Wayne Middaugh caps off competitive curling career with enjoyable weekend in PEI (Midland Mirror)

MIDLAND – With world championships in 1993, 1998 and 2012, plus three Brier titles and countless Grand Slam wins on his curling resumé, Victoria Harbour resident Wayne Middaugh has decided it’s time to focus more on family life.

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Mirror file photo

 

Wayne Middaugh announced he is stepping away from the elite curling scene to focus more on family life. He won’t be putting away the broom for good, however, as he still intends to play charity events and in the Major Curling League in Penetanguishene.

Last weekend in Prince Edward Island, the 46-year-old Brampton native capped off his career, competing in the season-ending Players’ Championship with his Penetanguishene Curling Club team of Glenn Howard, Brent Laing and Craig Savill.

It wasn’t the ending the team would have liked, as they compiled a 1-4 record and missed the playoffs.

“It was a great feeling in P.E.I. to play there, and the response was great from not only the spectators, but the competitors, as well,” said Middaugh. “They gave our team a great ovation, and it’s great to know they appreciate how much we put into the game and how our competitors respect us as players.”

Having decided he would be leaving the team some time ago, Middaugh said he wanted to keep things fun and enjoyable in P.E.I.

“I was going out and trying to enjoy everything the Players’ Championship has to offer. We were spoiled the whole time there, including a big lobster dinner,” he said.

Click for full story

 

Souris native new ice tech at Ottawa Curling Club

The Ottawa Curling Club has just announced that, after considering 11 candidates, seasoned veteran Ian MacAulay has been selected as the new ice technician of the OCC. MacAulay, a native of Souris PEI, has been making ice in the National Capital Region for many years, and, back in 2010, assisted in getting the sport of curling back into the Town of Souris, on arena ice at the Eastern Kings Sportsplex.

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MacAulay at the Eastern Kings Sportsplex (Photo from Ottawa Curling Club website)

 

 

Team Canada men name John Morris skip for 2014-15 season (CCA)

(by Al Cameron) A familiar face will take the reigns of the reigning Canadian men’s curling champions, it was announced today.

 

John Morris will be the skip of Team Canada at the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by SecurTek, the 2014 Canada Cup of Curling and the 2015 WFG Continental Cup. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)John Morris will be the skip of Team Canada at the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by SecurTek, the 2014 Canada Cup of Curling and the 2015 WFG Continental Cup. (Photo, CCA/Michael Burns)

Former Olympic gold-medallist, world men’s champion and two-time world junior men’s champion John Morris will replace Kevin Koe at skip, calling the shots for the remainder of the team that won the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by SecurTek, in March in Kamloops, B.C.Morris will join forces with third Pat Simmons, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen as Team Canada makes its debut at the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier, presented by SecurTek, Feb. 28-March 8 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. Morris was skipping the B.C. team (third Jim Cotter, second Tyrel Griffith, lead Rick Sawatsky) that Koe’s Alberta team defeated in the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier final.The team will also compete at the 2014 Canada Cup of Curling, Dec. 3-7 in Camrose, Alta., and the 2015 World Financial Group Continental Cup, presented by SecurTek, in Calgary — which, with the 2015 Tim Hortons Brier, comprise the Alberta Triple Crown.Koe left the team earlier this month to form a new team with third Marc Kennedy, second Brent Laing and lead Ben Hebert.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring aboard a player of John’s calibre,” said Simmons. “Of course, we’ve always had a great deal of respect for John as a player and a rival, and we’re excited about what we can do together on the ice next season.”

Morris said he will play a limited schedule during the 2014-15 season due to work commitments, with only a few World Curling Tour bonspiels planned outside of the Alberta Triple Crown events.

“My plan was to take the 2014-15 season off as I move ahead in my career as a firefighter,” said Morris, a resident of Chestermere, Alta., just outside of Calgary. “But to be able to play for Team Canada, and considering the Alberta events are so close to home, it was hard to pass up on this offer. I talked it over with Jim, Tyrel and Rick and they were very understanding. I can’t thank them enough for the season we had, and I wish them nothing but the very best going forward.”

Rycroft will only be playing in the Alberta Triple Crown events, so the team also announced today that former world champion Scott Bailey will take his place at second for World Curling Tour events.

