As the summer winds down, it’s time for the curling season to heat up.
On Thursday, Curling Canada announced the teams and bracket for the inaugural PointsBet Invitational set to take place at Willie O’Ree Place in Fredericton, N.B., from Sept. 21-25.
The March Madness-style event will feature 32 of Canada’s best rinks – 16 men and 16 women – battling it out for a bountiful purse worth over $350,000.
Each field will include the top 12 teams on the World Curling Tour, the reigning Canadian junior champions, the reigning Canadian club champions, host committee-selected teams and finally a pair of sponsor’s exemption entries.
Here are the opening round matchups for the single-elimination tournament.
No. 1 Team Kerri Einarson vs. No. 16 Team Tracy Larocque (Canadian Club champion)
No. 2 Team Kaitlyn Lawes vs. No. 15 Team Emily Deschenes (Canadian Junior champion)
No. 3 Team Rachel Homan vs. No. 14 Fan Vote Winner
No. 4 Team Chelsea Carey vs. No. 13 Team Selena Sturmay
No. 5 Team Jennifer Jones vs. No. 12 Team Andrea Kelly (Host-committee selected team)
No. 6 Team Casey Scheidegger vs. No. 11 Team Kerry Galusha
No. 7 Team Hollie Duncan vs. No. 10 Team Penny Barker
No. 8 Team Kelsey Rocque vs. No. 9 Team Christina Black
No. 1 Team Brad Gushue vs. No. 16 Team Nick Deagle (Canadian Club champion)
No. 2 Team Brendan Bottcher vs. No. 15 Team Landan Rooney (Canadian Junior champion)
No. 3 Team Matt Dunstone vs. No. 14 Fan Vote Winner
No. 4 Team Kevin Koe vs. No. 13 Team Jack Smeltzer (Host-committee selected team)
No. 5 Team Reid Carruthers vs. No. 12 Team Braden Calvert
No. 6 Team Glenn Howard vs. No. 11 Team Félix Asselin
No. 7 Team Colton Flasch vs. No. 10 Team Karsten Sturmay
No. 8 Team John Epping vs. No. 9 Team Mike McEwen
The sponsor’s exemption teams will be determined via a fan vote set to take place later in August on Curling Canada’s social media channels.
The PointsBet Invitational will be the first time that curling fans will get to see many of the new teams formed this off-season at the conclusion of another Olympic quadrennial.
On the men’s side, Brad Gushue, Brendan Bottcher, Matt Dunstone, Kevin Koe, Reid Carruthers, and Mike McEwen are all skipping tweaked or completely new teams this season, while Kaitlyn Lawes, Rachel Homan, Chelsea Carey, Jennifer Jones, Casey Scheidegger and Andrea Kelly will do the same on the women’s tour.
Take a look at all the lineup changes with TSN.ca’s roster tracker.
Teams heading to Fredericton will each receive $5,000 to cover travel and accommodation costs and will earn more cash after each win.
First-round - $3,000
Quarter-final - $6,000
Semifinal - $12,000
Champion - $24,000
The winning men’s and women’s rinks will each take home a total of $50,000.