Women’s Top 10
1. Team Homan
Team Homan had one of the best seasons in the history of curling in 2015-16, winning seven events including three Grand Slams and the Canada Cup while also becoming the first women’s team to play in a men’s Grand Slam. The only black mark on an otherwise unbelievable season was that Team Homan failed to qualify for the Scott Tournament of Hearts, losing in the final of the Ontario Playdowns, a loss that will no doubt serve as extra motivation for Team Homan heading into 2016-17.
2. Team Jones
Team Jones had a solid season, winning twice including the season-ending Champions Cup Grand Slam and finished third at the Scott tournament of Hearts. In the Spring, Jennifer Jones announced that she was expecting her second child but Kaitlyn Lawes is more than capable of filling in at skip if Jones needs to miss events at the start of the season.
3. Team Tirinzoni
Team Tirinzoni played well last year on both sides of the Atlantic winning two events in Europe, winning the Tour Challenge Grand Slam in Canada and making it to five other finals. The one drawback to their season is that Team Tirinzoni failed to qualify for the Europeans or the World Championships which will no doubt be a priority for this season.
4. Team Sweeting
It was a season of ups and downs for Team Sweeting. They won one event and lost in the finals of both the Masters of Curling Grand Slam and the Canada Cup. However, the two-time runners-up, failed to qualify for the Scott Tournament of Hearts and were somewhat inconsistent in the Grand Slams. It will be interesting to see if Team Sweeting can recapture the magic touch they seemed to have in 2014-15.
5. Team Carey
It was quite the first season for Chelsea Carey as skip of her new team. They played a grueling schedule, made the playoffs in only 1 of 6 Grand Slams played, got more cohesive as the year went along and got hot when it counted most to win the Alberta Playdowns and then the Scott Tournament of Hearts. As Carey points out, consistency will be key ot their continued success this season:
6. Team Sidorova
Team Sidorova won two events last season including the European Championships, finished 3rd at the World Championships and climbed two spots in the WCT Order of Merit rankings. It will be interesting to see how many events Team Sidorova plays in North America this season where they played four times last season including three Grand Slam events.
7. Team Muirhead
It has been an interesting off-season for a Team Muirhead that won two events last season including the Players Championship Grand Slam. They added a new lead in Lauren Gray and also welcome Glenn Howard as their new tactical coach. However, the biggest key for 2016-17 might be Anna Sloan’s continuing rehabilitation from a knee injury.
8. Team Einarson
It was a breakout year for Team Einarson in 2015-16. They won the Tour Challenge Grand Slam Tier 2 event, made the semi-finals at three other grand slams, qualified for their first Scott Tournament of Hearts and moved up from 27th to 8th in the WCT Order of Merit. Did last year’s success make Team Einarson even hungrier for this coming season? Time will tell.
9. Team Rocque
It did not take long for the two-time World Junior champion and her new team to earn their spot as one of the elite teams in women’s curling. They won two WCT events, qualified for the playoffs in 4 of the 5 Grand Slams they entered and ended the season ranked in the top ten of the WCT Order of Merit. The outlook for this year, their 2nd year as a team, is a good one.
10. Team Kim
Team Kim won two WCT events in 2015-16, made the semi-finals in one Grand Slam but the team was not a factor in their other Grand Slam appearance and finished the World Championships at 5-6. Team Kim will look to build on last season as they continue to push towards the 2018 Olympic Games in their home country of South Kirea.
5 teams to watch
1. Team Sigfridsson
Team Sigfridsson has made a major change this season replacing Maria Prytz at 4th stone with Cissi Ostlund. The 28-year-old Ostlund, who played 3rd on Annette Norberg’s 2011 World Junior Championship rink, will bring some new energy to a team that has not performed at its best since the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi where they won a silver medal.
2. Team Lawton
Team Lawton will have a new 3rd this season with veteran Beth Iskiw replacing Trish Paulsen. Lawton and her team are coming off a season where they made the semi-finals in a Grand Slam for the first time since 2012-13 but failed to qualify for the Scott Tournament of Hearts for the first time since that same season. The addition of Iskiw should re-focus a team that has the talent to challenge in any event they enter.
3. Krista McCarville
After being mostly away from the game for a few years, Krista McCarville came back with a bang in 2015-16. Team McCarville won 4 WCT events, lost in the final of the Scott Tournament of Hearts and moved up from 130th to 16th in the WCT Order of Merit. McCarville may have snuck up on a few teams last year and it will be interesting to see if they can progress even further up the rankings this season.
4. Binia Feltscher
For Team Feltscher it seems to be feast or famine. In a season where they only made the playoffs in half of their events, they ended up with four victories including their 2nd World Championship in three years. That being said, to increase their ranking they will need to be more consistent, especially at the Grand Slams where they failed to make the playoffs and won a total of only 3 games in three events.
5. Team Sinclair
Jamie Sinclair starts this season with a completely different lineup than she had in 2015-16. It was a somewhat inconsistent season for Team Sinclair last year as they started the year ranked 21st in the WCT Order of Merit but start this season ranked 47th. This season Sinclair is reunited with her former skip Alexandra Carlson who won a U.S. Championship as 3rd for Erika Brown in 2015 and who will play 3rd for Sinclair this teason.