Tickets for the 2014-15 Alberta Triple Crown are available at www.curling.ca/tickets/

Adam Casey “a little bit in shock” to not be returning to the Gushue rink (Journal)

(by Jason Simmonds)

SUMMERSIDE – Adam Casey will not be returning to the Brad Gushue rink for the 2014-15 curling season.

© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

Adam Casey in action during the 2014 Players’ Championship at Eastlink Arena in Summerside.

Gushue announced on Monday that his former longtime teammate, Mark Nichols, is returning to his rink and will play third stone. Brett Gallant of Charlottetown will move from third stone to second stone, and Geoff Walker remains at lead.

“We clearly had no indication going into the week (in Summerside) and kind of thought of it as a tryout week. . . Then (Gushue) he told me yesterday (Sunday) morning. I was a little bit in shock.”

The 24-year-old Casey, who grew up in Seven Mile Bay and came through the junior program at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club in Summerside, said he is motivated to continue curling at the highest possible level.

Click for full story in the Journal Pioneer

PEI Canada Games Training Teams take part in Junior Grand Slam of Curling (photo gallery)

The four PEI Canada Games Training Teams, skipped by Lauren Moerike, Kaleigh MacKay, Tyler Smith, and Alex MacFadyen, had the opportunity to play against each other, with help from some of the Players’ Championship participants, on Sunday afternoon on the world-class ice at the Eastlink Arena of Credit Union Place in Summerside, in the Junior Grand Slam of Curling event. The four Grand Slam curlers, John Epping, Laura Crocker, Viktor Kjäll, and Pat Janssen, were each assigned a Training Team, and were out on the ice with them, coaching and helping out in every way, except actually throwing the rocks. Following the curling, the  teams were presented with autographed Grand Slam of Curling jackets, and received complimentary tickets to the Players’ Championship Men’s final. The Training Teams will be playing off again in best-of-three series in November, with the winning men’s and women’s rinks advancing to the 2015 Canada Games in Prince George BC.

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Photo: John Epping, in orange and black, and Laura Crocker, in blue and black, helping out the Moerike and MacKay rinks

 Here is our photo gallery from the Junior Grand Slam. Click a thumbnail to enlarge the image, and use arrows to go ahead and back.

Photo Gallery-Future Rockstars take to the ice Sunday at the Players’ Ch’ship

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Over 60 young and Special Olympics curlers took to the world-class ice of the Eastlink Arena at Credit Union Place in Summerside on Sunday morning for the Future Rockstars event, held in conjunction with the Players’ Championship. The morning featured a visit by the Grand Slam of Curling mascot, Slammer. There were also snacks for the curlers, along with a free T-Shirt and a ticket to the Players’ Championship Women’s Final, later that morning.

Here’s our photo gallery from the event. Click on a thumbnail to enlarge image, and use arrows to go ahead/back.

Team Gushue announces that Mark Nichols will return to the team, replacing PEI native Adam Casey

teamgushuecurling

Team Gushue announced today that Mark Nichols has now joined the team.

“I am very pleased to announce the return of Mark Nichols to our team. It will be great to be teammates once again, as Mark brings experience and talent that will certainly benefit our team as a whole.” said Brad Gushue. “Really looking forward to having a world class player like Mark join our team next season,” added Geoff Walker.

Mark Nichols, originally from Labrador City, played with Brad Gushue from 1998 to 2011. Having achieved a number of successes including winning a Canadian and World Junior Championship in 2001, and most notably winning the Gold Medal for Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.

“I am looking forward to joining Team Gushue,” said Mark Nichols. “I’m excited to be returning home, and excited to help the guys achieve our goal of winning a Brier and return to the Olympics. They have shown they are a world class team and I hope to build on the success they have had over the last three years.”

Mark Nichols played the 2013-2014 season with Team Jeff Stoughton based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Team Gushue will be Brad Gushue as Skip, Geoff Walker as Lead, Brett Gallant as second, and Mark Nichols joining at third.

The addition of Mark Nichols will mean that Adam Casey will no longer be with the team. “We want to thank Adam for his hard work and dedication to the team over the past three years,” said Brad Gushue. “Adam was not only a good teammate, but also a good friend and we wish him nothing but the best in the future,” said Geoff Walker.

