset Team King and other contenders like Team Fournier, Team Mooibroek and Team Champ.
Some might call this a "Tier II" field of contenders. And, if so, do so with respect to the names competing.
These are certainly teams who could compete for a Tour Challenge Tier II title.
Team Manuel vs. Team King - Draw 7: The winner of this game could have an inside track on a playoff spot.
Team Smith vs. Team Mooibroek - Draw 8: Both teams should be in the playoff discussion mid-event. The winner will like their chances to qualify.
Team Asselin vs. Team Grattan - Draw 8: A battle of 2 teams considered the main contenders for the title.
Team Epping vs. Team Fournier - Draw 11: Are these the two Ontario Tankard favs this season?
Team Epping vs. Team King - Draw 13: The final RR game could be a great opportunity for #TeamUpset to dethrone the champs and book a playoff spot?
Qualifiers: Team Fournier, Team Purcell, Team Asselin, Team Epping, Team Thompson, Team Grattan, Team Manuel, Team Everist
Championship: Team Asselin def. Team Grattan
Swiss Cup Basel
2022 Champion: Team Whyte
Format: 21 team RR with 3 pools of 5 and 1 pool of 6. Top 8 qualify.
#Fav: Team Brunner
Switzerland's Team Brunner is collecting the travel points this season folks.
Switzerland. Scotland. Norway. Canada. Estonia.
The passport is filling up. And so are the positive results.
8 events played. 7 qualifications. 2 QF. 5 SF.
Can this weekend finally be the monkey of their back and reach their first tour final of the season?
#TeamUpset: Team Totzek
They may be ranked #78 in the world right now but do not underestimate the Germans.
They reached the QF last weekend in Bern.
And, after knocking off Team Kapp 4 games to 3 in the Euro Qualifier, they are preparing for the European championships.
In their playoff run last weekend, they knocked off #25 Team Hoesli and #28 Team Waddell.
Sure they fell to Waddell in the QF but it was a strong weekend of curling.
Can they build on last weekend's success and continue momentum heading into Aberdeen?
This is a very strong Euro field. With an added flavour of Americana's Team Ruohonen.
While the majority of the teams will not be competing at Europeans representing their nation, this is still an opportunity to put your competitors on notice.
Some will be at Euro's though too (i.e. Team Gosgens) so this is a great field to test your might and use as a tune-up.
If there was a Euro "Tier II" event, similar to the slam, this field might just be it.
And again, this is meant out of pure respect as this field is stacked with strong competition.
I would be keeping my eyes on these results folks.
Team Bryce vs. Team Hoesli vs. Team Kapp: This trio should be fighting for playoff spots. If one of them goes 0-2 against the others, those playoff aspirations will dry up fast.
Team Gosgens vs. Team Hostmaelingen - Draw 2: What a blockbuster opener for 2 teams considered to be major championship contenders here.
Team Ramsfjell vs. Team Waddell - Draw 6: Both are considered favourites out of Pool D. Who takes the advantage into the playoffs?
Team Brunner vs. Team Totzek - Draw 9: The final RR game could have major playoff implications.
Qualifiers: Team Brunner, Team Bryce, Team Gosgens, Team Ramsfjell, Team Totzek, Team Kapp, Team Hostmaelingen, Team Waddell
Championship: Team Brunner def. Team Ramsfjell
2022 Champion: NEW EVENT
Format: 12 team RR with 3 pools of 4. Top 8 qualify.
#Fav: Team Krause
Similar to the women's preview, would you want to bet against the home nation?
Team Krause is not the #Fav based on national representation only though.
They have won back-to-back tournaments to open their season, winning both Nordic Curling Tour events in Sweden (Match Town Trophy, Sundbyberg Open).
They are also 12-1 on the season and riding a 5-match winning streak heading into this event.
Sure, they will not be representing Denmark in the Euro A-Division this year, after being relegated to B-Division last year.
But this team is certainly playing at an A-Division level and pace right now so watch out.
#TeamUpset: Team Verreycken
Here comes Belgium.
Ok, so not a team we really see on tour very often but not a team to be overlooked.
Timothy Verreycken has represented Belgium at a number of European Curling Championships, including in last year's B-Division.
While the team struggled to a 2-5 RR record, they were able to hold off Ukraine in the relegation SF to avoid relegation and keep Belgium in the B-Division this year.
You may also remember Verreycken in coming off a strong skipping performance at the World Mixed Curling Championship, leading his team to a playoff spot with a 6-2 RR record and a QF result.
There could be some carry-over momentum from that historic result.
This is an event where curling fans can become familiar with some new faces and new names, especially from nations like Belgium, Estonia and Poland.
There are also some upcoming competitors in this field, like Sweden's Team Landelius or Italy's Team Ribotta.
This event is a good reminder for curling fans, just because you may not be familiar with the names competing does not mean your shouldn't be watching.
Team R. Craik vs. Team Verreycken - Draw 1: If the Belgium's are going to wave the #TeamUpset flag and make a playoff push, starting with a W out of the hack would be nice.
Team Krause vs. Team Landelius - Draw 3: A tough opener for the 2 teams expected to be playoff bound from Pool A.
Qualifiers: Team Krause, Team Ribotta, Team R. Craik, Team Landelius, Team Veltsman, Team Vilandt
Championship: Team Krause def. Team Ribotta
The blog will be back next week with an update to the Power Rankings and a preview of our second #gsoc event of the season: The National.
And remember, the Pan Continental Curling Championships wrap up this weekend. Who takes home continental bragging rights? Who earns world championship tickets?
Who earns A-Division promotion while another suffers B-Division relegation?
Plus, the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship may not be available on broadcast TV but games will be available to stream.
For all the teams and athletes competing this weekend, good luck and good curling.
Until next week, the mountain is always watching 👀👀