Taking place from Wednesday through Sunday, the U SPORTS/Curling Canada Canada championships are loaded with talent, from a Tim Hortons Brier participant to world and Canadian junior champions.
With neither Carleton or Laurentian Universities in the mix during the 13th rendition of the U SPORTS/Curling Canada University Curling Championships, one thing is for sure: new champions in both men’s and women’s competitions will be crowned. The only questions is which universities will claim the titles amongst the talented field.
On the men’s side Memorial University’s (St. John’s, N.L.) Daniel Bruce returns to the competition after a silver-medal finish last season. He and teammate Ryan McNeil Lamswood are coming off an adventurous couple of weeks after making the final at the 2020 New Holland Canadian Juniors. This was followed by news that Lamswood was named to the Canadian team that will compete at the 2021 World Junior Curling Championships.
But Halifax’s Dalhousie University, led by skip Matthew Manuel, and Edmonton’s University of Alberta squad, backed by 2018 university champion and 2019 Winter Universiade silver-medallist Karsten Sturmay, both made the playoffs last season and return to the event aiming to capture the title.
Other notable names in the field include 2019 world and Canadian junior champion Matt Hall, who played second for Tyler Tardi, and 2019 Canadian Under-18 champion Dylan Niepage, who skips the University of Guelph team in his national university debut.
On the women’s side neither of the teams playing in last season’s gold-medal game is returning, leaving the door open for the 2019 bronze-medal game competitors Dalhousie University and Queen’s University of Kingston, Ont.
Dalhousie’s Kristin Clarke — two-time Canadian and world junior champion — moves from lead to skip this season, while Queen’s University is led by Mary Fay once again, who happens to have been Clarke’s teammate during their Canadian and world junior championship gold-medal run in 2016. In addition to skipping that team, Fay also skipped Canada to a gold medal at the 2016 Youth Winter Olympics.
University of Alberta’s Selena Sturmay (Karsten’s sister) skips her Edmonton-based team at the event and aims to recapture the glory of 2018 when she won the national championship as second. She’s supported by quite the cast, including Abby Marks, Kate Goodhelpsen and Paige Papley, who all represented Canada at the 2019 World Junior Women’s Curling Championship and won silver. Marks also has been named to Team Canada for the 2021 World Junior Championships.
There’s an added bonus to winning this year’s U SPORTS/Curling Canada championships as the winners will represent Canada at the 2021 Winter Universiade in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Brandon University will serve as the host team in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
There will be an eight-team round robin with the top four teams advancing to semifinal and medal games on Sunday, March 15.
CBC Sports will livestream various games from all championships during the preliminary rounds as well as several finals, with select playoff games, including the gold-medal game, broadcasted on CBC TV. You can watch at cbcsports.ca or via the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android. To view the full schedule, click here.
Draw results and event information for all four championships are available here