By Al Cameron of the Canadian Curling Association:
The Canadian Mixed Curling Championship gets underway on Monday at the North Bay Granite Club.
It’s the 52nd edition of the Mixed, which began in Toronto in 1964 and has been won a leading 10 times by Alberta, the latest coming last season when Darren Moulding skipped his team to victory in Ottawa.
This year, the championship has undergone significant format and competition changes. Now, 14 teams (10 provinces plus Northern Ontario, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon, representing all of the Canadian Curling Association’s Member Associations), instead of 12, will compete in the main draw. They have been seeded and separated into two pools of seven teams (based on their Mixed win-loss records the past three years) and first play a round robin within their respective pools.
At the conclusion of the round robin, the top four teams in each pool advance to the championship round, with the teams playing the teams from the opposite pool, carrying forward their win-loss records for only those games involving the advancing teams.
Meanwhile, the bottom three teams in each pool will go to the Seeding Pool, where they will compete against the three teams from the opposite pool. The teams carry forward their win-loss record only from the games involving the other two teams in their round-robin pool. This will determine seedings for the 2016 Canadian Mixed in Toronto.
At the conclusion of the championship round on Friday, two semifinals will take place on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. ET, pitting 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. The two winners then advance to the final Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. while the two losing teams meet in the bronze-medal game at the same time.
In addition, all games throughout the competition are now eight (not 10) ends. Also, no tiebreaker games will be played at the conclusion of either round. Instead, any ties for position will be determined by accumulated pre-game Last-Shot-Draw results.
The winning team will represent Canada at the 2015 World Mixed Curling Championship, Sept. 12-19 at a site to be announced by the World Curling Federation. For the past two years, the winning team instead had earned two (two-person) berths into the Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials.
Among the notable participants this year is Jamie Koe of Yellowknife. Koe, an eight-time Brier veteran who will be making his fourth Mixed appearance, will be seeking a first title for Northwest Territories. Nine-time Scotties skip Kerry Galusha, his twin sister, will play third.
Nova Scotia skip Brent MacDougall of Halifax was the Canadian Mixed runner-up at Mount Royal, Que., in 2012, losing the final to Ontario’s Cory Heggestad, after first having to qualify his province for the main draw in a pre-event double knockout.
Other skips include former Brier competitors Gary Oke of Newfoundland and Labrador, Scott Jones of New Brunswick, Colin Koivula of Northern Ontario and Jamie Newson of Prince Edward Island. Saskatchewan second Chris Haichert is a former Canadian and world junior champion (2003).
Every province, plus host Northern Ontario, has won at least one Canadian Mixed championship since 1964. Northern Ontario has three titles, the last by Chris Johnson in 1997 in Kindersley, Saskatchewan.
Over the years, the Mixed has been won by such well-known curlers as Jeff Stoughton, Rick Folk, Rick Lang, Kevin Koe, Mark Nichols, Colleen Jones, Peter Gallant, Barry Fry, Robert Campbell, Paul Flemming, John-Michel Ménard and Shannon Kleibrink, who became the first, and so far, only female to win the Mixed as skip, in 2004 in Schumacher (Timmins), Ontario.
Saskatchewan’s Larry McGrath is the only three-time winning skip, having won the Mixed in 1967, 1968 and 1971.
For media requests during the event, contact Danny Lamoureux on site at 1-866-761-2875 or[email protected].
Draw scores/results will be immediately available on the Canadian Curling Association’s website, www.curling.ca.