Beaverlodge’s Geoff Walker and Team Brad Gushue will have an advantage as they go for their first Brier this spring: home ice. The St. John’s-based curling rink qualified for the event with a win at the Newfoundland and Labrador Men’s Tankard provincials over the weekend.
This year’s national championship is being hosted in St. John’s from March 4th to 12th for the first time since 1972. It will be Gushue’s 11th straight outing, and the sixth for lead Walker.
The team just missed the title last year, dropping the final 9-5 to Kevin Koe. They made it to the semis in 2015.
Alberta’s provincial showdown starts February 8th in Westlock. The Grande Prairie rink of Graham Powell, Tom Sallows, Jordan Steinke, and Chris Wall will be competing.
However, there won’t be any curlers from the Peace region at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts this year. Delia DeJong’s Sexsmith rink and Trisha James’ Fairview squad couldn’t find their way into the win column at the women’s provincials in St. Albert over the weekend.
Beaverlodge’s Stephanie Enright and Grande Prairie’s Cary-Anne McTaggart went in feeling confident after their first ever Grand Slam of Curling win with Casey Scheidegger’s rink earlier this month. However, they fell to Val Sweeting 5-3 in the semis. She was then taken out by Shannon Kleibrink in Sunday’s final.
The Scotties will be held in St. Catherine’s, Ontario from February 18th to 26th. Noticeably absent will be five time winner Jennifer Jones, who also failed to qualify.