The Fort Rouge Curling Club and three of its teams will host 21 other teams from across Manitoba this week as the Seagram’s Whisky Men’s and Women’s Curling Club Championships become the first provincial championships of the 2023-24 season.
Andrew Irving and Natalie Carrierre and their teams are the host club representatives in the men’s and women’s divisions respectively. Former champion Tracey Andries and her team won a Winnipeg regional berth into the event.
Andries is one of three former Manitoba champion skips in the women’s competition, having won it in 2014, 2016 & 2017. Brandon’s Stacey Fordyce is also a three-time former champion, with wins in 2010, 2013 & 2017. Thistle’s Lori Pelissier skipped the champion team in 2012.
With berths earned last spring, Pelissier and Kara Balshaw will skip teams representing Thistle, the Manitoba curling original seven club which has closed its doors this season.
The rest of the women’s field is made up of Tiffany Armstrong (Dauphin), Tracey Blight (Portage), Lisa Dickson (St. Vital), Jennifer Clark-Rouire (Fort Garry), Kendall Kohinski (Neepawa), Sherri Horning (Burntwood), and Laurie Macdonell (Beausejour).
The 2022 Manitoba Curling Club Provincial Women’s was won by Lisa Birchard (Pembina).
Fordyce and her 2013 & 2017 teams and Andries with her 2016 team join Granite’s Meghan Armit and her 2011 team as Canadian champions in this event.
Riverview Curling Club’s Mark Anderson is the lone former champion skip in the 12-team men’s competition. He skipped the 2017 championship team. Fort Rouge’s Andrew Irving, the 2007 Manitoba Junior champion skip; Brett Walter (Elmwood), 2020 Manitoba Junior champion skip; and Randy Neufeld (La Salle), the reigning Manitoba Masters champion and 3-time Manitoba Seniors champion skip; also all have experience skipping Manitoba teams at Canadian Championships.
The rest of the men’s field includes teams skipped by Derrick Anderson (Gimli), David Bohn (Assiniboine Memorial), Grant Brown (Burntwood), Kyle Csversko (Neepawa), Kyle Forsyth (Dauphin), Ryan Hyde (Portage), Andy Stewart (Stonewall), and Corey Thompson (Deer Lodge).
The 2022 Manitoba Curling Club Provincial Men’s was won by Zacharay Wasylik (Pembina).
Manitoba’s Men’s champions have yet to win the national championship at this level.
The Seagram’s Whisky Curling Club Championships begin Thursday, October 26 with six-game draws at 6PM and 9PM. Competition will continue all day Friday and Saturday. Semi-finals at 10AM and finals at 2:30PM Sunday, October 29 will determine the Manitoba representatives who will compete at the national Everest Club Championships at Assiniboine Memorial in late November.