Maritime teams competing in World Seniors, starting Thurs. in Scotland (CCA)

Canadian teams set for World Mixed Doubles, Seniors in Scotland

Three more medal opportunities will be on the line when Canadian teams open play on Thursday at the 2014 World Senior Men’s, Senior Women’s and Mixed Doubles Championships at the Dumfries Ice Bowl in Dumfries, Scotland.The Canadian entries will be looking to defend the gold medals our country won at the 2013 World Senior Men’s and Women’s Championships in Fredericton, N.B., while our mixed doubles entry will be looking for just our second medal in the seven-year history of the event.

Colleen Pinkney's team from Truro, N.S. ((third Wendy Currie, second Shelley MacNutt, lead Susan Creelman) will be looking for Canada's 10th world senior women's curling championship. (Photo, Canadian Curling Association)Colleen Pinkney’s team from Truro, N.S. (third Wendy Currie, second Shelley MacNutt, lead Susan Creelman) will be looking for Canada’s 10th World Senior Women’s Curling Championship. (Photo, Canadian Curling Association)

In senior women’s play, Colleen Pinkney’s team from Truro, N.S., (third Wendy Currie, second Shelley MacNutt, lead Susan Creelman, alternate Judy Burgess, coach Bill Tschirhart) will be pursuing Canada’s seventh consecutive gold medal, and her second — Pinkney, Currie and Creelman (Karen Hennigar played second) went unbeaten to win gold in 2010 at Chelyabinsk, Russia. Canada has won nine times since the World Seniors were introduced in 2002.

Wayne Tallon's Fredericton, N.B., team (third Mike Kennedy, second Mike Flannery, lead Wade Blanchard) is looking to keep aliove Canada's perfect record of reaching the gold-medal game at the World Senior Men's Championship. (Photo, CCA)

 

Wayne Tallon’s Fredericton, N.B., team (third Mike Kennedy, second Mike Flannery, lead Wade Blanchard) is looking to keep aliove Canada’s perfect record of reaching the gold-medal game at the World Senior Men’s Championship. (Photo, Canadian Curling Association)

On the men’s side, the Wayne Tallon team from Fredericton (third Mike Kennedy, second Mike Flannery, lead Wade Blanchard, alternate Charles Kingston, coach Bill Tschirhart) will be looking to make it back-to-back gold for Canada, as well as claim Canada’s ninth world senior men’s title.

At the 2013 event in Fredericton (which was chaired by Tallon), Rob Armitage of Red Deer, Alta., won the men’s gold medal while Cathy King of Edmonton captured the women’s gold. Both of the Canadian teams at the 2014 World Seniors qualified for the trip to Scotland by winning their respective titles at the 2013 Canadian Senior Men’s and Curling Championships in Summerside, P.E.I.

Meanwhile, the husband and wife pairing of Wayne Tuck and Cindy Tuck of Ilderton, Ont., will wear Canadian colours in the World Mixed Doubles Championship. The Tucks, who will have Jim Waite with them as team coach, prevailed at the 2014 Canadian Mixed Doubles Trials last month in Ottawa, and will be looking for Canada’s first gold medal at the event, which started in 2008. Only one Canadian team —  Sean Grassie and Allison Nimik — has reached the podium at the World Mixed Doubles as they won bronze in 2009 at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Selected games from the World Mixed Doubles Championship will be streamed live online, including Canada’s opening game against Sweden’s Camilla Johansson and Per Noreen, Thursday at 8 a.m. Atlantic. Go to the event website, wmdcc2014.curlingevents.com/, to see the games and broadcast schedule.

The round-robin draws for the World Seniors and Mixed Doubles will run through to April 29 before the playoffs get underway. There are 25 senior men’s teams, split into three pools (one nine-team pool, two eight-team pools); 15 senior women’s teams, split into two pools (one eight-team pool, one seven-team pool); and 34 mixed doubles teams split into four pools (two nine-team pools, two eight-team pools).

On April 30, the senior men’s and women’s gold-medal and bronze-medal games are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Atlantic, with the mixed doubles gold-medal and bronze-medal games at 11:30 a.m. Atlantic.

Since the World Mixed Doubles Championship made its debut in 2008 in Vierumäki, Finland, Swiss teams have won four of the six gold medals. Last year in Fredericton, though, Hungary made history with its first international curling victory when the duo of Zsolt Kiss and Dorottya Palancsa beat Sweden in the final. Kiss and Palancsa are back to defend their title in Dumfries. The Canadian entry of Robert Desjardins and Isabelle Néron finished 10th with a 4-4 record.

At the World Seniors, Canadian teams have enjoyed great success since the first edition in 2002 at Bismarck, N.D.

