With the Tim Hortons Curling Trials quickly approaching, TSN.ca will profile one men’s team and one women’s team each day before the first rocks fly on Nov. 20 at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.
Team Rachel Homan
Skip: Rachel Homan (Age 32)
Third: Emma Miskew (32)
Second: Sarah Wilkes (31)
Lead: Joanne Courtney (32)
Curling Club: Ottawa Curling Club
CTRS Ranking: 6
Highlights: Team Homan has made four quarterfinal appearances this season, including at the Masters and the National on the Grand Slam circuit where they lost to Russia’s Team Alina Kovaleva and Sweden's Team Anna Hasselborg, respectively.
How They Got Here
Qualified for the Tim Hortons Curling Trials by winning the 2019 Home Hardware Canada Cup in Leduc, Alta.
Nov. 20 – Jacqueline Harrison
Nov. 21 – Krista McCarville
Nov. 22 – Kelsey Rocque
Nov. 23 – Tracy Fleury
Nov. 24 – Laura Walker
Nov. 25 – Jennifer Jones, Kerri Einarson
Nov. 26 – Casey Scheidegger
Expert Analysis from TSN's Cheryl Bernard
Team Homan will win the Trials if…
"The reigning Canadian Olympic team, has been focused on these Trials since their Olympics in PyeongChang. They want back and another chance to perform on that stage. That desire of knowing what’s on the line can be a blessing and a curse – so they need to mentally be in a good place when they begin. This team will win the Trials if they love and embrace the ice from the start and can avoid getting lured into uncomfortable ends late in games. If the back end is feeling the weight and seeing the lines, they will be tough to beat."
Rachel Homan will look to become the first skip to represent Canada at consecutive Winter Olympics.
Four years ago, in their hometown of Ottawa, Homan, Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney and Lisa Weagle ran the table after an opening-draw loss to Chelsea Carey to book their trip to PyeongChang, beating Chelsea Carey’s squad in the final.
“I have so much respect for my teammates. They’re unbelievable people. They’re fantastic curlers, but beyond that they’re like my sisters now,” Courtney said of her teammates. “I feel like I’ve gotten to be so much better. Even better than I could ever thought I could be. I just can’t say enough about them. They’re amazing.”
However, the Games didn’t go as planned for the Canadian men and women’s four-person teams, as both finished off the podium for the first time in history.
Homan and Miskew also competed at the 2013 Trials in Winnipeg, fresh off winning their first Scotties Tournament of Hearts title earlier in the year. As one of the youngest teams in the field, Team Homan qualified for the three-team playoff before losing to Sherry Middaugh in the semifinals, 10-4. Courtney played in those Trials as well, throwing third rocks for Alberta’s Val Sweeting and finishing with a 3-4 record.
Wilkes, the newcomer on Team Homan, served as an alternate for Team Sweeting at the 2017 Trials in Ottawa.
Last Four Years
The last quadrennial has been eventful to say the least for Homan’s foursome.
A few months after missing the podium in South Korea, Team Homan wrapped up their 2017-18 campaign with a win at the Champions Cup on the Grand Slam circuit. The late-season victory was just a sign of things to come. Homan captured the inaugural Curling World Cup in Suzhou, China to kick off the 2018-19 campaign before making the finals in four of the first five Grand Slams, winning three consecutively.
Homan’s crew were the favourites heading into the Scotties in Sydney, N.S., and made it to the finals where they faced Carey in a rematch of the Trials final. However, a historic comeback by Carey and some last misses from Homan resulted in a heartbreaking extra-end loss.
“Obviously disappointed. We wanted to win that one and just came up short when we had every opportunity to win,” said Homan after the game. “We just missed a few too many.”
In 2019-20, Team Homan didn’t find the same success on the Grand Slam circuit, but captured the Canada Cup to qualify for the Olympic Trials and made another Scotties final, this time losing to Kerri Einarson in Moose Jaw, Sask.
Following the season, Homan shook up the curling world by parting ways with long-time lead Weagle and replacing her with Wilkes. It was a move no one saw coming with the Olympic Trials just 20 months away, with many questioning whether it was the right time to make just a drastic swap.
The early Tour season was basically a wash in 2020-21 due to the pandemic, but the new-look Team Homan quickly showed what they were capable of once they entered the bubble for the Scotties.
At eight-months pregnant, Homan led her team a third straight Scotties final. Despite coming up short once again, losing to Einarson for a second straight year, the Ottawa skip inspired many throughout the week with her play.
Homan inspired even more people in the sports world later that spring when she returned to the ice at the Champions Cup just three weeks after giving birth to her second child, Bowyn. Team Homan went on to win that event and then were finalists at the Players’ Championship.