Casey Scheidegger calls to her sweepers during the 12th draw of the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge in Regina on Sept. 8. Photo courtesy of Anil Mungal/Sportsnet.
Northern Alberta is invited to a pre-Olympic bash.
The Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling (GSOC) Meridian Canadian Open is coming to the Encana Arena in Camrose, Alta., from Jan. 16-21. Eleven Olympic squads, including Canada’s Team Homan and Team Koe, will compete against the world’s strongest curlers at the third major and fourth event of the GSOC tour.
Casey Scheidegger, who skips a World Curling Tour (WCT) team out of Lethbridge, Alta., said the major will serve as a great chance for those 11 groups to test the waters and see how they compare to their future opponents in PyeongChang, South Korea, this February. She said it will also provide a strong test for the other 21 teams involved, counting her own, that will be vying for a championship.
“It’s nice to be invited back and to be able to defend your title,” said Scheidegger, who captured the Meridian Canadian Open championship in North Battleford, Sask., last January in her team’s GSOC debut. “We have that little bit of extra drive that we’d like to at least make the playoffs there and hopefully repeat as a champion.”
The Meridian Canadian Open will feature 32 men’s and women’s teams battling through a triple-knockout preliminary round for one of the eight playoff spots available in each division. Taking center stage among this group are 2017 Tim Horton’s Brier champion Brad Gushue as well as 2014 Olympic gold medallists Brad Jacobs and Jennifer Jones.
Scheidegger said the competition on the WCT this season has been especially tough due to the many squads using this past fall and early winter as a tune-up for the Olympic Games, but the experience they’ve gained so far has been incredible. She said their top finish this season came in a finals loss to Jones at the GSOC Boost National in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., on Nov. 19.
The skip noted they couldn’t be happier with their performance at that event and the hope is they can match or exceed it next weekend.
“Camrose will be great because it is a curling community,” said Scheidegger, whose team includes third Cary-Anne McTaggart, second Jessie Scheidegger and lead Stephanie Enright. “We’re looking forward to it. I think we’ll see some really great crowds when we’re there like we did in Lloydminster (for October’s GSOC Masters) and North Battleford last year.”