On the men’s side, Canadian teams have been in all 12 gold-medal games, winning eight of them: Tom Reed in 2003 at Winnipeg; Bas Buckle in 2004 at Gävle, Sweden, and again a year later at Howwood; Les Rogers in 2006 at Copenhagen, Denmark; Pat Ryan in 2008 at Vierumäki; Eugene Hritzuk in 2009 at Dunedin, New Zealand; Mark Johnson in 2011 at St. Paul, Minn.; and Armitage last year.

Canadian senior women’s teams have collected nine gold medals — Anne Dunn in 2002 at Bismarck and 2004 at Gävle; Nancy Kerr in 2003 at Winnipeg; Diane Foster in 2008 at Vierumäki; Pat Sanders in 2009 at Dunedin; Pinkney in  2010 at Chelyabinsk, Russia; Christine Jurgenson in 2011 at St. Paul; Heidi Hanlon in 2012 at Tårnby, Denmark; and King last year.

For live scores and standings from the World Mixed Doubles Championship, go to: www.wmdcc2014.curlingevents.com/.

For live scores and standings from the World Seniors Championship, go to: wscc2014.curlingevents.com/.

Team Jacobs sticking together; pumped for next season (Grand Slam)

(by Jonathan Brazeau)

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — The season was barely 10 minutes over and Brad Jacobs was already making big plans for the fall.

Jacobs fell 4-3 to Kevin Martin in the Grand Slam of Curling Players’ Championship final on Sunday, concluding a year that saw his team reach the peak of the sporting world by capturing gold at the Sochi Olympics.

The 28-year-old Jacobs missed out on capping his dream year by claiming his first Grand Slam title but he’s now looking forward to winning one in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., which hosts the National in November.

“Any time you get a chance to play in front of your hometown, it’s amazing,” Jacobs said. “We played in the Soo a couple of years ago and it was a lot of fun but now it’s going to be even more fun being Brier and Olympic champions. I’m sure the support for that Slam is going to be unbelievable and it’s going to be the highlight of our year.

“We intend on playing in all of the Slams next season … and to have it in our hometown is very special.”

It was a year ago, at the Players’ Championship no less, that set the wheels in motion for Jacobs’s journey. Even though the team won the Brier in 2013 and earned silver at the world championships, his team needed to reach the Players’ finals to guarantee a spot in the Canadian Olympic Trials based on ranking points over the past two years.

Jacobs lost to Glenn Howard in the semis but he still had one more shot to qualify through the pre-trial tournament featuring a challenging field that included defending Olympic champion John Morris (the former Team Martin third who was skipping a new team) and 2006 Turin gold medallist Brad Gushue.

Team Jacobs missed the first two Grand Slam events of the season to focus on their Olympic bid and it paid off. They grabbed one of the two spots up for grabs in the pre-trials and then went on a tear at the Roar of the Rings, winning all seven round-robin games and defeating Morris’s team 7-5 in the final to punch their tickets to Sochi.

They didn’t get off to a hot start in Sochi with a 1-2 record but Team Jacobs found their mark and won eight games in a row to take that giant leap together onto the top of the podium.

“It was a dream come true this last season,” Jacobs said.

While other skips like Howard, Kevin Koe and Jeff Stoughton retool their lineups, Jacobs confirmed his team — consisting of third Ryan Fry, second E.J. Harnden, lead Ryan Harnden and himself — will stick together for another four years as they plan for the next Olympic quadrennial cycle and attempt to defend their gold medal at the 2018 Games in South Korea.

“Obviously (winning gold) is something we’ll always remember and at the same time our team is really looking forward to the next four years that we’re going to play together,” Jacobs said. “That’s our plan.”

Although Jacobs has his eyes set on next season — and the next four years — he said he now intends on taking a break as the team has been on a whirlwind nation-wide tour since winning the gold.

“We’ve been extremely busy, we’ve had a lot of success,” Jacobs said. “I would have liked to have got this last one (at the Players’) but it wasn’t meant to be so I’m really just looking forward to relaxing this summer, doing a lot of training off the ice and getting back at it next year.”

Click to read at Grand Slam site

Curling’s Grand Slam wraps up in Summerside. Potential for long term relationship with the Grand Slam (Journal)

SUMMERSIDE – The overall impact of the Players’ Championship of the Grand Slam of Curling will have to wait for final assessment, but the outlook is promising.

