Time is running out to qualify for the 2021 Tim Hortons Curling Trials.
Seven of the nine spots on both the men’s and women’s sides have already been filled out for the Canadian Olympic Trials, scheduled to take place in Saskatoon from Nov. 20-28.
The last two sports for each gender will be determined next week at the Home Hardware Curling Pre-Trials in Liverpool, N.S.
The event runs from Oct. 25 to Oct. 31 with TSN's coverage beginning on Oct. 30 at 12:30pm et/9:30am pt.
The 14-team fields will be split into two pools of seven for both men and women, with the top three teams in each pool advancing to the playoffs following a six-game round robin. From there the final two Trials spots for both genders will be determined.
Let’s take a closer look at the rinks that will be battling for their Olympic Trials lives out East this week.
Team Anderson (Saskatchewan)
SKIP: Sherry Anderson THIRD: Nancy Martin SECOND: Chaelynn Kitz LEAD: Breanne Knapp
A two-time senior world champion, 57-year-old Sherry Anderson can still contend on the elite-level circuit after making the championship pool at last year’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts, finishing with a 6-6 record.
Team Barker (Saskatchewan)
SKIP: Penny Barker THIRD: Christie Gamble SECOND: Jenna Enge LEAD: Danielle Sicinski
Moose Jaw’s Penny Barker has one Hearts appearance under her belt in her career, finishing with a 1-10 record at the 2017 nationals in St. Catharines, Ont.
Team Birt (Prince Edward Island)
SKIP: Suzanne Birt THIRD: Marie Christianson SECOND: Meaghan Hughes LEAD: Michelle McQuaid
Scotties regular Suzanne Birt and the Islanders will be one of the favourites to advance to the Olympic Trials. Team Birt finished with a 1-3 record at the Canadian Curling Trials Direct Entry Event in Ottawa last month, but have made two finals on Tour this season, losing both times. Birt, 40, has plenty of experience in high-pressure curling environments as she’s played in 12 Tournament of Hearts in her career.
Team Brothers (Nova Scotia)
SKIP: Jill Brothers THIRD: Erin Carmody SECOND: Sarah Murphy LEAD: Jenn Mitchell
Team Jill Brothers qualified for the Pre-Trials after a strong performance at the Canadian Curling Pre-Trials Direct Entry Event. After losing their first two games, Brothers reeled off five straight to nab the second spot. The Halifax foursome will look to keep the momentum rolling in Liverpool.
Team Brown (British Columbia)
SKIP: Corryn Brown THIRD: Erin Pincott SECOND: Dezaray Hawes LEAD: Samantha Fisher
The Kamloops rink were a win away from qualifying straight to the Tim Hortons Curling Trials but fell to Alberta’s Laura Walker in the final of the direct entry event in September. Still, the young foursome led by 26-year-old Corryn Brown have been making waves on the national curling scene over the last two seasons and will have high expectation at the Pre-Trials.
Team Duncan (Ontario)
SKIP: Hollie Duncan THIRD: Megan Balsdon SECOND: Rachelle Strybosch LEAD: Tess Bobbie
Hollie Duncan’s Woodstock, Ont., rink is having a very solid season on Tour with an overall record of 20-5 and a win at the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard. They’ll need more of the same if they want to get to Saskatoon.
Team Galusha (Northwest Territories)
SKIP/LEAD: Kerry Galusha FOURTH: Jo-Ann Rizzo THIRD: Sarah Koltun SECOND: Margot Flemming
The rink from the Yellowknife Curling Centre way up north have committed to travelling more this season and it’s paying major dividends. Kerry Galusha and company have competed in four Ontario-based bonspiels events, including the Pre-Trials Direct Entry Event which they ran the table with a 4-0 record to qualify for Liverpool. Galusha calls the game, but Jo-Ann Rizzo has been throwing last rocks this season. Galusha, 43, has played in 18 Canadian championships in her career, but never an Olympic Trials. This year could be it.
Team Harrison (Ontario)
SKIP: Jacqueline Harrison THIRD: Allison Flaxey SECOND: Lynn Kreviazuk LEAD: Laura Hickey
Team Jacqueline Harrison is 8-7 on the season and has made the playoffs in each of their three events they played in.
Team Inglis (Ontario)
SKIP: Danielle Inglis THIRD: Jessica Corrado SECOND: Stephanie Corrado LEAD: Cassandra de Groot
One of six Ontario-based teams in the women’s field, Team Danielle Inglis has played in three bonspiels on Tour in 2021-22, making the playoffs in two of them. They hold a record of 8-5 and will be a dark horse to finish in the top two at the Pre-Trials.
