A guaranteed shot at a 2014 Olympic curling berth is on the line as some of the top men’s and women’s curling teams face off at the Capital One Canada Cup.
Besides a guaranteed berth for the men’s and women’s champions at the 2013 Olympic curling trials in Winnipeg, the winners also walk away with $26,000, invitations to the Canada Cup next year in Moose Jaw and the 2013 Continental Cup in Penticton, B.C.
The event opens Wednesday with the semi-finals Saturday and finals Sunday.
The men’s teams this year include world champion Jeff Stoughton and top World Curling Tour money winner Mike McEwen, both from Winnipeg, plus three other former world champions: Kevin Martin and Kevin Koe out of Edmonton and Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont.
Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Steve Laycock of Saskatoon round out the men’s event.
On the women’s side, Scotties champion Amber Holland of Kronau, Sask., is joined by defending Canada Cup champ Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon, former world champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg, and Olympic bronze medalist Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary.
Chelsea Carey of Morden, Man., Rachel Homan of Ottawa and Heather Nedohin of Edmonton complete the women’s lineup.
Jacobs, at 26, and Homan, at 22, are the youngest skips at the event.
Martin is a three-time winner of the Canada Cup and Koe and Howard have each won it once. On the women’s side, Kleibrink and Lawton have each won it twice and Jones once.
For the first time in the Canada Cup’s nine-year history, just seven teams on each side will compete in the round robin, down from 10 in prior years.