A lot on the line for curlers

Katie Brickman
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The Jennifer Jones rink of alternate skip Kirsten Wal, Sawn Askin, Katilyn Lawes, Jill Officer (L-R) take some direction from coach Janet Arnott during their practice session on Tuesday afternoon at Mosaic Place prior to the Capital One Curling Cup of Canada. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

This won’t be just another curling event. A lot is on the line for the top seven men’s and seven women’s teams — a berth into the 2013 Roar of the Rings Olympic Time Trials in Winnipeg.

“It gets you an Olympic trail berth and that means a lot. We are looking forward to playing in the event,” said Saskatchewan’s Stefanie Lawton. “We just love curling, so we are happy to be playing against the best in Canada.”

The Capital One Curling Cup of Canada will get underway on Wednesday at 9 a.m. with four games. The Canadian Team Ranking System ranks teams, which is determined through points earned in various curling events held worldwide throughout the season.

“An event like the Canada Cup is always really exciting to be playing in. It is an arena setting with all the fans there…it just really makes it a bigger event and we love to play in these events,” said Jill Officer, second on the Jennifer Jones rink. “We are going to go out and play our best and see what happens.”

The top men’s teams were determined through defending champion (Kevin Martin), the Brier champion (Glenn Howard) and the 2011-12 standings (Mike McEwen, Kevin Koe, John Epping, Jeff Stoughton and Brad Gushue). The women’s teams were based on the defending champion (Jones), Tournament of Hearts champion (Heather Nedohin) and the 2011-12 standings (Sherry Middaugh, Cathy Overton-Clapham, Stefanie Lawton, Chelsea Carey and Crystal Webster).

Martin, Howard, Jones and Nedohin have already qualified for the Olympic berth because of their previous wins, but there will be four other spots open and the winner of the this event is one of those spots.

“I think it is nice that we have the spot, but we certainly don’t take anything for granted,” stated Officer. “We still like to go out and play as best we can and see what we can learn and take from this experience.”

Despite the fact that all these teams have faced each other multiple times throughout the seasons, the competition will be at another level as teams try to punch their ticket to the Roar of the Rings.

“I think it will be a bit more intense than it has been throughout the year, but we are looking forward to it. We like playing some great shots and some curling. The fans are going to be excited,” stated Lawton.

Organizations: Rings Olympic Time Trials, Capital One, Canadian Team Ranking System

Geographic location: Canada, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan

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