TEAM MCEWEN WINS 2022 VITERRA CHAMPIONSHIP

Mike McEwen and his West St. Paul team have won the 2022 Viterra Manitoba Men’s Curling Championship. McEwen, with third Reid Carruthers, second Derek Samagalski, lead Colin Hodgson and Coach Rob Meakin won a pair of games Sunday in Selkirk to earn their second title as a team. Team McEwen had previously won the championship together in 2019.

(l-r) Colin Hodgson, Derek Samagalski, Coach Rob Meakin, Reid Carruthers, Mike McEwen
CurlManitoba Photo

Entering the championship as the #1 seed and favourite to win, Team McEwen had lost the Page 1-1 Playoff game Saturday evening to Colton Lott and his Winnipeg Beach team. Lott was supported by his brother Tanner at third, with second Kyle Doering and lead Emerson Klimpke.

The loss put them in the Sunday morning semi-final game which they won, with a last shot draw, 10-9 over Ryan Wiebe – Fort Rouge, with Ty Dillello, Sean Flatt and Adam Flatt.

Colton Lott`s finalist team impressed those watching at the Selkirk CC as a young team with a great future.

The afternoon final against Team Lott opened in the Winnipeg Beach team’s favour with a two on the first end. McEwen came back to score two on the second end and began to take control when the veteran team forced their younger opponents to a single on the third.

After blanks on the fourth and fifth ends, Team McEwen scored a three on the sixth end to lead 6-3 enroute to an 8-3, eight end victory.

This year’s victory is the fourth Manitoba men’s title for Mike McEwen, who won as skip in 2016, 2017 and 2019, and Hodgson, who was at lead for Carruthers in 2015 and 2018 as well as for McEwen in 2019. For Samagalski, it is a fifth Manitoba men’s title after he won as lead for Rob Fowler in 2012 and as second for Carruthers in 2015 and 2018 as well as for McEwen in 2019.

It is a seventh Manitoba men’s title for Carruthers who won three times at second for Jeff Stoughton, including a Brier and World title in 2011 followed by Manitoba wins in 2013 and 2014. He also won as skip in 2015 and 2018 and as McEwen’s third in 2019.

In addition, McEwen owns a pair of Manitoba Junior Men’s titles and a Manitoba Mixed title; Carruthers has a Junior Men’s and a Mixed championship and Samagalski has won a Mixed and a Mixed Doubles final game.

Team McEwen earns the opportunity to represent Manitoba at the Tim Hortons Brier in Lethbridge in March.

LOTT ADVANCES TO VITERRA CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL; MCEWEN – WIEBE SEMI-FINAL IN SELKIRK

Colton Lott

(CurlManitoba Release – Saturday Evening) Colton Lott and his Winnipeg Beach team-mates) Kyle Doering, Tanner Lott, and Emerson Klimpke are a win away from representing Manitoba at the 2022 Tim Hortons Brier as Manitoba champions.

Team Lott posted a pair of wins Saturday at the Viterra Championship in Selkirk; a 9-3 victory over William Lyburn (Granite) on the morning draw to advance to the Page 1-1 Playoff game and then a late 8-7 victory in that game over 2019 champion Mike McEwen (West St. Paul).

The Winnipeg Beach foursome was tied 4-4 with McEwen after five ends and led 6-5 after seven ends but trailed 7-6 coming home. They blanked the ninth to hold last rock coming home but didn’t need to throw it. They will play in the Manitoba Men’s Curling Championship final game, Sunday at 2:00PM.

Ryan Wiebe

In the 9AM semi-final, McEwen will take on Ryan Wiebe and his Fort Rouge team who won three games Saturday in Selkirk. Qualifying through the “B” side of the Playoff Round, Team Wiebe defeated 2020 champion Jason Gunnlaugson and 2015 World Junior champion skip Braden Calvert. They defeated Corey Chambers (Fort Garry) 7-4 in the Page 2-2 Playoff game.

