Outside of the Tim Hortons Brier and the Scotties tournament of Hearts, the Home Hardware Canada Cup is typically the most anticipated event on Curling Canada’s yearly schedule. This year, the Canada Cup will be contested in Brandon with a direct entry into the Olympic Trials awaiting the winners of both the men’s and women’s event.
Last year, Team Koe of Calgary and Team Homan of Ottawa won the Canada Cup and secured their sports for the Olympic Trials that will take place in Ottawa from December 2nd through December 1oth, 2017.
This year’s Home Hardware Canada Cup brings together 7 of the top men’s and women’s team in the country. From The Hack offers a preview of each team heading into the Canada Cup along with an interview with the Lead of each team who will summarize their team’s season so far, introduce our audience to their three teammates and share what it would mean for them to represent Canada at the 2018 Olympics.
The women’s preview can be found here: Read more
From The Hack recently spoke with TSN curling analyst and Olympic gold medalist Russ Howard who provided some thoughts on the current curling season and also provided some thoughts on each of the men’s teams that will be competing in Brandon. His interview is followed by an overview of each team along with an interview we did with the Lead from each team.
- Winners of the season-ending 2016 Champions Cup.
- Team Carruthers finished 2-5 at the 2015 Canada Cup.
- Skip Reid Carruthers won the 2012 Canada Cup while playing 2nd for Jeff Stoughton.
- Currently ranked #4 in the world rankings.
Team Carruthers started slowly this season but have played better of late which will no doubt provide some added confidence as will playing in front of a supportive Manitoba crowd.
From The Hack interview with lead Colin Hodgson:
- Won the 2016 Canadian Open Grand Slam.
- Team Epping finished 4-3 at the 2015 Canada Cup and lost in the semi-final.
- Currently ranked #5 in the world rankings.
Team Epping is always a threat in major events if John Epping has his “A+ game”. This is a team that is especially dangerous when they get off to a strong start in an event such as the Canada Cup.
From The Hack interview with lead Tim March:
- Finalists at the 2016 Brier and winners of three Grand Slams during 2015-16 season.
- Team Gushue finished 3-4 at the 2015 Canada Cup.
- Mark Nichols will skip in the Canada Cup and Charley Thomas will join the team and play 3rd.
- Currently ranked #1 in the world rankings.
This team has played the whole season without their skip and leader, Brad Gushue, who is expected back in early 2017. Despite Gushue’s absence, the team has maintained a high level of play, has held on to the #1 ranking in the world and is one of the favourites heading into the Canada Cup.
From The Hack interview with lead Geoff Walker:
- 2014 Olympic gold medalists.
- Team Jacobs finished 3-4 at the 2015 Canada Cup.
- Team Jacobs has gone a combined 21-1 in round-robin play at the last two Briers.
- Currently ranked #7 in the world rankings.
When Team Jacobs have their “A game” they are very difficult to beat but they have often been inconsistent over the last year and a half. If Team Jacobs starts strong at the Canada Cup, expect them to challenge for the title.
From The Hack interview with lead Ryan Harnden:
- 2016 Canadian and World Champions
- Team Koe won the 2015 Canada Cup.
- A victory would make Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert the first four-time winners of the Canada Cup.
- Currently ranked #2 in the world rankings.
Team Koe has taken a more relaxed approach to the 2016-17 season with their trip to the 2017 Brier and the Olympic Trials already secured. Although they have failed to qualify for the playoffs in the two Grand Slams played so far season, Team Koe always seem to play their best when the lights are shining brightest. Expect the 2015 champions to be in the playoff picture at the end of the week.
The From the Hack interview with lead Ben Hebert was originally posted Week 7 of this season:
- Have represented Saskatchewan in three consecutive Briers.
- Team Laycock finished 2-5 at the 2015 Canada Cup.
- Currently ranked #8 in the world rankings.
Team Laycock started slowly this season but have been playing better of late. A typically consistent team that has yet to win that one big event that might take them to the next level. They must avoid a slow start against such a strong field.
From The Hack interview with lead Dallan Muyres:
- 2014 Canada Cup champions and six-time Grand Slam winners.
- Team McEwen finished 5-2 and lost in the final at the 2015 Canada Cup.
- Team McEwen qualified for their 1st Brier last season and made the playoffs.
- Currently ranked #6 in the world rankings.
Team McEwen have had an uncharacteristic slow start to their season but enter the Canada Cup after winning their first event of the season at the DEKALB Superspiel. Team McEwen has played well in previous Canada Cups and will be one of the crowd favourites in Brandon. Look for them to be among the teams fighting for a playoff spot deep into the week.
From The Hack interview with lead Denni Neufeld:
The Home Hardware Canada Cup will be broadcast on TSN starting on Wednesday morning. The women’s final will be on Sunday, December the 4th at 2:30 p.m. and the men’s final will be later that day at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
(Photos courtesy of Curling Canada)