December 2, 2022

Curling Canada to stick to 18-team format in men’s and women’s national playoffs

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Curling Canada will stick to its 18-team format at the men’s and women’s national championships this season.

The federation first used the format last year when the Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts were held in a so-called bubble in Calgary due to the pandemic.

All 14 member associations will continue to be represented in the playoffs with three teams qualifying (based on Canadian rankings) and the defending champion. The federation said the decision to make the 18-team, two-pool format permanent was based on preliminary findings from a high-performance review.

“We are undertaking significant changes to ensure Canada is in the best possible position to succeed on the world stage,” Curling Canada CEO Katherine Henderson said in a statement Friday.

“It has been made clear to us throughout this review process as well as in consultation with our national stakeholders such as Own the Podium and Sport Canada that it is a fundamental priority to ensure that our top teams are part of our national championships and maintaining the 18-team format achieves that goal.”

Curling Canada previously used a play-off format on the eve of competition to determine a single wild-card team entry.

The federation’s high performance review is being finalized by a third-party consultant, who has spoken extensively with athletes, coaches and national stakeholders, Curling Canada said.

Curling Canada is looking for a new High Performance Director following Gerry Peckham’s transition to a reduced role this season prior to his retirement.

Canada has struggled internationally over the past quadrennial. Canada settled for a men’s bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics last winter and missed the playoffs in women’s and mixed doubles.

In last season’s domestic playoffs, qualifying matches were played before the ladder matches to determine the matchups in the Page playoffs. The Wild Card One team led by Brad Gushue of St. John’s, NL, won the men’s title and Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., defended her women’s crown.

The 2023 Scotties will be played February 17-26 in Kamloops, British Columbia, and the 2023 Brier will be played March 3-12 in London, Ontario.

The national champions will represent Canada at the world championships later this season.

Kamloops, British Columbia, and the Brier will be held March 3-12 in London, Ontario.

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