© Journal Pioneer photo

The Grand Slam of Curling event in Summerside received a positive assessment from all aspects of organization and play, highlighted with Kevin Martin capping his competitive career with the men’s championship.

J.P. Desrosiers, director of communications with the City of Summerside, deemed it a great event for the community.

“From logistics, to crowds, to ice quality and national coverage: it’s been a fantastic week. It’s been a year and a half of planning for our host committee, so it’s nice to see it all come together,” he said.

The experience gained the last time the Grand Slam was held here, two years ago, paid dividends this year. Everything was covered, according to Desrosiers, thanks to the 185 volunteers and 12 principal organizers as well as the strong curling community that supported it.

“We’re looking at potentially forming a long-term relationship with the Grand Slam. This is a fantastic event for the city; we can obviously do it having done it twice already now. Our crowds are up this time over last, so hopefully it’s an indication of where they’ll go the next time. We’ll go from there.”

Click for full story in the Journal Pioneer

 

Martin caps career winning Players’ Championship (GSOC)

(by Jonathan Brazeau)

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — Curling legend Kevin Martin finished his career on a high note Sunday, defeating Brad Jacobs 4-3 in the Players’ Championship men’s final to capture one final Grand Slam of Curling title.

Martin led 4-1 after four ends thanks to a pair of deuces and Jacobs struggled to find the equalizer. He blanked two ends before settling for a single in the seventh but gave up the hammer to Martin coming home.

The 47-year-old Edmonton native announced his retirement Friday night on Sportsnet and will now join the Grand Slam of Curling as a broadcast analyst and official spokesperson.

Martin is a four-time Brier champion and earned the world title in 2008. He retires as the all-time Grand Slam wins leader with 18 titles, including a record eight Players’ championships. He represented Canada twice at the Olympics winning gold in the 2010 Vancouver Games and silver in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

Click to read at the Grand Slam website

Kevin Martin goes out a champion (Journal)-updated

(by Jason Simmonds)

Final game of Players’ Championship comes down to final shot by veteran skip

SUMMERSIDE – It was a storybook ending to a distinguished career!

 

© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

The Kevin Martin rink poses with the championship trophy for the 2014 Players’ Championship at Eastlink Arena in Summerside on Sunday evening. From left: Ben Hebert, lead; Dave Nedohin, second stone; Jules Owchar, coach; Marc Kennedy, third stone, and Martin.

Kevin Martin, who announced on Friday night that he is retiring from curling and will join Rogers Sportsnet as an analyst next season, won the season-ending Players’ Championship at Eastlink Arena on Sunday evening. Martin pulled out an exciting 4-3 victory over 2014 Olympic gold-medallist Brad Jacobs.

“There were a couple of big things (that played a big role in the final),” explained Martin, 47. “Before the game even started in the draw to the button, Brad hit the button, I hit the button, both thirds hit the button and Dave (Nedohin) ended up outdrawing E.J. (Harnden in a battle of second stones), so we had hammer and then got the first deuce (in the second end).

“Those were the two big things – winning the hammer and gaining the first deuce, and we carried it from there.”

But the last chapter was not written until Martin’s final hammer shot of the game in the eighth end.

 

Click for full story and video interview with Kevin Martin in the Journal Pioneer

Jones ends ‘dream season’ winning Players’ Championship (GSOC)

(by Jonathan Brazeau)

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones finished a “dream season” by winning her fifth career Players’ Championship title on Sunday.

Jones stole a single in the final end to seal a 5-2 victory over Ottawa’s Rachel Homan during the Grand Slam of Curling women’s final at Credit Union Place.

It was a battle between two rinks that represented Canada on the world stage this year. Jones captured the gold medal at the Sochi Olympics in February while Homan’s team successfully defended their Scotties title and earned silver at the world championships.

“We’ve had just a dream season,” Jones said. “To end it by winning our favourite event on tour, it’s just unbelievable.”

Jones broke a 1-1 tie scoring a deuce in the third to take a two-point lead. Homan blanked the fourth and the two rinks exchanged singles in the fifth and sixth ends. Homan blanked again in the seventh to hold the hammer coming home but missed on her final shot in the eighth.

Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen entered the tournament riding the momentum from Sochi where they became the first women’s curling team to post an undefeated record en route to winning the gold.

The past couple months have just been a whirlwind for Jones.

