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Howard listed as top seed for pre-Olympic showdown Add to ...

Glenn Howard and his rink from Coldwater, Ont., have emerged as top seed in the major international pre-Olympic curling showdown in Canada.

Howard and Canada begin their bid to defend the 2006 Olympic gold medal won by Newfoundland's Brad Gushue in the Capital One grand slam of curling next month.

The draw schedule for the Grey Power World Cup and the women's Three Nations Cup were published yesterday.

The first leg of the men's 2009-10 grand-slam series will take place Oct. 21-25, 2009, at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga.

The Grey Power World Cup is an elite 14-team international tournament featuring the world's top Olympic qualifiers.

The opening draw of the tournament is set for Oct. 21 at 7:50 p.m. and will feature five Canadian teams in action, including a pair of Olympic medal-winning foursomes.

Howard, Kevin Martin, a silver-medalist in 2002 at Salt Lake City, Randy Ferbey, Kevin Koe and 2006 Turin Olympic medalist Gushue each face an international opponent.

The Grey Power World Cup will feature two sections of seven teams. Teams were distributed based on their standing in the Capital One Order of Merit rankings at the start of the 2009-10 season.

Following the conclusion of round-robin play, the top eight teams qualify for the tournament's quarter-finals on Oct. 24 at 3 p.m. The tournament's semi-finals are at 7 p.m. while the tournament's final will be contested the next day at 1 p.m.

The women's Three Nations Cup will begin on Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. and will feature a total of four Olympic qualifiers and hopefuls, including reigning Olympic bronze medalist Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary; 2009 Roar of the Rings direct qualifier Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon; world championship gold medalist Bingyu Wang of Harbin, China; and 2010 Olympic Winter Games qualifier Eve Muirhead of Perth, Scotland.

The top two women's teams after round-robin play will advance to the final on Oct. 25.

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