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What to know for curling’s championship season

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The beginning of the Scotties Event of Hearts on Friday evening kicks off the busy stretch of Canadian and world championships that type the core of the curling season. This is a information to what’s arising, led by a storyline-rich Scotties.

Event of Hearts (Feb 16-25 in Calgary)

The nice Jennifer Jones introduced Tuesday that this might be her ultimate Scotties as she’s determined to retire from ladies’s curling on the finish of the season (she’ll proceed enjoying blended doubles along with her husband, Brent Laing). However save your rocking chairs: the 49-year-old is a reliable contender to win a record-breaking seventh Canadian ladies’s championship.

Final yr, with a brand new set of Manitoba teammates who’re half her age, Jones made all of it the way in which to the Scotties ultimate earlier than a loss to Kerri Einarson left her tied with Colleen Jones for the all-time titles document amongst skips. This season, Jones’ rink received the Grand Slam opener and is presently the second-highest Canadian workforce on the earth rankings, behind Rachel Homan’s.

The three-time Scotties champ and her Ontario rink could possibly be Jones’ greatest impediment to a storybook ending after profitable a pair of Slams this season. Einarson’s Workforce Canada hasn’t regarded the identical, however the skip can surpass Colleen Jones (now teaching Nova Scotia) for the consecutive Scotties titles document by profitable her fifth straight. Learn a full Event of Hearts preview right here.

The Brier (March 1-10 in Regina): Brad Gushue made historical past final yr, changing into the primary skip within the practically century-long existence of the Brier to win it 5 occasions. Now he’ll attempt to turn into simply the second (after Randy Ferbey within the early 2000s) to seize three consecutive Canadian males’s championships. Amongst these attempting to finish the Newfoundlander’s reign are a pair of  Albertans. Kevin Koe can match Gushue along with his fifth title, whereas Brendan Bottcher is a former champ and three-time runner-up. Two high Manitoba skips are additionally within the hunt. Matt Dunstone misplaced the ultimate to Gushue final yr, and Brad Jacobs received in 2013 for Northern Ontario earlier than switching provinces to affix forces with Reid Carruthers final yr.

Girls’s world championship (March 16-24 in Sydney, N.S.): Can anybody cease Silvana Tirinzoni? The Swiss skip captured her fourth consecutive world title final yr in Sweden and stays atop the world rankings after reaching the ultimate on the final two Grand Slams (she misplaced each to Homan). Canada has received simply two of the final 14 ladies’s worlds, and none since Homan and Jennifer Jones captured back-to-back titles in 2017 and ’18. Final yr, Einarson settled for her second bronze in a row — the one medals she has to point out for her 4 straight Canadian titles.

Canadian blended doubles championship (March 17-22 in Fredericton, N.B.): Not one of the nation’s greatest curlers appeared to take blended doubles critically till it joined the Olympics in 2018 and Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris received gold. That received the celebs’ consideration, resulting in the previous two nationwide championships being received by adorned skips. Einarson and Gushue teamed up for the title in 2021 and, after the pandemic worn out 2022, Jones and Laing took it final yr.

Males’s world championship (March 30-April 7 in Switzerland): After 4 straight world titles and the 2022 Olympic gold, Swedish skip Nik Edin’s stranglehold on worldwide males’s curling lastly ended final yr when Gushue defeated him within the playoffs on the worlds in Ottawa. However Gushue went on to lose the ultimate to Scotland’s Bruce Mouat, extending Canada’s maddening worldwide championship drought. Regardless of its unmatched depth, Canada has not received a world or Olympic curling title in any of the mainstream occasions — males’s, ladies’s and blended doubles — in six years.

Combined doubles world championship (April 20-27 in Sweden): Should you suppose that drought is puzzling, get a load of this: Canada has by no means received the blended doubles worlds, which have been held 15 occasions since their inception in 2008. Worse, Canada has reached the gold-medal recreation solely twice. The current inflow of Canadian stars from the four-player recreation hasn’t even actually helped. Einarson and Gushue misplaced the bronze-medal recreation in 2021 and Jones and Laing did the identical final yr.

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