“It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet for sure,” Jones said. “We’ve been so busy since the Olympics, we’re looking forward to the summer to really sit back and soak up what we’ve achieved this season.”

It was also an emotional game for Team Homan as second Alison Kreviazuk played her final match with the rink as she plans to move to Sweden.

“We gave it our all and unfortunately it just came up a bit short,” Kreviazuk said. “But I couldn’t be happier to share it with those girls.”

Third Emma Miskew added, “It’s sad but we’re happy for her that she’s made a choice and it worked out for the best.”

Homan now adds Joanne Courtney (from Valerie Sweeting’s Edmonton rink) to her roster and Miskew said the team is excited for the future.

“It’ll be different for sure,” Miskew said. “We’ll definitely miss Alison but we are looking forward to continuing on next year.”

As Masters champions, Homan’s Ottawa rink fell short of claiming the $100,000 bonus for sweeping both women’s Grand Slam events.

Click to read at Grand Slam website

Jennifer Jones rink caps off memorable year with Players’ Championship (Journal)

(by Jason Simmonds)

SUMMERSIDE – The Jennifer Jones rink from Winnipeg capped off a memorable year in style early Sunday afternoon.

Jones, third stone Kaitlyn Lawes, second stone Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen defeated Canadian women’s champion Rachel Homan 5-2 in the championship game of the 2014 Players’ Championship at Eastlink Arena.

“It’s been amazing,” said Jones in reflecting on her rink’s 2013-14 season. “We’ve won two other Grand Slams on tour, which was unbelievable; then heading into the (Olympic) trials won the trials; won the Olympic gold medal, which was a dream come true, and to cap it off with a Players’ Championship, which is our favourite event on tour, is unbelievable.

“We couldn’t have asked for anything more, and it far exceeded our expectations.”

 

From left, skip Jennifer Jones, third stone Kaitlyn Lawes, second stone Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen posed with the championship trophy for the Players’ Championship.

© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

Click for more in the Journal Pioneer.

 

Finals set at Players’ Ch’ship- Jones vs. Homan; Martin vs. Jacobs (Journal)

(by Jason Simmonds)

SUMMERSIDE – The finals at the 2014 Players’ Championship are now set after three of the four semifinals required extra ends on Saturday night.

Kevin Martin put himself in position for a storybook ending to his distinguished career by calmly making a perfect draw through a port to get a piece of the button and four-foot to edge Mike McEwen 6-5 in one of four semifinals played at Eastlink Arena on Saturday night.

The 47-year-old Martin, who announced on Friday night that he is retiring after the Players’ Championship, set up a championship game against Brad Jacobs, who eliminated the Brad Gushue rink 6-4. Third stone Brett Gallant of Charlottetown and second stone Adam Casey are Gushue’s teammates.

On the other side of the ice, there was no lack of excitement as both women’s semifinals required an extra end.

Canadian champion Rachel Homan and Olympic gold-medallist Jennifer Jones will meet in a much-anticipated matchup to decide a winner on Sunday at 11 a.m.

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Rachel Homan prepares for a shot during the semifinals of the 2014 Players’ Championship at Eastlink Arena on Saturday night. Homan edged Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland 4-3 in an extra end to advance to Sunday’s final against Jennifer Jones.

Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

Homan has an opportunity to win a $100,000 bonus if she wins because it will give her a sweep of this season’s two women’s events on the Grand Slam of Curling. Homan won the Masters in November.

Click for full story in the Journal Pioneer

Free admission to watch Future Rockstars and Junior Grand Slam events today at Players’ Ch’ship

futurerockstars

Besides the women’s and men’s finals today at 11 am and 5 pm respectively, a number of younger curlers who may someday go on to participate in the Players’ Championship will also be taking to the world-class curling ice at Eastlink Arena, in the Future Rockstars and Junior Grand Slam events.

Future Rockstars

On Sunday morning from 9-10, around 60 young curlers, including Special Olympics athletes, assisted by the two girls’ PEI Training  Teams for the 2015 Canada Games, will get a chance to throw rocks on the Players’ Championship ice surface. The participants will also receive a T-shirt and a ticket to the women’s final at 11.

Admission is free to watch the Future Rockstars., but spectators will require a ticket in order to stay for the women’s final.

Junior Grand Slam

Meanwhile, the two male and two female PEI Training Teams for the 2015 Canada Games will take to the ice from 2-4 pm. Each team will have a celebrity coach/mentor, with the two girls and two boys teams squaring off in three-end games.  Each participant will receive a Junior Grand Slam of Curling shirt and a pass to the men’s final.