THE CHAMPIONSHIP PAGE PLAYOFF
PAGE 1-1 GAME (Winner to the final, Loser to the semi-final)
Colton Lott (Winnipeg Beach) 8-7 over Mike McEwen (West St. Paul)

PAGE 2-2 GAME (Winner to the semi-final, Loser eliminated)
Ryan Wiebe (Ft. Rouge) 7-4 over Corey Chambers (Ft. Garry) 

PLAYOFF ROUND –  2PM SATURDAY
“B” Side (Winners advance to Page Playoff Championship Round – Losers eliminated))
Ryan Wiebe (Ft. Rouge) 6-5 over Braden Calvert (Assiniboine Memorial)
Corey Chambers (Ft. Garry) 7-2 over William Lyburn (Granite)

PLAYOFF ROUND – 9AM SATURDAY“A” Side (Winners advance to Page Playoff Championship Round – Losers to “B” Side)
Mike McEwen (West St. Paul) 7-6 over Braden Calvert (Assiniboine Memorial)
Colton Lott (Winnipeg Beach) 9-3 over William Lyburn (Granite)

“B” Side ( Winners move on – Losers eliminated)
Corey Chambers (Ft. Garry) 5-4 over Jacques Gauthier (Assiniboine Memorial)
Ryan Wiebe (Ft. Rouge) 7-4 over Jason Gunnlaugson (Morris)

Braden Calvert

(CurlManitoba Release – Friday Evening) PLAYOFF ROUND UNDERWAY IN VITERRA CHAMPIONSHIP: A pair of World Junior champion skips faced off Friday night in Selkirk in the opening game of the 2022 Viterra Championship Playoff Round. The game between Braden Calvert (Assiniboine Memorial), the 2015 world champion, and clubmate Jacques Gauthier, the 2020 world champion, saw Calvert score deuces each of the first four times he had last rock. The third of them, on the fifth end, gave Team Calvert a 6-5 lead as they went on to a 9-5 victory.

Mike McEwen

For Mike McEwen and his top seeded West St. Paul team, the score sheet shows all singles. It was the fourth one, a steal on the extra end, which gave the 2019 champions a 4-3 win over Corey Chambers (Fort Garry).

Jason Gunnlaugson’s Morris foursome gave up a pair of deuces to start their game against Colton Lott (Winnipeg Beach). Team Lott never trailed in their 8-3 win over the 2020 champions.

William Lyburn won three Friday

In the fourth game, William Lyburn (Granite) never led in his game with Ryan Wiebe (Fort Rouge) until Team Lyburn stole a pair coming home to win 7-6.

At 9:00AM Saturday in Selkirk, on the “A” side of the Playoff Round, Lyburn will play Lott and Calvert will play McEwen. Winners of these two games will move on to the Page Playoff format Championship. In the last chance “B” side games, Gunnlaugson will play Wiebe and Gauthier will play Chambers.

Following are the Friday results in the 2022 Viterra Championship.

PLAYOFF ROUND – First Games (New Double Knockout)

7:45PM: William Lyburn (Granite) 7-6 over Ryan Wiebe (Fort Rouge)
7:45PM: Colton Lott (Winnipeg Beach)  8-3 over Jason Gunnlaugson (Morris)
7:45PM: Braden Calvert (Assiniboine Memorial) 9-5 over Jacques Gauthier (Assiniboine Memorial)
7:45PM: Mike McEwen (West St. Paul) vs Corey Chambers (Fort Garry)

 “B” Side Qualifying Games (Winners advancing to the Friday evening playoff round – losers eliminated)
4:00PM: Jacques Gauthier (Assiniboine Memorial) 7-2 over Justin Richter (Beausejour)
4:00PM: William Lyburn (Granite) 7-6 over Riley Smith (Assiniboine Memorial)

4:00PM: Jason Gunnlaugson (Morris) 8-4 over JT Ryan (Assiniboine Memorial)
4:00PM: Corey Chambers (Fort Garry) 6-3 over Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge)

“B” Side (Winners play on – Losers eliminated)
12:15PM:  Justin Richter (Beausejour) 10-4 over Sean Grassie (Deer Lodge)
12:15PM: Corey Chambers (Fort Garry) 7-6  over Brett Walter (Assiniboine Memorial)
12:15PM: William Lyburn (Granite) 8-5 over Daniel Birchard (Pembina)
12:15PM: JT Ryan (Assiniboine Memorial) 9-4 over Jack Hykaway (Pembina)

