The stakes just got higher at the Canada Cup.
The Season of Champions opener - slated to run Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 in Leduc, Alta., - will not only see the winning men's and women's team qualify for the 2021 Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings Olympic trials, but they will also earn a vastly increased cash prize.
The top seven men's and women's rinks in Canada will battle it out for a purse that will see the first-place teams receive $40,000 apiece, an 185 per cent increase from last year's Canada Cup in Estevan, Sask., Curling Canada announced on Tuesday.
It won't be easy as the Canada Cup regularly sports the most elite fields out of any bonspiel on the planet.
The men's field will have 2019 Brier champion Kevin Koe, two-time Brier champ Brad Gushue and defending Canada Cup winner Brad Jacobs leading the way with back-to-back Brier finalist Brendan Bottcher, John Epping's new look squad and curling legend Glenn Howard not far behind.
On the women's side of the draw, 2019 Scotties champ Chelsea Carey will be there alongside defending Canada Cup champion Jennifer Jones, three-time Scotties winner Rachel Homan and Kerri Einarson in her second season with her squad of former skips. Saskatchewan's Robyn Silvernagle, who will make her Canada Cup debut in Leduc, and Casey Scheidegger’s rink will compete as well. Scheidegger is due to give birth to her second child in November and will be replaced by 2010 Olympic silver medalist Cheryl Bernard at the event.
The seventh and final spot on both the men's and women's sides will be determined by the highest ranked CTRS team as of Nov. 11.
Following the $40,000 first-place prize, the runner-up will receive $25,000 with third-place getting $15,000. The winner also gets an automatic entry to the 2020 Continental Cup in London.