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Lots of curling for the next little while

The upcoming week is a busy one for national curling championships, including the 2018 Everest Canadian senior events which get underway today in Stratford, Ont.

Fourteen men’s and 14 women’s teams (representing the 10 provinces plus Northern Ontario, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon) will compete in the Stratford Rotary Complex, which houses both the RBC and Molson Arenas.

On the women’s side, Newfoundland and Labrador is represented by a rink from the Re/Max Centre, St. John’s skipped by Diane Roberts and also including Heather Martin, Patricia Tiller and Candy Thomas.

On the men’s side, the province’s colours are being worn by Mike Ryan and his team from Carol Curling Club, Labrador City. Gary Wensman, Barry Edwards and Neil Peckham round out the team.

The format is similar to the one now being used at the Brier men’s and Tournament of Heart women’s national championships.

Entries have been seeded into two pools per gender, based on last year’s results, and will first play a round robin within their pool through Monday.

The top four in each pool then advance to the championship pool for games against teams from the other pool, while the remaining teams go to the seeding pool. Semifinals will be held Thursday, pairing 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. The winners then advance to their respective gold-medal finals Thursday afternoon, while the losers meet in bronze medal games at the same time.

Many of the participants also have Brier or Scotties Tournament of Hearts experience.

In women’s play, Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson, a former Scotties and Trials silver medallist who won last year’s seniors title at Fredericton, has returned to defend her title.

On the men’s side, Wade White of Alberta will try to successfully defend the title he won last year in Fredericton. But there will be some serious challengers, including Northern Ontario’s Al Hackner, the 1982 and 1985 Brier and world men’s champion, who is also a former Canadian Seniors winner (in 2006) and a world seniors silver medallist in 2007.

No less than four national championships — collectively dubbed Curl4Canada — are taking place in Leduc, Alta., over the coming days, starting today with the national university championships.

Memorial University has one entry, the women’s rink skipped by Rebecca Roberts and including Chantal Newell, Lauren Barron and Stephanie Nadeau. Their coach is Wallace Gregory.

The team earned its national berth by finishing as runner-up in the Atlantic Conference championships in February.

On Monday in Leduc, the national wheelchair curling championships begin, with the province represented by a team from the Re/Max Centre.

Skip Cecilia Carroll delivers lead stones, with Darlene Jackman, who throws fourth stones, Mel Fitzgerald and Felix Green are also on the team. Their coach is Leslie Ann Walsh.

On Wednesday, the national mixed doubles championship starts, with Newfoundland and Labrador represented by Megan and Evan Kearley of St. John’s.

The U Sports and mixed doubles events, along with the national small college championship (Newfoundland has no entries) will be played in the Leduc Recreation Centre’s twin arenas, while the Canadian wheelchair championship is scheduled for the eight-sheet BMO Centre.

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