“A” Side Qualifying Games (Winners advancing to the Friday evening playoff round – losers to “B” Qualifying Games)
8:30AM: Colton Lott (Winnipeg Beach) 7-5 over Riley Smith (Assiniboine Memorial)
8:30AM: Ryan Wiebe (Fort Rouge) 5-4 over Jason Gunnlaugson (Morris)
8:30AM: Mike McEwen (West St. Paul) 4-2 over Jacques Gauthier (Assiniboine Memorial)
8:30AM: Braden Calvert (Assiniboine Memorial) 7-1 over Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge)

(CurlManitoba Release) VITERRA CHAMPIONSHIP NOW A FIELD OF SIXTEEN: An even dozen teams have been eliminated from the 2022 Viterra Championship in Selkirk, leaving 16 teams still in the chase for the Manitoba Men’s Curling Championship.

The first four qualifiers for the Playoff Round will be identified on the early morning draw Friday. The other 12 teams will play the 12:15PM and 4PM draws with four of them advancing as well.

There are still eight unbeaten teams, including all four of the top four seeds. They’ll meet in the Friday 8:30AM draw.  The match-ups are:

#1 seed Mike McEwen (West St. Paul) vs Jacques Gauthier (Assiniboine Memorial)
#2 seed Jason Gunnlaugson (Morris) vs Ryan Wiebe (Fort Rouge)
#3 seed Colton Lott (Winnipeg Beach) vs Riley Smith (Assiniboine Memorial)
#4 Braden Calvert (Assiniboine Memorial) vs Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge

Two of the most dramatic games of the day involved William Lyburn and his Granite team. On the 12:15 draw, Riley Smith needed to win measures on the tenth end, for two to tie, and again on the eleventh, for a steal of one and a 7-6 victory over Lyburn. On the late draw, trailing 6-0 after three ends, Lyburn bounced back to tie Dean North (Carman) 7-7 coming home and stayed alive with a steal of two for a 9-7 win.

Following are the Thursday results in the 2022 Viterra Championship.

“A” Side (Winners advancing to the Friday morning qualifying game)
12:15PM: Jacques Gauthier (Assiniboine Memorial) 7-3 over Sean Grassie (Deer Lodge)
12:15PM: Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge) 11-6 over Corey Chambers (Fort Garry)
12:15PM: Riley Smith (Assiniboine Memorial) 7-6 over  William Lyburn (Granite)
12:15PM: Ryan Wiebe (Fort Rouge) 5-4 over JT Ryan (Assiniboine Memorial)

8:30AM: Mike McEwen (West St. Paul) 7-2 over Richard Muntain (Granite)

“B” Side (Winners play on – Losers eliminated)
8:15PM: Sean Grassie (Deer Lodge) 8-2 over Sam Antila (Burntwood
8:15PM: Corey Chambers (Fort Garry) 9-3 over Jeff Stewart (Gladstone)
8:15PM: William Lyburn (Granite) 9-7 over Dean North (Carman)
8:15PM: JT Ryan (Assiniboine Memorial) 8-1 over Randy Neufeld (LaSalle)

4:00PM: Jack Hykaway (Pembina) 7-4 over Grant Shewfelt (Baldur)
4:00PM: Daniel Birchard (Pembina) 10-9 over Ryan Thomson (Morden)
4:00PM: Brett Walter (Assiniboine Memorial) 8-1 over Graham Freeman (Virden)
4:00PM: Justin Richter (Beausejour) 11-2 over Richard Muntain (Granite)

8:30AM: Ryan Thomson (Morden) 9-2 over Kelly Marnoch (Carberry)
8:30AM: Graham Freeman (Virden) 11-4 over Graham Freeman (Virden)
8:30AM: Justin Richter (Beausejour) 9-6 over Kyle McCannell (Pilot Mound)

(Thursday, February 10: 3:30PM) DRAMATIC WINS FOR WIEBE & SMITH ON DRAW #6 IN SELKIRK: The noon draw at the 2022 Viterra Championship in Selkirk had four “A” side games so no eliminations but among the four a last shot victory and a dramatic extra end victory.

JT Ryan (Assiniboine Memorial) and Ryan Wiebe (Ft Rouge) were tied coming home in their match. Former Junior Champ JT Ryan made a fine last rock hit and roll to the button, buried. Ryan Wiebe won the game 5-4 with his last shot past the centre guard, a tap-back for victory.

