It’s still November, but a 2018 national curling champion will be decided in the upcoming days.
The 55th Canadian mixed championship begins Sunday in Swan River, Man., but it’s designated as being part of the 2018 championship schedule.
Newfoundland and Labrador will be represented by the 2017 provincial mixed championship rink skipped by Chris Ford, and his St. John’s Curling Club/ReMax Centre entry brings plenty of national experience.
Ford, who is also second for Colin Thomas’s men’s rink in local SuperLeague play, skipped Newfoundland’s 2015 mixed champions, finishing with a 2-4 record at the 2016 Canadian event. But he did it with an entirely different rink — the roster this time around includes third Brooke Godsland, who skipped the last two provincial junior women’s champions, second Zach Young, who competed at the 2014 national junior men’s championship with Stephen Trickett’s rink and is a member of Adam Boland’s team that is the defending national university (U Sport) men’s champion; and Kate Murphy, who is lead for this team, but has skipped rinks locally.
They will be looking to deliver Newfoundland and Labrador’s second national mixed championship. The first was claimed in 2005 by Mark Nichols, Shelley Nichols, Brent Hamilton and Jennifer Guzzwell.
The Swan River event features 14 teams (10 provinces plus Northern Ontario, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon) seeded and separated into two pools of seven teams each.
The teams will play a round robin schedule within their pool and the top four teams in each pool advance to the championship (playoff) pool, carrying forward their full win-loss records.
The bottom three teams in each pool will go to a seeding competition.
The semifinals (pitting 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3) and final are next Saturday.
The winning team will represent Canada at the 2018 world mixed championship, at a site and date to be announced.
CBC will provide live-streaming coverage of the championship. Beginning Monday, each draw will be available via live-streaming coverage at cbcsports.ca and on the CBC Sports app.
Over the years, the national mixed has been won by many well-known curlers, including Nichols, Jeff Stoughton, Rick Folk, Rick Lang, Kevin Koe, Colleen Jones, Jean-Michel Ménard, Paul Flemming, Mark Dacey and Shannon Kleibrink, the only female to win the mixed as skip, doing so in 2004.