Team McCarville (Ontario)
SKIP: Krista McCarville THIRD: Kendra Lilly SECOND: Ashley Sippala LEAD: Sarah Potts
The foursome from the Fort William Curling Club in Thunder Bay is one of the more notable name in this year’s field. Krista McCarville’s rink have been perennial contenders at the Canadian championship over the last five years, aside from last year which they sat out due to the pandemic. Despite not getting a lot of time together in competition since the end of the 2019-20 campaign, Team McCarville will be expected by many to qualify for the Olympic Trials. They did so in 2017, finishing with a 4-4 record. They qualified for those Trails by winning the Pre-Trials in Summerside, P.E.I. If representing Canada at the Olympics is not in the cards for the Northern Ontario crew, they still have a hometown Scotties to look forward to in late January.
Team Murphy (Ontario)
SKIP: Jestyn Murphy THIRD: Carly Howard SECOND: Stephanie Matheson LEAD: Grace Holyoke
Jestyn Murphy and her team from the Mississauga Golf and Country Club have been busy this season, playing in four Ontario-based bonspiels. They have a total record of 9-10 with a pair of playoff appearances.
Team Peterson (Manitoba)
SKIP: Beth Peterson THIRD: Jenna Loder SECOND: Katherine Doerksen LEAD: Melissa Gordon
Team Beth Peterson made the championship pool in their first appearance at the Tournament of Hearts last season. They’ve continued their strong play in 2021-22 with a 12-2 record and a finals appearance at the Mother Club Fall Curling Classic against provincial rival Mackenzie Zacharias, losing 5-3. They should be in the mix for the final two at the Pre-Trials.
Team Robertson (Manitoba)
SKIP: Darcy Robertson THIRD: Laura Burtnyk SECOND: Gaetanne Gauthier LEAD: Krysten Karwacki
Led by 56-year-old skip Darcy Robertson, this foursome from the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club has missed the playoffs in three of four bonspiels this season and own a total record of 7-10. Despite the slow start, Robertson has shown an ability to win bonspiels in recent history and has three appearances under her belt at the Canadian championship. It will be interesting to see what they can do if they can find their groove in Liverpool.
Team Zacharias (Manitoba)
SKIP: Mackenzie Zacharias THIRD: Karlee Burgess SECOND: Emily Zacharias LEAD: Lauren Lenentine
The 2020 world junior champions competed in their first Scotties last year and will look to mark off another first by qualifying for their first Olympic Trials this season. At just 22, Mackenzie Zacharias will be the youngest skip in the field, but is quickly gaining the experience to compete on the elite-level circuit. They are 15-7 on the season with a bonspiel victory in Winnipeg.
Team Calvert (Manitoba)
SKIP: Braden Calvert THIRD: Kyle Kurz SECOND: Ian McMillan LEAD: Rob Gordon
Another rink out of the Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club in Winnipeg, Team Braden Calvert are playing very well heading into the Home Hardware Curling Pre-Trials. They’ve won 12 of 13 games this season over two bonspiels, most recently capturing the Atkins Curling Supplies Classic in early October.
Team Ferris (Ontario)
SKIP: Pat Ferris THIRD: Ian Dickie SECOND: Connor Duhaime LEAD: Zack Shurtleff
Pat Ferris is 11-9 on the season and has qualified for the playoffs in three of four events this season.
Team Flasch (Saskatchewan)
SKIP: Colton Flasch THIRD: Catlin Schneider SECOND: Kevin Marsh LEAD: Daniel Marsh
This Saskatoon foursome are competing in their first real season together after the 2020-21 campaign was more or less a wash for most teams due to the pandemic. Colton Flasch’s crew has been busy with five events knocked off including back-to-back semi-final appearances against very strong fields. They went 1-4 at the Trials Direct Entry Event last month. Team Flasch has plenty of experience and if they can find their stride and be consistent at the Pre-Trials, they may have an opportunity in front of hometown fans at the Tim Horton Curling Trials later in November.
Team Flemming (Nova Scotia)
SKIP: Paul Flemming THIRD: Scott Saccary SECOND: Ryan Abraham LEAD: Phillip Crowell
Veteran Paul Flemming and his rink from the Halifax Curling Club will be the only men's team from Nova Scotia at the Pre-Trials. This team represented the province at last year’s Tim Hortons Brier but were skipped by spare Scott McDonald with Flemming throwing vice rocks. Team Flemming have played a limited schedule this season with a 2-6 record.