Second victory for Ryan Wiebe (foreground)

On the sheet beside, Riley Smith (Assiniboine Memorial) stole an extra end on a measure to beat William Lyburn (Granite). Smith blanked the ninth with a big weight double kill then needed a measure for the tie 6-6 on end ten when his last draw slid deep into the 12 foot circle. On the extra end, Smith drew the back half of the four foot behind Lyburn’s stone. A rock in front of it meant Lyburn needed to gently move two stones but his draw-tap was light and Smith won his second measure and the game.

Jacques Gauthier (Assiniboine Memorial) was a 7-3 winner over Sean Grassie (Deer Lodge) and Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge) beat former Grassie teammate Corey Chambers (Fort Garry) 11-6.

Top seed Mike McEwen and third Reid Carruthers look on as Richard Muntain calls line. Team McEwen won their opener Thursday morning

On the early draw Thursday, top seeded Mike McEwen and his West St. Paul team won their opening game of the 2022 Viterra Championship in Selkirk. With the first day bye thanks to their top seed position, Team McEwen played Richard Muntain (Granite) who had won their opener yesterday but didn’t mount a significant challenge. McEwen blanked the first two ends and took control of the game with two on the third enroute to a 7-2 win.

Three early “B” side games saw three teams eliminated. Kelly Marnoch (Carberry) bowed out in 9-2 loss to Ryan Thomson (Morden), Kyle McCannell (Pilot Mound) lost to 9-6 to Justin Richter (Beausejour), and Mark Lukowich (Ft Rouge) lost 11-4 to Graham Freeman (Virden).

(CurlManitoba Release) PAST CHAMPIONS LEAD THE WAY ON DAY ONE OF THE VITERRA CHAMPIONSHIP: Among the 28 teams who began play Wednesday in the Viterra Championship in Selkirk, there are no fewer than 13 skips who have won at least one previous Manitoba championship. Eleven skipped those earlier championship teams. Two won Manitoba championships at the third position.

Twelve of those former champions played on Day #1 of the Manitoba Men’s Championship and collectively posted a record of 9 wins and 5 losses.

On the late draw Wednesday, three of the top four seeds played their first games after the seeding by the competing teams gave them a first round bye.

Defending Manitoba champion and #2 seed Jason Gunnlaugson (Morris) opened his defense of the title with a 9-1, 6-end victory over Grant Shewfelt (Baldur)

Former Manitoba Mixed Doubles champion and #3 seed Colton Lott (Winnipeg Beach) jumped out to a 4-1 lead over Daniel Birchard (Pembina) at the 5th end break and went on to a 7-3 victory.

A first game win for Braden Calvert (foreground) while Brett Walter had a win and a loss on Day #1

Tied 3-3 after eight ends with clubmate Brett Walter, former World Junior champion and #4 seed Braden Calvert (Assiniboine Memorial) scored a deuce on the ninth end but Walter forced an extra end with two of his own coming home. With last rock, Calvert won the game 6-5. Walter, who is the reigning Manitoba Junior champion, had a win and a loss in his two games on opening day.

Top seeded Mike McEwen and his 2019 Manitoba Viterra Championship winning team will play their first game Thursday morning on the 8:30AM draw against Richard Muntain (Granite).

In the fourth late draw game, the first “B” side game; Jack Hykaway (Pembina) bested Evan Martin (Fort Rouge) by a 7-4 score. The second loss of the day for the Martin team, skipped by Travis Bale, means they are eliminated.

Throughout the first three draws of the day, reigning World Junior Champion Jacques Gauthier (who was a Manitoba Junior champion third but won the World Juniors after winning Canada as a Wild Card entry); Manitoba Junior Champions Brett Walter, JT Ryan and Riley Smith (also a Manitoba Junior champion third); U-18 Champion Jordon McDonald; and former Canadian Mixed champion (and World Mixed Doubles Bronze Medallist) Sean Grassie; all won their first games of the competition.

Former World Senior silver medallist Randy Neufeld and former Manitoba Men’s champion Mark Lukowich lost their first games. Former Manitoba Junior champion Travis Bale, skipping the Evan Martin entry, lost a pair of games.

Following are the results of the first three draws on the first day of play in the 2022 Viterra Championship.

