Brandon Curling Club will host the Nature’s Bounty Club Championships this weekend as 28 Men’s teams and a dozen Women’s teams from across Manitoba gather to vie for an entry in the 2021 Everest Canadian Club Championship.
The event is the first of two to be held this season for competitive club-level curlers. These October Men’s and Women’s championships at the Brandon Curling Club are happening because of the COVID-enforced postponement last spring. The winners will have an opportunity to represent Manitoba at the Nationals in Ottawa in late-November.
This season’s club champions’ playoff will take place in March of 2022.
In addition to a need to identify teams to go on to the early season Canadian championships, CurlManitoba Executive Director Craig Baker explains the real reasoning behind hosting two sets of championships in the same season was a desire to kick-start the sport again.
“Clubs across Manitoba were closed for almost a year and we felt the best way to create excitement and to get curlers and fans back into the curling clubs was by staging last season’s championships this fall,” he says.
The plan is working as 24 different Manitoba clubs will be represented in the Brandon competitions.
The women’s competition in Brandon offers no fewer than four Canadian and Manitoba champion teams. Marlene Lang’s St. Vital foursome would be considered defending champion as they won in 2020 in Melita but did not have a chance to compete at the national level due to covid-cancellation. With one player change, the Lang team also won the 2015 Manitoba title.
Among the challengers are the last eight Manitoba champion teams. Lang in 2015 and 2020; local favourite Stacey Fordyce and her Brandon team won the 2013 and 2017 Manitoba and Canadian titles; Tracey Andries and her Fort Rouge team won Manitoba and Canada in 2016 and also won Manitoba in 2014; and Deb McCreanor’s LaSalle team were the 2018 Manitoba champions.
Only two of the champion teams since the inaugural event in 2009 are not represented in Brandon when you include Lori Pelissier who skipped a team to victory in 2012 and Fordyce’s win in 2010 with a slightly different team.
The 2020 champion Andrew Wickman is absent from the men’s field. However the finalists in Melita, Trevor Loreth and his Granite team, will be among the teams to beat in Brandon. Unlike the Women’s field, only one intact Men’s champion team will compete this weekend – the 2019 champion Derek Blanchard and his Assiniboine Memorial foursome. Riverview’s 2017 champion skip Mark Anderson returns with one member of his former champion team.
Scattered throughout the men’s field are a handful of individuals who have won the Club Champions event in the past along with some former Manitoba junior and mixed champions and many former Junior Men’s and Men’s championship competitors.
The championships have been presented as an open-entry event as it is too early in the season to have tried to conduct qualifying events. In the men’s event this weekend are representatives of 13 rural Manitoba clubs and seven Winnipeg clubs. In the women’s event are teams from six rural Manitoba clubs and four Winnipeg clubs. Overall, 24 different Manitoba curling clubs and communities will be represented in the competitions.
Contact: CurlManitoba Executive Director Craig Baker
Cell: 204-791-2204 Office: 204-925-5725 Email: [email protected]