Winnipeg’s Heather Curling Club will host a pair of unique junior events this weekend – Junior Competitions to identify Manitoba’s teams for Canada’s 2022 World Junior Qualifier.
As with the Senior Championships scheduled for Pembina, November 5-9, the Junior World Qualifier events are the result of the COVID-cancellation of curling last year.
CurlManitoba Executive Director Craig Baker explains that prior to last year the decision had been made to re-work the Canadian curling calendar to stage the national juniors in late March and to send the junior champion to the next year’s world championship. As a result the 2021-22 calendar has national juniors scheduled March 25-April 1, 2022, three weeks after the Worlds in Sweden.
“Since there was no Canadian Junior Championship last spring, we have not identified teams to represent Canada in Sweden so a bonspiel has been scheduled in Saskatoon to determine who those teams will be,” Baker explains. “Winners of the Heather bonspiel this weekend will earn the right to represent Manitoba at that National Qualifier bonspiel to be held in November 22-27, 2021.”
Nine Junior Men’s teams and six Junior Women’s teams will compete. The men’s draw is a triple knockout format with a Page Playoff while the women will play a round robin with a three team playoff.
Five of the women’s teams compete regularly on the Manitoba Junior Curling Tour. The MJCT #1 and #2 ranked teams, Emma Jensen and Emily Ogg head the list of entries along with Meghan Walter whose team has focussed on Scotties level competition this season. In her quest to return to a world championship, Walter’s experience as a 2019 World Mixed Gold Medallist, with Colin Kurz, will be matched against junior level winning experience this year.
MJCT #1 Emma Jensen and her team have won MJCT events in Swan River, last weekend, and at Heather, two weeks ago. MJCT #2 Emily Ogg and her team won the event at St. Vital and #5 ranked Grace Beaudry won the Elmwood Junior bonspiel.
On the men’s side, eight of the nine teams compete regularly on the Manitoba Junior Curling Tour circuit. The MJCT #1, Jordon McDonald and his team won the MJCT events at Heather, Stonewall and St. Vital. They have also already qualified for this year’s Viterra Championship. MJCT #2 Jordon Johnson and his team won at Swan River and #4 Cam Olafson won at Elmwood. MJCT #3 Jace Freeman and his team won at Morris and lost the finals at Stonewall, Heather and Swan River.
Play starts Thursday, November 4 with a 7:30PM draw at Heather and continues through the weekend to final games on Sunday, November 7.