CurlManitoba Release: Brandon Curling Club will host the Nature’s Bounty Club Championships October 28-31 as 28 Men’s teams and a dozen Women’s teams from across Manitoba gather to vie for an entry in the 2021 Everest Canadian Club Championship.
The event is the first of two to be held this season for the competitive club-level curlers. These October Men’s and Women’s championships are happening because of covid-enforced postponement last spring. The winners in Brandon will have an opportunity to represent Manitoba at the Nationals in Ottawa in late-November. A second club champions’ playoff will take place in March of 2022.
The women’s competition in Brandon offers no fewer than four Canadian and Manitoba champion teams. Marlene Lang’s St. Vital foursome would be considered defending champion as they won in 2020 in Melita but did not have a chance to compete at the national level due to covid-cancellation. With one player change, the Lang team also won the 2015 Manitoba title.
Among the challengers are the last eight Manitoba champion teams. Lang in 2015 and 2020; local favourite Stacey Fordyce and her Brandon team won the 2013 and 2017 Manitoba and Canadian titles; Tracey Andries and her Fort Rouge team won Manitoba and Canada in 2016 and also won Manitoba in 2014; and Deb McCreanor’s LaSalle team were the 2018 Manitoba champions.
In fact only two of the champion teams since the inaugural event in 2009 are not represented in Brandon when you include Lori Pelissier who skipped a team to victory in 2012 and Fordyce’s win in 2010 with a slightly different team.
The 2020 champion Andrew Wickman is absent from the men’s field. However the finalists in Melita, Trevor Loreth and his Granite team, will be among the teams to beat in Brandon. Unlike the Women’s field, only one intact Men’s champion team will compete this weekend – the 2019 champion Derek Blanchard and his Assiniboine Memorial foursome. Riverview’s 2017 champion skip Mark Anderson returns with one member of his former champion team.
Scattered throughout the men’s field are a handful of individuals who have won the Club Champions event in the past along with some former Manitoba junior and mixed champions and many former Junior Men’s and Men’s champion competitors.
The championships have been presented as an open-entry event as it is too early in the season to have tried to conduct qualifying events. In the men’s event this weekend are representatives of 13 rural Manitoba clubs and seven Winnipeg clubs. In the women’s event are six rural Manitoba clubs and four Winnipeg clubs. Overall, 24 different Manitoba curling clubs and communities will be represented in the competitions.