The Junior Grand Slam event will be open to spectators, free of charge.  A ticket is required if they plan to stay for the men’s final.

Martin to cap career in Players’ Championship final, $100,000 bonus on the line for Homan (GSOC)

(by Jonathan Brazeau)

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — Kevin Martin will finish his career with a chance to win the Players’ Championship after defeating Mike McEwen 6-5 in the extra end of their semifinal match on Saturday.

Martin held the hammer in the extra and had to squeeze his final shot into the house and on the button.

The Edmonton skip announced on Friday night he will retire following the season-ending Grand Slam of Curling event.

It will be a battle between the past two Olympic gold medallists as Martin will face Brad Jacobs, who defeated Brad Gushue 6-4 in the other semifinal match. Jacobs scored the game-winning triple in the sixth end as Gushue blanked the seventh to retain the hammer but ran out of rocks in the eighth.

In the women’s division, Rachel Homan and Jennifer Jones punched their tickets to the final with extra end victories.

Homan beat Silvana Tirinzoni 4-3 while Jones edged Margaretha Sigfridsson 8-7 in a rematch of the Sochi Olympics gold-medal game.

As Masters champions, Homan’s rink has a chance to earn a $100,000 bonus if they also capture the Players’ title.

Click to read at Grand Slam of Curling Site

Kevin Martin, Brad Jacobs still alive at Players’ Championship (Journal)

(by Jason Simmonds)

Martin pulled out a 6-4 win over John Epping in one of two quarter-final games in Saturday’s 5 p.m. draw, and Jacobs made a clutch shot with the game’s final rock to get by Kevin Koe 7-6 in the other.

In the semifinals on Saturday at 8:30 p.m., Martin will take on Mike McEwen and Jacobs will face the Brad Gushue rink, which includes third stone Brett Gallant of Charlottetown and Adam Casey of Seven Mile Bay.

Brad Jacobs

Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

Also on the ice during Saturday night’s draw will be the two women’s semifinals of the season’s final event of the Grand Slam of Curling. Olympic gold-medallist Jennifer Jones will take on Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson in a rematch of the gold-medal game at the 2014 Sochi Games, and Canadian women’s champion Rachel Homan meets Silvana Tirinzoni, who is the leading money winner on the World Curling Tour this season.

Click for full story in the Journal Pioneer

Martin edges Epping, Jacobs gets by Koe to reach Players’ Championship semis (GSOC)

(by Jonathan Brazeau)

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — Hold off on that retirement, Kevin Martin.

The Edmonton skip, who announced he will retire after the Players’ Championship, defeated Toronto’s John Epping 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the season-ending Grand Slam of Curling event.

Martin trailed 4-3 and rallied to score a double in the seventh and sealed the win with a steal of one in final end when Epping couldn’t grab shot rock with his final stone.

Team Martin will take on Winnipeg’s Mike McEwen in the semifinals.

Meanwhile, Kevin Koe’s team said its final farewell after they were eliminated following a 7-6 loss to Olympic champion Brad Jacobs in the other quarterfinal matchup.

Koe will skip a new team in the fall featuring Brent Laing, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert. Nolan Thiessen, Carter Rycroft and Pat Simmons will stick together and search for a new skip.

Click to read at Grand Slam website

Homan, Jones advance to women’s semifinals (Journal)

(by Jason Simmonds)

SUMMERSIDE – Canadian women’s champion Rachel Homan and Olympic gold-medallist Jennifer Jones advanced to the women’s semifinals of the 2014 Players’ Championship.

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The Jennifer Jones rink chats during a television timeout during Saturday afternoon’s quarter-final game against Eve Muirhead in the 2014 Players’ Championship at Eastlink Arena in Summerside. From left are second stone Jill Officer, Jones, third stone Kaitlyn Lawes and lead Dawn McEwen.

Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer

Homan scored a deuce in the final end to defeat Stefanie Lawton 7-5 while Jones, who never led against Eve Muirhead, stole two points in an extra end to also win 7-5. The two quarter-final games were played at Eastlink Arena on Saturday afternoon.

In the semifinals on Saturday at 8:30 p.m., Jones will face Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson in a rematch of the gold-medal game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and Homan will take on Silvana Tirinzoni of Switzerland.

Click for full story in the Journal Pioneer