4PM DRAW:
Richard Muntain (Granite) 10-4 over Sam Antila (Burntwood)
Sean Grassie (Deer Lodge) 7-4 over Justin Richter (Beausejour)
Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge) 7-5 over Graham Freeman (Virden)
Jacques Gauthier (Assiniboine Memorial) 8-3 over Kyle McCannell (Pilot Mound)

12:15PM DRAW:
Corey Chambers (Fort Garry) 8-3 over Mark Lukowich (Fort Rouge)
Brett Walter (AMCC) 7-6 over Jeff Stewart (Gladstone).
Riley Smith (AMCC) 8-3 over Ryan Thomson (Morden)
William Lyburn (Granite) 6-5 over  Kelly Marnoch (Carberry)

8:30AM DRAW
Ryan Wiebe (Fort Rouge) 9-3 over Jack Hykaway (Pembina)
JT Ryan (Assiniboine Memorial) 6-2 over Evan Martin (Fort Rouge)
Daniel Birchard (Pembina) 8-3 over Dean North (Carman)
William Lyburn (Granite) 6-5 over Kelly Marnoch (Carberry)

(February 9, 8PM) FIRST ROUND WIN EARNS MUNTAIN A DATE WITH MCEWEN: Richard Muntain and his Granite team opened play today in the 2022 Viterra Championship in Selkirk with a victory over Sam Antila and his Thompson team. The first round victory advances Muntain and his team to a Thursday morning game against top seed Mike McEwen (West St. Paul).

Richard Muntain (foreground) will play top seed Mike McEwen Thursday morning

Muntain will be hoping there is an advantage for him in the fact his team has now played a game on the Selkirk Curling Club ice while McEwen’s top seed position got his team bye and they’ll therefore be playing their first game.

Muntain will also be hoping the McEwen foursome’s practice schedules has been disrupted by last week’s coaching assignments at the national Scotties for both Reid Carruthers and Colin Hodgson.

He’ll know by 11AM Thursday!

A first round win for Jacques Gauthier (foreground)

In other games on Draw #3 at 4PM in Selkirk, a pair of Deer Lodge teams posted victories. Sean Grassie (Deer Lodge), a former Manitoba finalist, won 7-4 over Justin Richter (Beausejour) and Jordon McDonald (Der Lodge) beat Graham Freeman (Virden) 7-5.

In the fourth 4PM game, Jacques Gauthier (Assiniboine Memorial) defeated Kyle McCannell (Pilot Mound) 8-3. Due to pandemic cancellation, Gauthier is still the reigning world junior champion. It has rarely occurred that a world junior champion has held that title and next-level provincial title at the same time.

Mackenzie Zacharias accomplished the feat with her Manitoba Scotties win in Carberry in December. Gauthier has taken the first step along the difficult road to matching the accomplishment.

A first round win for Daniel Birchard (foreground)

(February 9, 5PM) VITERRA CHAMPIONSHIP UNDERWAY: FIRST GAME WINNERS ADVANCE TO PLAY TOP SEEDS: For the first time in almost a quarter of a century, the Manitoba Men’s Curling Championship is underway on curling club ice. The Viterra Championship, usually played in an arena and scheduled this year for the Selkirk Recreation Centre, was moved to the Selkirk Curling Club in a covid-related decision.

The last time curling rink ice was used was 1998 in Virden when teams played their first day games split between the curling rink and arena. In 1999, in Portage, all games in the event were played in that community’s arena.

After the first two draws of preliminary round play in the 2022 Viterra Championship, general assessment is that CurlManitoba Ice Technician Greg Ewasko and his crew of Matt Rankine, Dale Lott and club volunteers have been able to approximate arena conditions. The ice is keen with a predictable curl – all you need to determine a champion.

The first two draws went pretty much according to the form chart with only one game of eight which might be considered an upset. On the opening draw, former World Senior silver medallist Randy Neufeld and his LaSalle team were defeated 7-6 by Grant Shewfelt and his Baldur team. Tied coming home, Shewfelt had an open centre line hit for the victory.

Ryan Wiebe (Ft Rouge) jumped out to a 7-0 three end lead over Jack Hykaway (Pembina) and cruised to a 9-3 win. The Hykaway foursome, with Richard Hawkins throwing first and calling the game, will be back on the ice on the late draw Wednesday in their “B” side elimination game as they got the cruel spot in the draw which will eliminate one team on day one fo the competition.

