The Canadian Curling Association has unveiled the 12 rinks that will be part of the organization's National Team Program for the 2014-15 season.
The six men's teams are skipped by Olympic champion Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Mike McEwen of Winnipeg, John Morris of Calgary, Brad Gushue of St. John's, Kevin Koe of Calgary and Glenn Howard of Penetanguishene, Ont.
The six women's teams are skipped by Olympic champion Jennifer Jones of Winnipeg, Rachel Homan of Ottawa, Stefanie Lawton of Saskatoon, Val Sweeting of Edmonton, Sherry Middaugh of Coldwater, Ont., Heather Nedohin of Sherwood Park, Alta.
The teams qualified for the National Team Program (NTP) based on their standings on the Order of Merit following last season.
"The depth of curling talent in our country is amazing, and the international results continue to prove that," CCA chief executive officer Greg Stremlaw said Thursday in a release. "We were the only country in the world to have no team finish outside of the top six in traditional four-player world and Olympic championship events last season, and the National Team Program has played a significant role in those ongoing successes."
As part of the NTP, the teams will have funding to cover some competition and training costs. They will also be able to access high-performance resources in the areas of sports science, sports medicine and coaching from either inside or outside of the CCA.
"As always, the objective of the National Team Program is to achieve podium results at international competitions, and we're excited about the potential of the group of athletes that is part of the NTP for the 2014-15 season to continue to maintain those high expectations," said CCA high-performance director Gerry Peckham. "Thanks to this program, these teams, based on their proven performance levels, will be given every competitive advantage possible to keep Canada contending for international medals."
All 12 teams will be participating in the Dec. 3-7 Canada Cup of Curling at Encana Arena in Camrose, Alta. It's the opening event of the CCA's Season of Champions.