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Curling Canada makes major changes to Olympic trials, Canadian championships formats

Brad Gushue Brad Gushue - Curling Canada

Curling Canada announced significant changes to some of its major events on Monday.

The four-player Olympic trials for the 2026 Milano Cortina Games, an eight-team event, will open with a round-robin draw, with the top three teams making the playoffs.

The second and third-place teams will then meet in the semifinal while the first-place team advances directly to the final, where the two remaining teams will face off in a best-of-three for the first time ever.

Curling Canada is also making changes to the Tournament of Hearts and the Brier beginning next year, announcing that the top two men's and women's teams not already qualified from this season will automatically earn a spot in next year's Canadian championship events. The third wild-card team will be determined following the 2023-24 provincial and territorial playdowns.

The four-player Olympic trials are scheduled for Nov. 22-30, 2025. The location has yet to be announced. The pretrials take place in October and have the same format.

Curling Canada says the format for the mixed doubles Olympic trials are still being finalized and will be announced later this year.

“We feel confident that these changes will give our high performance athletes the best opportunity to succeed,” said Katherine Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of Curling Canada. “There were a lot of voices, from athletes, funding partners, and coaches, who played a valued and significant role in getting us to this point and while there is still work to be done, we feel we are in a better place leading to the 2026 Winter Olympics.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 17, 2023.