Team Fournier (Quebec)
SKIP: Michael Fournier THIRD: Martin Crête SECOND: Felix Asselin LEAD: Jean-Francois Trepanier
Team Michael Fournier went 4-4 at the Canadian championship last season. The 49-year-old Fournier has announced that he will retire from competitive curling once the Olympic Trials conclude. Can the man with two Quebec titles to his name make a run in the twilight of his pro career?
Team Grassie (Manitoba)
SKIP: Sean Grassie THIRD: Tyler Drews SECOND: Daryl Evans LEAD: Rodney Legault
Sean Grassie’s rink lost their first two games at the direct entry event before winning five consecutively to capture the second spot for the Pre-Trials in Liverpool. Outside of their strong performance in Ottawa, Team Grassie have played in three bonspiels on Tour, missing the playoffs each time and amassing a total record of 5-6 in those events.
Team Gunnlaugson (Manitoba)
SKIP: Jason Gunnlaugson THIRD: Adam Casey SECOND: Matt Wozniak LEAD: Connor Njegovan
The foursome from the Morris Curling Club will be favoured by some to advance to Saskatoon. Jason Gunnlaugson has skipped Manitoba at the past two Canadian championships, going 5-6 in 2020 and 6-6 in 2021. Team Gunnlaugson are 9-11 on the season and went 1-5 at the Olympic Trials Direct Entry Event in September. The 37-year-old went 0-7 at the 2009 Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials.
Team Harty (Alberta)
SKIP: Jeremy Harty THIRD: Kyler Kleibrink SECOND: Josh Kiist LEAD: Kurtis Goller
Jeremy Harty, 26, of Calgary has been busy this curling season, competing in five events including a victory at Leduc on the Alberta Curling Series way back in August.
Team Horgan (Ontario)
SKIP: Tanner Horgan THIRD: Jon Beuk SECOND: Wes Forget LEAD: Scott Chadwick
After playing third for New Brunswick’s James Grattan at nationals last year, Jonathan Beuk is back in Ontario full-time this season. Skipped by 23-year-old Tanner Horgan, this squad has made the playoffs in four of five events so far this fall, including an 8-2 loss to Brad Jacobs in the final of the Oakville Labour Day Classic.
Team Howard (Ontario)
SKIP: Glenn Howard THIRD: Scott Howard SECOND: David Mathers LEAD: Tim March
Glenn Howard and his Penetanguishene team have played just about every weekend this season ahead of the Pre-Trials. Over six events, Team Howard has compiled a very strong record of 31-13 with three finals appearances, including a win at the Oakville Fall Classic. This might be the 59-year-old’s last chance to wear the Red and White at the Olympic Games. First, they have to get to the Trials and that means finishing in the top two in Liverpool. Four years ago, in Summerside, P.E.I., Alberta’s Brendan Bottcher, who won the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier in March, beat Howard at the Pre-Trials to capture the final spot for the Roar of the Rings.
Team Roberge (Quebec)
SKIP: Vincent Roberge THIRD: Jean-Michel Arsenault SECOND: Jesse Mullen LEAD: Julien Tremblay
The Quebec-based rink qualified for the Pre-Trials by going a perfect 4-0 at the direct entry event. They went 0-4 at the only other bonspiel they played in this season. Which Team Roberge will we see in Liverpool?
Team Simmons (Manitoba)
SKIP: Pat Simmons THIRD: Colton Lott SECOND: Kyle Doering LEAD: Tanner Lott
Two-time Canadian champ Pat Simmons, 46, returned this season from a three-year retirement to rejoin two of the players he last teamed up with in 2017-18. Team Simmons have made three straight semifinals and hold a total record of 14-9. Can Simmons’ veteran experience get this squad to Saskatoon?
Team Sturmay (Alberta)
SKIP: Karsten Sturmay THIRD: Tristan Steinke SECOND: Christopher Kennedy LEAD: Glenn Venance
Karsten Sturmay and company have been one of the busier teams on Tour this season, playing in six bonspiels and sporting a record of 18-16. They’ve made the playoffs in half of them and fell to Team Jeremy Harty in a final on the Alberta Curling Series.
Team Tardi (British Columba)
SKIP: Tyler Tardi THIRD: Sterling Middleton SECOND: Jason Ginter LEAD: Jordan Tardi
Three-time Canadian junior curling champion Tyler Tardi will be another contender to get to Saskatoon via the Pre-Trials this week. The 23-year-old skips a rink out of the Langley Curling Club that has made three playoff appearances in five events this season against some stiff competition. Tardi has been touted as one of the headliners in the next wave of young skips entering the elite-level circuit. Is his time now?