Tuesday, Nov 22, 2016 


Curlers Heat Up the Ice

2016 Travelers Championship begins Nov 25 Monday in Kelowna

Robyn Mattie


he eighth renewal of the Travelers Curling Club Championship will feature 28 teams from across Canada chasing an elusive national title, beginning Monday at the Kelowna Curling Club.

The week-long competition offers an elite national championship experience to Canadaís best club curling teams. All 14 of Curling Canadaís Member Associations (10 provinces, three territories and Northern Ontario) are represented in both genders. The teams will play a round-robin draw leading to the playoffs Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25 and 26.

Each team is allowed only one player who has played in a provincial/territorial Juniorsí, Menís (Brier), Womenís (Scotties) or Seniorsí championship in the current or previous four curling seasons, or participated in a full-field Grand Slam event in the current or previous four curling seasons.

As well, no player on the teams can have played in a Canadian Juniors, Menís, Womenís or Seniors national championship in the current or previous four seasons.

There are some past participants in the Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts competing in Kelowna, but many players will be savouring the thrill of representing their provinces or territories for the first time at a national event.

That wonít be the case for the Saskatchewan menís team from Saskatoon; three-quarters of this team ó skip Kory Kohuch, second Wes Lang and lead David Schmirler (third cousin to Sandra Schmirler) ó won gold at the 2014 Travelers Curling Club Championship in Halifax. Vice-skip David Kraichy rounds out the 2016 edition of the team.

Other players, meanwhile, are better known for their pursuits away from curling. Prince Edward Island lead Doug MacGregor is an accomplished standardbred horse trainer and driver, having surpassed the $400,000 mark in career earnings.

Another unique aspect of the Travelers Curling Club Championship is that the teams competing in Kelowna also are participating in a fundraising challenge to benefit youth curling across Canada through the Curling Canada Foundation.

The team that raises the most money will earn a cash grant of $6,000 for improvements to its home club; additionally, there will be draws for $1,000 prizes for club improvements. You can find more information by CLICKING HERE.

At the 2015 Travelers Curling Club Championship in Ottawa, it was an Atlantic Canada sweep. Newfoundland/Labradorís Andrew Symonds claimed gold in the menís competition, while Lisa Jackson skipped Prince Edward Island to victory in the womenís gold-medal game. 

Since the first Travelers Curling Club Championship in 2009 in Toronto, Alberta has won the menís title three times, while Saskatchewan has claimed two titles and Ontario and Newfoundland/Labrador have one apiece.

On the womenís side, Ontario has won three times, followed by Manitoba with two and Alberta and Prince Edward Island with single victories.

Media in the Kelowna area are welcome to attend practice team practice sessions Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. Go to www.curling.ca/2016travelers/draw-schedule for the complete schedule of practices and games.

The 14 menís and 14 womenís teams will be split into two seven-team round-robin pools. After a single round-robin, the top three teams in each pool will make the playoffs. The first-place teams will be seeded directly into the semifinals, Friday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. (all times Pacific). The second- and third-place teams will meet in crossover quarter-finals Friday at 2 p.m., with the winners moving into the semis.

The semifinal winners will play for gold, and the losers will play for bronze, Saturday, Nov. 26, at 10 a.m. 

Selected games from the 2016 Travelers Curling Club Championships will be live-streamed at www.curling.ca/2016travelers

Scores and standings from the event will be available at www.curling.ca/scoreboard

For draw times, team lineups and other event info, go to: www.curling.ca/2016travelers


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