Former provincial champion JT Ryan (Assiniboine Memorial) beat Evan Martin (Ft Rouge) 6-2 and Daniel Birchard beat Dean North (Carman) 8-3. The Martin drops in that evening draw elimination game against Hykaway.

A first round win for Corey Chambers (foreground)

On the noon draw, Corey Chambers (Ft Garry) Brett Walter (AMCC), Riley Smith (AMCC), and William Lyburn (Granite) were first game winners.

Chambers posted an 8-3 win over former Manitoba Men’s champion Mark Lukowich (Ft Rouge). Walter was a 7-6 victor over Jeff Stewart (Gladstone). Smith beat Ryan Thomson (Morden) 8-3.

In their first game playing together Lyburn and his new third Scott McDonald were tied 5-5 coming home and didn’t need their last rock in beating Kelly Marnoch (Carberry) 6-5. The game was the kind of close affair which Lyburn would have wanted for the first playing with McDonald. They scored a deuce on the third end and played with a one or two point lead for the entire game, until Marnoch’s deuce on the ninth tied the game and gave Lyburn last rock coming home.

The early results set up 8:15PM Wednesday “A” side games against the top seeds. Grant Shewfelt (Baldur) will play #2 seed Jason Gunnlaugson (Morris), Daniel Birchard (Pembina) will play Colton Lott (Winnipeg Beach), and Brett Walter (Assiniboine Memorial) will play #4 Braden Calvert (Assiniboine Memorial). Top seeded Mike McEwen (West St. Paul) will play his first game at 8:30AM Thursday against the winner of the 4PM game between Sam Antila (Burntwood) and Richard Muntain (Granite).

(Tuesday, February 8) DRAW SET FOR VITERRA CHAMPIONSHIP, MCEWEN TOP SEED: The draw has been published for the Viterra Championship, the Manitoba Men’s Curling Championship which gets underway Wednesday (Feb 9) in the Selkirk Curling Club. (Check the complete draw at curlmanitoba.org)

The draw format is identical to recent past years – double knockout preliminary round; 8-team double knockout playoff round; 4-team Page Playoff championship round. Because the event is being played with 28 teams rather than the usual 32, the top four seeds will all get a first round bye and will play their opening games at 8:15PM Wednesday against teams who win their openers earlier in the day.

The top four seeds are skipped by Mike McEwen (West St. Paul), Jason Gunnlaugson (Morris), Tanner Lott (Winnipeg Beach), and Braden Calvert (Assiniboine Memorial).

The match-ups on the first three draws Wednesday follow.

8:30AM: Randy Neufeld (LaSalle) vs Grant Shewfelt (Baldur)
8:30AM: Jack Hykaway (Pembina) vs Ryan Wiebe (Fort Rouge)
8:30AM: JT Ryan (Assiniboine Memorial) vs Evan Martin (Fort Rouge)
8:30AM: Dean North (Carman) vs Daniel Birchard (Pembina)

12:15PM: Riley Smith (Assiniboine Memorial) vs Ryan Thomson (Morden)
12:15PM: Jeff Stewart (Gladstone) vs Brett Walter (Assiniboine Memorial)
12:15PM: William Lyburn (Granite) vs Kelly Marnoch (Carberry)
12:15PM: Mark Lukowich (Fort Rouge) vs Corey Chambers (Fort Garry)

4:00PM: Jordon McDonald (Deer Lodge) vs Graham Freeman (Virden)
4:00PM: Sam Antila (Burntwood) vs Richard Muntain (Granite)
4:00PM: Kyle McCannell (Pilot Mound) vs Jacques Gauthier (Assiniboine Memorial)
4:00PM: Sean Grassie (Deer Lodge) vs Justin Richter (Beausejour)

8:15PM: #2 Jason Gunnlaugson (Morris) vs Winner (Shewfelt-Neufeld)
8:15PM: #3 Tanner Lott (Winnipeg Beach) vs Winner (North-Birchard)
8:15PM: #4 Braden Calvert (Assiniboine Memorial) vs Winner (Stewart-Walter)

THURSDAY:
8:30AM: #1 Mike McEwen (West St. Paul) vs Winner (Antila-Muntain)

A limited number of spectators will be allowed in the upstairs clubrooms of the Selkirk Curling Club. Tickets can be purchased via the CurlManitoba website at https://curlmanitoba.org/viterra-championship/ . Spectators will be required to leave the building between draws. All spectators are expected to be fully vaccinated and to follow all health protocols requested by the Selkirk Curling Club, including the wearing of masks.

