Skip to main content


Canada's Homan rolls to wins over Estonia, New Zealand at Worlds

Rachel Homan Rachel Homan - The Canadian Press

SYDNEY, N.S. — Shortly after completing a near-flawless game early in round-robin play at the world women's curling championship, Canada skip Rachel Homan returned to the ice for a late-night practice session.

A few folks remained at ice level and all the spectators had departed. There was Homan, working overtime on a quiet Centre 200 sheet trying to get just that little bit better.

"I had her marked at 97 (per cent) that game. She wasn't happy with that," said coach Don Bartlett. "There were a couple slides she wasn't happy with so she went out and practised. Like, who does that? You curl 97 (per cent) and you're not happy. So that's perfection.

"She always strives for perfection."

Her efforts are paying off. Homan, third Tracy Fleury, second Emma Miskew and lead Sarah Wilkes have been rolling in their second season together as a foursome.

After running the table at the national championship, Homan has picked up where she left off. She has reeled off 10 straight victories here and secured a berth in the weekend playoffs.

Her latest two-win day started with a 9-4 win over Estonia's Liisa Turmann. Canada alternate Rachel Brown came on for the final end of a game that lasted just six ends.

That was followed by a 9-2 rout of New Zealand's Jessica Smith that extended Homan's win streak to 26 games. A five-point eighth end sealed the victory.

"I'm lucky enough to curl with four other athletes that have the same goals and the same drive," Homan said. "We motivate each other."

Italy locked up a playoff spot in the morning by dumping Norway's Marianne Roervik 10-2. Four-time defending champion Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland booked her weekend ticket in the afternoon with a 9-1 victory over Denmark's Madeleine Dupont.

The three remaining berths were locked up in the evening. South Korea's Eunji Gim secured a berth with a 9-3 win over American Tabitha Peterson.

Sweden's Anna Hasselborg earned a spot by topping Japan's Miyu Ueno 5-3 and Denmark locked up the other berth despite being idle.

Playoff positioning will be set after the final three round-robin draws Friday. Canada (10-0) will start the day alone in top spot ahead of Italy (9-1), Switzerland (8-2), South Korea (8-2), Sweden (7-4) and Denmark (6-4).

A top-two finish in the round-robin standings will secure a direct semifinal berth. The four other playoff teams will play qualification games Saturday morning. Medal games are set for Sunday.

The bottom six includes Scotland and the United States at 4-6 along with Japan (3-7), Norway (3-7), Turkey's Dilsat Yildiz (2-9), New Zealand and Estonia (both 1-9).

Homan leads all fourths on the week with a shooting percentage of 90.0 per cent. Canada is 88.3 per cent as team, just a whisker behind Switzerland.

"I'm always striving for technical excellence and perfection," Homan said.

Homan took bronze in her world championship debut in 2013 in Riga, Latvia. She upgraded to silver the next year in Saint John, N.B., and won gold in 2017 — winning all 13 games — in Beijing.

Homan boasts an eye-popping record of 59-5 on the season.

"I'm trying to aim small and miss small," she said. "It's been a really fun ride developing with these girls."

Jennifer Jones was skip of the last Canadian team to win world gold, taking top spot in 2018 at North Bay, Ont. She also represented Canada at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, falling just short of the playoffs.

Homan wore the Maple Leaf at the 2018 Winter Games but missed the podium in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

In 2020, Wilkes joined the team to create a front end with Joanne Courtney, who stepped away from the game two years later. Courtney was replaced by Fleury, with Miskew and Wilkes moving down a spot in the shooting order.

"It's just like this perfect puzzle that has come together," said Courtney, who's on site at Centre 200 as a TSN commentator.

She noted the team has brought its game to an even higher level in its pursuit of that "extra half per cent."

"It's really neat to see that level of commitment to greatness," Courtney said. "And I think beyond that, we all forget that Rachel Homan just had a baby six months ago. She's got three kids under the age of five.

"So to have that kind of drive, to me, it's out of this world."

Homan's big-weight shots have always been a strength but her draw weight has been particularly on point this week. The 34-year-old skip appears to be peaking at the right time.

"It seems like the intensity is there but there's a calmness to her too," Courtney said. "She's not worried about the outcome right now and I can't wait to see how that progresses as the playoffs loom."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2024.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on X.