Canadian Mixed debuts new format in Montreal
11/13/2012 11:13:09 AM(CCA) - The Canadian Mixed Curling Championship gets underway this weekend at the Town of Mount Royal Curling Club.
However, for the first time in Mixed history, four teams - Newfoundland/Labrador, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Yukon - representing the bottom four finishers at last year's Canadian Mixed in Sudbury, will compete in a qualifying round on Thursday and Friday in order to determine which two will advance to the 12-team main draw.
The round robin, which begins on Saturday, will be followed by three draws daily Sunday through Thursday, with a final draw on Friday morning prior to any required tiebreakers and playoffs.
The first place team advances directly to the final on Saturday, November 24 while the second and third place teams meet in a semi-final to determine the other finalist.
The winning team will earn two berths (two two-person teams) into the inaugural Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials, slated for March 14-17 in Leduc, Alberta, where 32 teams are expected to compete. The winner will then represent Canada at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, April 13-20 in Fredericton, New Brunswick.
Among the skips competing in this 50th edition of The Mixed are Alberta's Kurt Balderston, Prince Edward Island's Robert Campbell, Manitoba's Terry McNamee and New Brunswick's James Grattan. Host Quebec will be represented by skip Mike Fournier of Montreal.
Balderston won the 1992 Canadian Mixed in Grande Prairie, Alberta and was runner-up last year in Sudbury, losing an extra end final to Saskatchewan's Jason Ackerman of Regina. 2010 Olympic Winter Games silver medallist skip Cheryl Bernard will play third for Balderston.
Campbell returns with his team of Rebecca Jean MacDonald (MacPhee), Robbie Doherty and Jackie Reid, which won the 2011 Mixed in Morris, Manitoba. McNamee was the 2011 Mixed runner-up and third place finisher at the 2007 edition.
Grattan, an eight-time Brier competitor whose best finish came in 1997 in Calgary when third in his debut, will skip Rebecca Atkinson, Kevin Boyle and Jane Boyle, who teamed with Terry Odishaw to win the 2007 Mixed in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Alberta and Saskatchewan lead all provinces/territories with nine Mixed crowns each, while Manitoba has eight wins. In fact, every province, plus Northern Ontario, has won at least one Canadian Mixed title since the competition began in 1964 in Toronto.