VITERRA CHAMPIONSHIP DATE, VENUE CHANGED

SUPPOSED TO START TODAY but announced earlier in the month…CurlManitoba’s Viterra Championship will be played in the Selkirk Curling Club, February 9-13.

At the time of cancellation, 28 teams had qualified for the Viterra Championship. Only the Brandon Bonspiel (one berth) and Manitoba Open (three berths) had yet to be determined. The championship will go ahead with the 28 teams already identified – logical to assume the top four seeds will get first round byes. Hard to say if that’s a good thing or not – ice conditions will dictate whether there is an advantage to playing a lesser team in the opening round as a chance to acclimatize!

The championship carries with it an invitation to represent Manitoba at the Tim Hortons Brier in Lethbridge in early March. A very few Manitoba teams have a chance to move up the CTRS list to earn a shot at one of the three available wildcard entries in the Brier.

Brad Gushue’s Olympic team is currently #1 and appears to be so far ahead on the CTRS list that they would be a certain wildcard entry. However, the standing rule is that it is highest ranking CTRS teams after provincial playdowns and Team Gushue opted out. However, the Nfld-Labradon provincial men’s was canceled. If not re-scheduled, it would seem to open the door for them to come home from the Olympics and play the Brier as either the appointed NL rep or as a wildcard team.

Kevin Koe (#2) has already won Alberta and Brendan Bottcher (#7) is Team Canada so they are not part of the wild card discussion.

Status of Brad Jacobs (#4) and Glenn Howard (#5) is up in the air. Currently they are certain wild card selections. The Northern Ontario playoff has been postponed with no re-schedule date. When the Scotties starts this week Krista McCarville’s team has been selected as the Northern Ontario rep – the parallel men’s decision would be to select Team Jacobs and remove them from the wildcard discussion.

Howard may still have to play the Ontario Tankard. It has been re-scheduled to February 9-13, the same time as Manitoba’s Viterra event.

Jason Gunnlaugson’s team is currently ranked #5 so they currently hold the third wild card position. Mike McEwen’s foursome is #8 behind Matt Dunstone (#6). Dunstone’s status will also be determined February 9-13 when the Saskatchewan Tankard playoff occurs. If he doesn’t win Saskatchewan, he needs a high finish to move up the CTRS into a wild card spot.

John Epping is currently #9. Like Howard in Ontario, Dunstone in Saskatchewan, and McEwen in Manitoba, if they don’t win they need a high finish to be in the wildcard conversation.

Of the lesser ranked Manitoba teams, it seems likely only one has even a remote shot at the wild card spots. Tanner & Colton Lott, Kyle Doering and Emerson Klimpke, still listed as Team Pat Simmons, are at #13. If they were to lose the Manitoba final, depending on results in other provinces, they might (but seems unlikely) jump far enough up the list.

The others, starting with Braden Calvert (#18) and Riley Smith (#19) have one chance of a trip to Brier – they have to win in Selkirk.

The teams qualified for Manitoba’s Viterra Championship represent curling clubs and communities across Manitoba. They are:

Assiniboine Memorial: Braden Calvert
Assiniboine Memorial: Jacques Gauthier
Assiniboine Memorial: JT Ryan
Assiniboine Memorial: Riley Smith
Assiniboine Memorial: Brett Walter
Baldur: Grant Shewfelt
Beausejour: Justin Richter
Burntwood: Sam Antila
Carberry: Kelly Marnoch
Carman: Dean North
Deer Lodge: Sean Grassie
Deer Lodge: Jordon McDonald
Fort Garry: Corey Chambers
Fort Rouge: Mark Lukowich
Fort Rouge: Evan Martin
Fort Rouge: Ryan Wiebe
Gladstone: Jeff Stewart
Granite: William Lyburn
Granite: Richard Muntain
LaSalle: Randy Neufeld
Morden: Ryan Thomson
Morris: Jason Gunnlaugson
Pembina: Daniel Birchard
Pembina: Jack Hykaway
Pilot Mound: Kyle McCannell
Virden: Graham Freeman
West St. Paul: Mike McEwen
Winnipeg Beach: Colton Lott